Who Does Mental Illness Affect?

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Approximately 1 in 4 adults and 20% of youth between 13 and 18 experience mental illness in a given year. Most common are anxiety disorders, affecting 40 million adults in the United States. Depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD and insomnia are all very common as well. In fact, many cases of insomnia are caused by mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Another factor causing insomnia may be alcohol consumption or drug use.

Over 5,000 patients are admitted to emergency rooms every day for issues associated with drug abuse, and over 10% of children live with a parent with alcoholism. When surveyed, nearly 53% of adults claim that at least one of their close relatives has a drinking problem. Adults between 18 and 29 are the most susceptible to problem drinking, while the elderly (age 65 or older) are the least vulnerable.

Mental illness isn’t just for adults, however. Depression, insomnia and ADHD are widespread in children, as well. As of 2011, 11% of children between the ages of 4 and 17 had been diagnosed with ADHD, with boys being twice as likely to be diagnosed than girls.

Unfortunately, with the stigma surrounding mental illness, it can be difficult for some patients to receive treatment. Fewer than 20% of people with depression seek professional help, a choice which can often prove to be fatal. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and adults living with mental illness are often at a higher risk of medical conditions. Because of these treatable conditions, individuals with serious mental illness have an average life expectancy up to 25 years lower than that of other Americans.

Finding a family doctor who is experienced in treating illnesses such as alcoholism, adhd and insomnia is crucial to the well-being of one’s family. Even if the family practice doctor is unable to treat mental illness or substance abuse, he or she can refer the patient to rapid detox centers or a trusted specialist.

The fight against illnesses like depression, insomnia and ADHD can be long and exhausting, but with a trusted family practice physician, these obstacles can be overcome, and effective treatments can begin.

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