In 2019, 1 in every 8 people, or 970 million people around the world were living with a mental disorder, with anxiety and depressive disorders the most common. In 2020, the number of people living with anxiety and depressive disorders rose significantly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Initial estimates show a 26% and 28% increase respectively for anxiety and major depressive disorders in just one year. While effective prevention and treatment options exist, most people with mental disorders do not have access to effective care. Many people also experience stigma, discrimination and violations of human rights.
Beneath the surface of daily life, unseen currents swirl, and hidden storms rage. These are the storms of mental disorders, affecting one in eight people across the globe, silently disrupting lives and painting a complex picture of human fragility. This isn't a fleeting storm, but an ever-present force shaping destinies, impacting families, and demanding our urgent attention.
But what exactly are mental disorders? They are not mere quirks of personality, but disturbances in our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that significantly impair our everyday functioning. Depression's dark grip can suffocate joy, anxiety's whispers can paralyze progress, and the fractured realities of psychosis can distort our perception of the world. Each disorder, from the familiar sting of depression to the lesser-known challenges of eating disorders or personality disorders, carries its own unique set of struggles.
- Anxiety Disorders: These involve excessive fear and worry that significantly impair daily life, with types like generalized, panic, social, and separation anxiety. Effective treatment includes psychological therapy and medication (depending on age and severity).
- Depression: Characterized by prolonged sadness, loss of pleasure, and other symptoms, affecting 280 million people globally. Treatment options involve psychological therapy and medication.
- Bipolar Disorder: People experience alternating episodes of depression and mania (euphoria or irritability, increased energy, etc.). Both depressive and manic symptoms pose a risk of suicide. Treatment options include psychoeducation, stress reduction, medication, and social support.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Following a traumatic event, people experience intrusive memories, avoidance behaviors, and heightened threat perception. Effective treatment involves psychological therapy.
- Schizophrenia: This disorder affects 24 million people, impacting perception and behavior with symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, and disorganization. Treatment options include medication, psychoeducation, family interventions, and rehabilitation.
- Eating Disorders: These involve abnormal eating behaviors and unhealthy body image concerns, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Treatment options include family-based and cognitive-based therapy.
- Disruptive Behavior and Dissocial Disorders: Characterized by persistent defiance, disobedience, and violation of societal norms, particularly affecting children and adolescents. Effective treatment involves psychological interventions, often including parents and educators.
- Neurodevelopmental Disorders: These impact development and affect areas like intellectual function, motor skills, language, and social interaction. Examples include autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and disorders of intellectual development. Treatment options include psychosocial and behavioral interventions, occupational and speech therapy, and medication in some cases.
The statistics themselves are a stark testament to the scale of this hidden crisis. Nearly 970 million people grappled with a mental disorder in 2019, a figure that surpasses even the number living with HIV/AIDS. And the cost isn't measured solely in numbers; it's etched in broken dreams, strained relationships, and diminished productivity. The economic burden of mental disorders is estimated at a staggering $2. trillion per year, a silent storm wreaking havoc on individuals, families, and healthcare systems alike.