In 1949, Mental Health America started the tradition of celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month in May to raise awareness of mental health conditions. Although these conditions are often associated with a negative stigma, mental wellness is just as important as good physical health. To help raise public awareness of these diagnoses, we found the top five most researched conditions on Questia and made books and articles on them free for an entire month. Enjoy!
- Depression: The best-known and most researched depressive disorders are Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), commonly referred to as clinical depression or major depression, and Bipolar Disorder (BD), formerly known as manic depression. In addition to these forms, there are less severe subtypes that are recognized as depressive disorders as well such as Postpartum Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder and Atypical Depression, to name a few. Dependent upon the diagnosis, treatments may include cognitive-behavior therapy, psychotherapy or medicines such as antidepressants. [Alpert, Jonathan E. Handbook of Chronic Depression. Marcel Dekker: 2004]
- Eating Disorders: Eating Disorders are categorized by a group of conditions that are defined by abnormal eating habits such as insufficient or excessive food intake at the detriment of the individual’s physical and mental wellbeing. Anorexia Nervosa, which is categorized by an obsessive fear of gaining weight and an unrealistic perception of current body weight, and Bulimia Nervosa, which follows a pattern of binge eating followed by compensatory purging behaviors, are among the best-known disorders. Although primarily thought of as affecting females, eating disorders can affect males as well. [Treasure, Janet, et al. Handbook of Eating Disorders. John Wiley & Sons: 2003]
- Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety is a blanket term covering several different forms of mental illness of abnormal and pathological fear and anxiety. Anxiety disorders may have continuous or episodic symptoms and are divided into Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Phobic Disorder and Panic Disorder, with as many as 18 percent of Americans affected by one or more of them. Each disorder has its own characteristics, symptoms and treatments. Subtypes of anxiety include: Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Separation Anxiety. [Craske, Michelle G. Origins of Phobias and Anxiety Disorders: Why More Women Than Men? Department of Psychology,University ofCalifornia: 2003]
- Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a mental disorder in which there is a breakdown of mental processes, most commonly manifesting itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions or disorganized speech and thinking. It is often accompanied by significant social and occupational dysfunction. Contributing factors to Schizophrenia include genetics, neurobiology and psychological processes, and the mainstay of treatment is antipsychotic medication; however, psychotherapy and vocational and social rehabilitation are also important in treatment. [Strous, Rael D. “Analysis of Clinical Characteristics and Antipsychotic Medication Prescribing Practices of First-episode Schizophrenia in Israel: a Naturalistic Prospective Study.” The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences 43.1 (2006): 2+. Questia. Web. 14 May 2012.]
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A severe anxiety disorder that typically develops after a psychological traumatic experience, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may cause the affected person to re-experience the original trauma through flashbacks or nightmares and produces intense negative feelings of fear, helplessness or horror. Events that may act as a catalyst for PTSD include the death of a loved one or the threat of death to oneself. Formal diagnostic criteria requires that the symptoms last more than one month and cause significant impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning. [Wilson, John P., et al. Treating Psychological Trauma and PTSD. The Guilford Press: 2001]
For further quality research on various mental health issues, visit Questia’s topic page on mental health.