If you had to guess, what illness would you say is more prevalent in developed countries -- cancer or maybe heart disease? Nope. Believe it or not, it's mental illness.
Like cancer and heart disease, mental illness is a medical condition, and those who have mental disorders struggle to cope with everyday life because of their altered moods, thinking or behavior. Fortunately, treatment for mental illness or mental disorders can lead to recovery; and although treatment may include medication, it ideally also includes psychosocial therapies and support.
Mental disorders do not discriminate by age, race or ethnicity, and they often strike when a person is in the prime of his or her life. The spectrum of disorders runs from mild to severe and, like any medical condition, many factors can trigger illness [source: Herrman, Saxena, Moodie].
In recent years, greater attention has been paid to mental disorders because of the burden they place on the public health system and their relationship to high-risk behaviors such as alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse. Mental disorders are recognized as a global problem, but tracking who suffers from different mental illnesses varies around the world. The United States uses several systems to monitor symptoms and classify illness. So it's hard to say precisely which disorders are diagnosed most, but what's important is that efforts are under way to collect data that will help provide better understanding and care for those who have mental illness [source: Freeman]. Read on so you can learn more about 10 of the most common mental illnesses.