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

Rush was the first American physician to treat mental illness humanely as a disease rather than as criminal behavior or the devil’s work. Stephen Brumwell, WSJ, "‘Rush’ and ‘Dr. Benjamin Rush’ Review: American Hippocrates," 20 Sep. 2018 Alexander said the key is to get people to focus more on their mental illness before considering suicide. Deasia Paige, Detroit Free Press, "Actress Erika Alexander to stress suicide prevention at event in Detroit," 8 June 2018 Due to our ability to prescribe and our medical background, psychiatrists often see people with more severe mental illness (typically therapy alone is a first step for many illnesses and medication is considered as a next step if needed). SELF, "9 Awkward Questions You Probably Want to Ask Your New Therapist," 31 Oct. 2018 Seriously, this show is one of the best depictions of life with mental illness and coming to terms with not living up to your ideal potential that's ever aired. The Editors, Marie Claire, "What to Watch on Netflix in September, According to Our Editors," 27 Aug. 2018 The injury, Haddish says, triggered her mother’s mental illness and abusive behavior. Law Roach, Glamour, "The Tao of Tiffany Haddish: ‘If They're Not Talking About You, Then You're Not Doing Your Job’," 31 July 2018 Children can develop their own mental illnesses as a result of their parents’ struggles with PTSD and other mental health disorders associated with their military service, professionals say. courant.com, "Veterans’ Families Also Suffer From The Wounds Of War," 12 July 2018 As America copes with an epidemic of gun violence that kills 96 people each day, there has been vigorous debate about how to prevent people with mental illness from acquiring weapons. Jonel Aleccia And Melissa Bailey, USA TODAY, "Unlocked and loaded: Families confront dementia and guns," 1 July 2018 Cruz does not appear to have been diagnosed with any severe or psychotic mental illness, though state records indicate he was treated for depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and emotional behavioral disability. Paula Mcmahon, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Parkland school shooter: Typical of today's mass killers," 30 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

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for mental illness

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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