Mental Disorder

Important information

There are numerous mental disorders, each with its own set of symptoms. They are generally distinguished by a combination of abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions, behavior, and interpersonal relationships.

Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses, dementia, and developmental disorders such as autism are examples of mental disorders.

There are effective prevention strategies for mental disorders such as depression.

There are effective treatments for mental disorders as well as methods to alleviate the suffering they cause.

It is critical to have access to health care and social services that can provide treatment and social support.

The global burden of mental disorders continues to rise, with serious consequences for health as well as major social, human rights, and economic consequences in every country.


Depression is a common mental disorder that is one of the leading causes of disability around the world. Depression affects an estimated 264 million people worldwide. 1 Women are more affected than men.

Sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, tiredness, and poor concentration are all symptoms of depression. People who are depressed may also have a number of physical complaints that have no obvious physical cause. Depression can be chronic or recurrent, significantly impairing people's ability to function at work or school and cope with day-to-day life. Depression, at its most severe, can lead to suicide.

Prevention programs have been shown to reduce depression in both children and adults (for example, through protection and psychological support following physical and sexual abuse) (e.g. through psychosocial assistance after disasters and conflicts).

There are also effective treatments available. Talking therapies, such as cognitive behavior therapy or psychotherapy, can effectively treat mild to moderate depression. Antidepressants can be an effective treatment for moderate to severe depression, but they should not be used as the first line of treatment for mild depression. They should not be used to treat depression in children, and they should not be used as the first line of treatment in adolescents, where they should be used with caution.

Depression management should include psychosocial aspects such as identifying stressors such as financial problems, work difficulties, or physical or mental abuse, as well as sources of support such as family members and friends. It is critical to maintain or reactivate social networks and social activities.

Manic-depressive illness

This condition affects approximately 45 million people worldwide1. It usually consists of manic and depressive episodes interspersed with periods of normal mood. Manic episodes are characterized by an elevated or irritable mood, excessive activity, rapid speech, inflated self-esteem, and a decreased need for sleep. Bipolar disorder is also diagnosed in people who have manic episodes but do not have depressive episodes.

There are effective treatments available for treating the acute phase of bipolar disorder and preventing relapse. These are mood-stabilizing medications. Psychosocial support is an important part of the treatment process.

Schizophrenia and other mental illnesses

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects 20 million people worldwide1. Psychoses, including schizophrenia, are characterized by cognitive, perceptual, emotional, linguistic, self-perception, and behavioral distortions. Hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there) and delusions are common psychotic experiences (fixed false beliefs or suspicions that are firmly held even when there is evidence to the contrary). People suffering from the disorder may find it difficult to work or study normally.

Access to health and social services may be hampered as a result of stigma and discrimination. Furthermore, people suffering from psychosis are at a high risk of being subjected to human rights violations, such as long-term institutional confinement

Schizophrenia usually manifests itself in late adolescence or early adulthood. Medication and psychosocial support are effective treatments. Affected people can lead productive lives and be integrated into society if they receive appropriate treatment and social support. Facilitation of assisted living, supported housing, and supported employment can serve as a foundation from which people with severe mental disorders, including schizophrenia, can achieve a variety of recovery goals, as they frequently struggle to find or keep a place to live and normal employment.


Dementia affects approximately 50 million people worldwide. Dementia is typically chronic or progressive in nature, with deterioration in cognitive function (i.e. the ability to process thought) that exceeds what would be expected with normal aging. Memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language, and judgment are all affected. Impaired cognitive function is frequently accompanied by, and sometimes preceded by, deterioration in emotional control, social behavior, or motivation.

Dementia is caused by a variety of brain diseases and injuries, such as Alzheimer's disease or stroke.

Despite the fact that there is currently no treatment available to cure dementia or alter its progression, many treatments are in various stages of clinical trials. Much can be done, however, to help and improve the lives of people living with dementia, as well as their caregivers and families.