Mental illness, especially the three serious diseases of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and .
major depression are a huge social problem that affects more than just those it afflicts. More than .
2.3 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder and 20 percent of them commit suicide according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Schizophrenia and major depression affects another 2 million and one in 10 eventually dies by suicide. Add to that 19 million adults who suffer from major depression and it is a large amount of the population who suffer from a mental illness (LaFond, 1992). It is impossible to understand mental disability laws if you do not have a basic understanding about mental illness. There are numerous strains on mental illness. They range anywhere from obsessive disorder to manic depression. Mental illness is hard to diagnose. A blood test or simple visit to the doctor cannot determine a person's mental state. Diagnosing a mental illness is a long process that requires numerous tests and evaluations by doctors and/or psychiatrists. Although doctors are now able to diagnose mental illness easier than in the past, they still do not have a definite answer as to what causes mental illness. For people with severe mental disorders it does not take much stress to provoke an episode. The brain, therefore, becomes accustomed to responding to this tension and does so with increasing ease, unless therapy and/or medication intervene. Many times, victims feel that their delusions and mania are normal and do not seek treatment. Although some are clearly victims of mental illness, their legal rights allow them to get away with refusing treatment (Levy, 1996). .
When and if the individual does decide to seek therapy, he/she must learn to trust his/her .
therapist due to the personal information the therapist will be obtaining. The confidential relationship between the therapist and the patient has been considered part of the core foundation for building what is referred to as the "therapeutic alliance"(Roberts).