A mental disorder is a condition that affects a person's thinking and shows in his or her feelings and behavior. The term "mental disorder" is misleading because it implies that a mental disorder is distinct from a physical disorder. In reality, many forms of mental illness arise from a physical cause, such as an imbalance in brain chemistry. In addition, the experience of a person with a mental disorder is no less real than the experience of a person with a physical disease, and it can be just as devastating.
Common mental disorders include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, and psychotic disorders. They can cause a wide variety of symptoms, such as inappropriate anxiety, disturbances of thought and perception, and mood disturbances. These disorders are legitimate medical problems. They do not go away just by trying to shake off the symptoms, and they do not come about because the affected person has a character flaw or weakness. Mental disorders can be triggered by stressful negative or positive life events, such as the loss of a job, a promotion, the birth of a child, or a divorce. Sometimes, however, they occur with no obvious cause, changing the person's personality and affecting his or her work and relationships.
Many mental disorders go untreated in men because some men may not recognize the symptoms of a mental disorder. Other men may feel ashamed or fear the social stigma of having a mental disorder and may be reluctant to seek help. Many men do not even know that help is available. In fact, only about 20 percent of people with mental disorders seek treatment. In addition, health insurance coverage for mental problems is often inadequate. This is unfortunate because medical science has made great advances in determining the causes of and appropriate treatment for many mental disorders. A wide range of effective treat ments for mental disorders is now readily available. If you think you may have a mental disorder, talk about the problem with your doctor. He or she can refer you to the proper mental health specialist so you can get the help you need.
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