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Behavioral Health Facts

Important things to know about mental illness

Mental illness is a medical condition that alters an individual’s thoughts, moods, memory and ability to get along with others.

Mental illness affects 20% of people in every age, income, education level, race or religion. The right combination of therapy, support services and medication can help people with mental illness reduce their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.

Types of mental illnesses include: Major depression, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, Anxiety, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Post-traumatic stress disorders.

  • A mental illness is a medical condition, and not a sign of weakness or a flawed character.
  • Mental illness can happen at any age, but often occurs in children, adolescents and senior citizens.
  • The stigma of mental illness can keep many people from seeking treatment.
  • Untreated mental illness results in unemployment, homelessness, substance abuse, inappropriate incarceration, divorce, and school drop-outs.
  • Early identification makes a significant difference in full recovery.
  • Recovery is possible.
  • People with mental illness lead active, productive lives. Studies have shown that people with mental illness improve, many recovering completely.

Important things to know about substance use disorder

Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol, and/or drugs causes clinically and functionally significant impairment such as health problems, disability and failure to meet responsibilities at work, school or home.

Addiction is a complex disease that can lead to changes in brain chemistry and function. Abuse of drugs or alcohol can affect learning, judgment, decision-making, stress, memory and behavior.

Quitting the abuse usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. On-going treatment programs customized for the individual are critical.


  • The stigma of addiction can keep many people from seeking treatment.
  • Untreated substance abuse results in unemployment, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, divorce, and school drop-outs.
  • Treatment for addiction generally is not a cure but a way to successfully manage the disease and minimize the risk of relapse. With treatment, people with substance use disorder can lead active, productive lives.
  • Relapse is the return to substance use after an attempt to stop and indicates the need for more or different treatment.
  • No single factor can predict whether a person will become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Risk factors include genetic, environmental and developmental causes.
  • Drug and alcohol addiction are preventable.