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

But Euronews' partners NBC News have been briefed by US and Canadian law enforcement officials who say that mental illness is currently the leading theory based on their preliminary investigations. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Boy, 4, who apparently shot himself, in serious condition," 11 July 2018 There is also a false assumption that mental illness is something a person can control. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Stigma of suicide: Mom of teen found by former Wauwatosa alderman speaks out," 27 June 2018 Both the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with Prince Harry, have been vocal about fighting the stigma associated with mental illnesses. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Wasn't Prince William At The Royal Ascot Today?," 19 June 2018 Eating disorders often co-occur with other forms of mental illness, like depression and anxiety. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "How Pro-Eating Disorder Posts Evade Filters on Social Media," 13 June 2018 There is no one to blame but the stigma of loneliness, the stigma of asking for help, the stigma of mental illness, the stigma of being famous and hurting. Vanities, "Rose McGowan Defends “Pillar of Strength” Asia Argento in Open Letter," 11 June 2018 Globally, mental illness has become more common, too. The Economist, "The epidemiological transition is now spreading to the emerging world," 26 Apr. 2018 Revelations like this help reduce some of the stigma attached to those living with mental illnesses. Bassey Ikpi, The Root, "No Shame: Me, Mariah and Bipolar Disorder," 11 Apr. 2018 According to records from the Alabama Department of Finance, the state paid for 6,713 commitment hearings in 2016 to determine whether people were dangerous to themselves or others due to serious mental illness. Amy Yurkanin, AL.com, "Alabama fails to stop many with mental illness from buying guns," 4 Mar. 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

14 Oct 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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