NIMH – Brain Basics
Welcome. Brain Basics provides information on how the brain works, how mental illnesses are disorders of the brain, and ongoing research that helps us better understand and treat disorders.
Mental disorders are common. You may have a friend, colleague, or relative with a mental disorder, or perhaps you have experienced one yourself at some point. Such disorders include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and many others.
Some people who develop a mental illness may recover completely; others may have repeated episodes of illness with relatively stable periods in between. Still others live with symptoms of mental illness every day. They can be moderate, or serious and cause severe disability.
Through research, we know that mental disorders are brain disorders. Evidence shows that they can be related to changes in the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the nervous system. When the brain cannot effectively coordinate the billions of cells in the body, the results can affect many aspects of life.
Scientists are continually learning more about how the brain grows and works in healthy people, and how normal brain development and function can go awry, leading to mental illnesses.
Brain Basics will introduce you to some of this science, such as:
- How the brain develops
- How genes and the environment affect the brain
- The basic structure of the brain
- How different parts of the brain communicate and work with each other
- How changes in the brain can lead to mental disorders, such as depression.
Source: National Institute of Mental Health