Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Mental Illness

  • Andrew FoxEmail author
Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_1435-3



Mental illnesses are particular ways of thinking, feeling, or behaving that are typically associated with distress or impairment and that are not accepted as normal by the dominant local culture. The concept is controversial, and there is ongoing debate about how best to describe and understand the experiences often subsumed under this term.


Classification of Mental Illnesses

Mental illnesses are made up of clusters of symptoms (abnormal or statistically infrequent behavior, emotion, or thoughts) and are typically classified according to different categories, or diagnoses, so that a particular mental illness is considered as either present or not. There are many different forms of mental illnesses, and people may be classed as displaying several at any one time (known as comorbidity). The key manuals used to diagnose mental illnesses are the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (currently on...

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References and Further Readings

  1. Bentall, R. P. (2003). Madness explained: Psychosis and human nature. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  2. Johnstone, L. & Boyle, M. with Cromby, J., Dillon, J., Harper, D., Kinderman, P., Longden, E., Pilgrim, D. & Read, J. (2018). The Power Threat Meaning Framework: Towards the identification of patterns in emotional distress, unusual experiences and troubled or troubling behaviour, as an alternative to functional psychiatric diagnosis. Leicester: British Psychological Society.Google Scholar
  3. Johnstone, L., & Dallos, R. (2014). Introduction to formulation. In L. Johnstone & R. Dallos (Eds.), Formulation in psychology and psychotherapy: Making sense of people’s problems (pp. 1–17). Hove: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Moncrieff, J., & Middleton, H. (2015). Schizophrenia: A critical psychiatry perspective. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 28(3), 264–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Szasz, T. S. (1961). The myth of mental illness: Foundations of a theory of personal conduct. New York: Hoeber-Harper.Google Scholar
  6. Van Os, J. (2009). A salience dysregulation syndrome. British Journal of Psychiatry, 194, 101–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. World Health Organisation. (2016). International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision, version for 2016. Retrieved 2 Jan 2015, from http://apps.who.int/classifications/icd10/browse/2016/en

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Recovery and Wellbeing Inpatient ServicesBirmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS TrustBirminghamUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna C Whittaker
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK