What do we mean by a mental disability, or mental illness

A mental illness, also known as mental health disorder, refers to a wide range of mental illnesses – disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness esarrhea, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviour.

Many people have concerns about their mental health from time to time. But a temporary mental health problem becomes a mental illness when persistent signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and impair your ability to function.

A mental illness can make you unhappy and cause problems in your daily life, e.g. at school, at work or in relationships. In most cases, the symptoms can be treated with a combination of medication and talk therapy (psychotherapy).


Signs and symptoms of mental illness may vary depending on disorder, circumstances and other factors. The symptoms of a mental illness can affect a person’s emotions, thoughts and behaviors.

Examples of signs and symptoms are:

  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Confused thinking or decreased ability to concentrate
  • Excessive fears or worries or extreme feelings of guilt
  • Extreme mood swings of highs and lows
  • Withdrawal of friends and activities
  • Significant fatigue, low energy or sleep problems
  • Detached from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
  • Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
  • Difficulties in understanding and referring to situations and people
  • Problems with alcohol or drug use
  • Significant changes in eating habits
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Excessive anger, hostility or violence
  • Suicide thinking

Sometimes symptoms of a mental health disorder occur as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headache or other unexplained pain.

Possible complications

Mental illness is one of the main causes of disability. Untreated mental illnesses can cause severe emotional, behavioral and physical health problems. Complications that are sometimes associated with mental illness include:

  • Dissatisfaction and decreased joie de vivre
  • Family conflicts
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Social isolation
  • Problems with tobacco, alcohol and other drugs
  • Missed work or school or other problems related to work or school
  • Legal and financial problems
  • Poverty and homelessness
  • Self-harm and harm to others, including suicide or murder
  • Weakened immune system so your body can’t resist infections
  • Heart disease and other diseases

(Source: Maya Clinic, USA)

We believe that ESA’s (Emotional Support Animals) can and are a good help for facilitating and coping with mental impairments. They can also help prevent mental illness from breaking out at all, or to alleviate symptoms that occur.

This is an important part of our motivation to promote and promote the topic of “Emotional Support Animal” also in Europe.

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