Mind Games – Mental illness vs. mental retardation


Contrary to what some think, mental illness isn’t the same as mental retardation. Retardation stems from a learning and intellectual disability. Mental illness is a biologically based brain disease that hinders a person’s ability to reason or relate to reality.

Mental illness is far more common than cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis. One in every five families is affected by it. According to 1996 statistics from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), over five million Americans suffer from acute episodes of severe mental illness.

Approximately three percent of the U.S. population is afflicted with schizophrenia, with a hundred thousand new cases diagnosed each year. Over two million schizophrenics live with their families.

Susan J. Shelley

Source: National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

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