Despite decades of work to educate the public about the nature of mental health conditions, mental health issues are still accompanied by stigma. Many people perceive that mental health issues happen to people they never see and certainly never care about.
The reality is that almost everyone knows someone with a mental health diagnosis, and such a diagnosis does not in any way mean that a person cannot live a normal, healthy, happy life. About 26% of Americans experience a mental health diagnosis in any given year. Most of these diagnoses are highly treatable conditions.
Anxiety issues make up the most common group of mental health conditions in the United States, with 40 million American adults—or about 18% of the population—experiencing anxiety in any given year. Obsessive compulsion, panic, posttraumatic stress, generalized anxiety, and social phobia are all examples of anxiety disorders. Among people who experience such a disorder, social phobia is the most common, with 15 million people experiencing this condition each year.
Mood issues undermine a person’s ability to regulate mood. About 9% of the adult population, or 21 million people, experiences a mood disorder such as depression, bipolar, or dysthymia each year. Depression is the most common mood disorder, affecting almost 15 million people every year. It is also the leading cause of disability among adults.
About 11% of children have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity. This diagnosis isn’t limited to children, though; ADHD affects 4% of adults every year.
While many therapists and mental health practitioners do not support diagnoses of personality disorders of any kind, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) lists several types of personality diagnoses, and they are still frequently used. Rather than changing the way a person behaves in a specific context, personality disorders fundamentally alter a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Avoidant personality, which leads to avoidance of social situations and chronic feelings of inadequacy, is the most common personality issue, affecting 5% of adults every year. Overall, personality issues affect 9% of adults every year.
Substance abuse can lead to addiction to substances ranging from alcohol to illicit drugs. About 23 million Americans experience an addiction each year, with only about 10% receiving proper psychological and medical treatment.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these common mental health issues, help is available. Find a therapist near you on by searching the GoodTherapy.org Directory.
- Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder data & statistics. (2013, November 13). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html
- The numbers count: Mental disorders in America. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml
- The science of addiction: Drugs, brains, and behavior. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/spring07/articles/spring07pg14-17.html
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