Basically all mental illness can be divided into three major groups: endogenous, exogenous and of mental development.
By exogenous we can name mental illness, which arose under the influence of external factors, i.e., environmental factors. Such disorders may be influenced by infections, intoxication (such as alcohol, drugs and so on), various diseases of internal organs (heart, liver, kidneys), endocrine diseases. A special group of mental illnesses of exogenous origin is reactive psychosis caused by the severe mental trauma and prolonged traumatic psychological impact on people. An injury, tumor, or illness that result in unrecoverable changes in the brain structure are called exogenous-organic causes.
Endogenous mental illness is mainly due to hereditary factors, although their nature and transmission are not fully understood. This hereditary factor can trigger inherent mechanisms of disorder under the influence of some external effects or can be released by disease or may as well remain inactive and be transmitted to the next generation. Such diseases include schizophrenia (psychosis, in which mental disorders combined with preservation of intelligence and clear mind), manic-depressive psychosis (MDP – alternating periods of joyful and depressed mood) and schizoaffective disorder, which is an intermediate state between schizophrenia and MDP.
There exist other types of mental disorders that cannot be attributed to any of exogenous or endogenous group of diseases. Thus, some senile psychoses (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease) are based on close intertwining of the two factors. Particular types of psychosis include mental changes in epilepsy. All these diseases are attributed to a group of endogenously-organic diseases – the name indicates that in addition to genetic predisposition in these patients, there are changes in the structure of the brain.
It is very difficult to set the true number of patients with mental illness, as not all of them seek psychiatric help. It is now established that up to 40% of the population have symptoms of some or other mental disorder. The number of mentally ill persons who need regular psychiatric care reach 5% of the population, and severe mental patients whose treatment should be conducted in a psychiatric hospital is up to 0.6% of the population.
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