There are many types of mental illness and, depending on how mental illness is described, 10 or 25% of people living in the United Kingdom can be considered to have had a mental illness at some point in their lives. Like many other illnesses it is common and can occur at any time and happen to any one of us.
Severe mental illness is a term used for longstanding conditions and effects only about 1% of the population. There are many types of mental illness but the easiest way of defining them are as either psychotic or neurotic. Most conditions fit into either of these categories.
Neurotic conditions are related to ‘normal’ emotions and are the most common type of mental illness. Many of us feel depressed for example and whilst it occurs is unpleasant. However if you have clinical depression it is a far deeper experience than being ‘feeling depressed’. Having clinical depression is an illness that has a marked effect on your life, preventing the patients being able to work or look after themselves properly and in extreme cases lead to suicide. Other examples of neurotic illnesses are Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety.
These conditions are different from neuroses being unrelated to normal emotions. Psychosis is a word used to describe symptoms or experiences that happen together. These symptoms cause the patient to not experience reality like most people. Someone with psychotic symptoms may:
These symptoms can occur with a number of psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia. People suffering from Bipolar Disorder
also known as Manic–Depression, and psychotic depression, which are mood disorders, can also experience these symptoms.
Useful websites for further information:
Royal College of Psychiatrists – www.rcpsych.ac.uk
Mind – www.mind.org.uk
Centre for Mental Health – www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk
Rethink – www.rethink.org
Learn more about psychosis by visiting our Early Intervention in Psychosis website