Who Will Struggle with Mental Illness?
Experts have described mental disorders as ‘the chronic diseases of the young.’ Unlike most disabling physical illnesses, mental illnesses often begin very early in life, many mental health conditions first appearing in young people during the ages of 18 to 25.
Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health shows that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14; three-fourths by age 24.
While doctors and scientists are still learning more about the origins of mental illness, it is widely accepted that mental illnesses like depression are influenced by genetic as well as environmental factors.
Many experts believe genetic predisposition makes some people more vulnerable to emotional disorders. These conditions in the code of our genetic wiring can disrupt mental circuits, making people more susceptible to depression and anxiety. This may explain how traumatic life events send some people into deep depression while others learn to cope and move on.
While the majority of parents don’t believe their child is likely to experience a mental health problem in college, studies show these problems affect one in five young people at any given time.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, not everyone with a genetic predisposition will develop that illness.
Though we can’t yet fully understand the diseases of the mind, we can diagnose them, treat them, and help people work together with their caregivers to limit the impact of their illness, and lead productive, fulfilling lives.
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