mental illness

noun
variants: or mental disorder or less commonly mental disease

Definition of mental illness 

: any of a broad range of medical conditions (such as major depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, or panic disorder) that are marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind, or emotions to impair normal psychological functioning and cause marked distress or disability and that are typically associated with a disruption in normal thinking, feeling, mood, behavior, interpersonal interactions, or daily functioning

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Other words from mental illness

mentally ill adjective

Examples of mental illness in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Hogsett's vision includes a jail, Marion County courts and an assessment center to treat people with mental illness and drug addictions. James Briggs, Indianapolis Star, "Mayor Joe Hogsett breaks ground on Indianapolis jail — months before council gives final OK," 12 July 2018 The former Disney Channel star has been open about her battles with addiction, mental illness and disordered eating for years. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Iggy Azalea Admits Knowing About Demi Lovato’s Relapse: 'I Wanted Her to Be the One to Tell'," 11 July 2018 The show centers on Adams’ character Camille Preaker, a reporter struggling with mental illness and self-harm who had recently been discharged from a psychiatric facility. refinery29.com, "Sharp Objects Will Have End Cards For Its Potentially Triggering Content," 7 July 2018 His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Angelo Mourelatos, said Sorensen has been diagnosed with severe mental illness and schizophrenia and had been hospitalized several times since 2006. Amanda Marrazzo, McHenry County, "Woodstock man who claimed Satan, spirits were guiding him gets 18 years for kidnap, sex abuse of 4-year-old," 18 June 2018 Parents accused of suffering from mental illness or substance abuse may have to prove the opposite or risk losing legal authority over major life decisions involving a child. Perry Vandell, azcentral, "Messy Family Court battles can crush souls, stir rage, sometimes ignite violence," 17 June 2018 His tragic loss by suicide is also an important reminder that we — as chefs and restaurateurs and leaders — need to do a better job of dealing with both mental illness and addiction within our industry. Leeanne Griffin, courant.com, "Connecticut Chefs React To Anthony Bourdain's Death," 9 June 2018 But the continuing stigmatization of mental illness and a health care system that has barely made treating it a consideration, much less a priority, mean that many sick people never get help. Jill Gleeson, Good Housekeeping, "I Understand Why Kate Spade Killed Herself," 8 June 2018 The nightmares began that night — the start of her own struggle with mental illness and, eventually, her new mission to help families like her own. Rebecca Lurye, Courant Community, "Former Middletown Swimmer Putting A Face To PTSD," 3 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mental illness.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mental illness

1724, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

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The first known use of mental illness was in 1724

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More Definitions for mental illness

mental illness

noun
variants: or mental disorder also mental disease

Medical Definition of mental illness 

: any of a broad range of medical conditions (such as major depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, or panic disorder) that are marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind, or emotions to impair normal psychological functioning and cause marked distress or disability and that are typically associated with a disruption in normal thinking, feeling, mood, behavior, interpersonal interactions, or daily functioning Some homeless families are also hindered by substance abuse and mental illness. —Ellen L. Bassuk, Scientific American, December 1991 Catatonia is usually an expression of mental disorders like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, but it could also come from other medical problems, such as a brain tumor. —Forrest Wickman, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 31 May 2012 mental diseases such as schizophrenia and manic depression may either involve more than one gene or may result from a complex mix of genetic predisposition and environmental rotten luck. —Natalie Angier, The New York Times Book Review, 12 Aug. 1990

Other words from mental illness

mentally ill adjective
mentally ill patients Mental health workers … perform a wide variety of therapeutic, supportive, and preventative functions for persons who are mentally ill and developmentally disabled. —Barbara M. Swanson, Careers in Health Care, 1989

mental illness

noun
mental ill·ness

Legal Definition of mental illness 

2 : a mental condition marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind, and emotions to seriously impair the normal psychological and often social functioning of the individual

called also mental disorder

More from Merriam-Webster on mental illness

Britannica English: Translation of mental illness for Arabic Speakers

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