Mental Illness

An estimated 1.3 million people in California have a serious mental illness. More than half (700,000) have been diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness, which includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression.

  • Schizophrenia is characterized by bizarre, grandiose, persecutory, or jealous delusions, auditory hallucinations (hearing voices), illogical thinking, blunted or inappropriate moods, and catatonia.
  • Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder; a person experiences mood swings that are elevated, expansive, or
    irritable.
  • Depression is a common emotional problem and a natural reaction to stress. Depression becomes more serious,
    however, when a person becomes immobilized and unable to function in daily life. It can be caused by chemical changes in the body, by a situational life crisis and the way a person responds to the crisis, or by past events thought forgotten. If you’re severely depressed, you don’t feel like your usual self. You may assume that friends and family no longer “know” you and make it difficult for people to communicate
    with you.

There are dozens of additional mental illnesses. Among the more common are attention deficit disorder (ADD), conduct and anxiety disorders, attachment disorders, oppositional disorders, and eating disorders. Successful treatment most likely requires medication and/or psychotherapy. Even many types of psychosis, where a person’s distorted thinking and perceptions lead to an incorrect belief about what’s real, respond rapidly to proper medication and professional counseling.