There are several definitions of mental disorder.
They group together “alterations in mental health that lead to behavioural problems”. (free translation from the French dictionary Le Petit Robert )
They are considered as “a psychological or behavioural pattern generally associated with subjective distress or disability that occurs in an individual and which are not a part of normal development or culture”. (Wikipedia)
The study and management of mental illness is carried out through the medical speciality of psychiatry, which literally means the ‘medical treatment of the mind’ (psych-: mind; -iatry: medical treatment; from Greek iātrikos: medical, iāsthai: to heal)
Numerous psychiatric or mental illnesses lie within international diagnostic classifications. The most widely known are: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, phobia, generalised anxiety disorder…
Today, recent advances in research provide a new perspective on mental illness and bring about a radical change in approach by looking at their causes and risk factors as well as medical conditions they are often associated with (diabetes, cardiovascular problems, etc). This approach not only opens up new possibilities with regard to diagnosis, prevention and treatment but can also – and must – accompany the emergence of a new view of mental illness and disorders.