Illness refers to the presence of a physical or mental disease or impairment ; the experiences associated with disease that ultimately affect the person’s overall state of being and social functioning.

Illness is highly individual in that a person may have a serious disease but experience no feelings of pain or suffering and hence there seems to be no illness; conversely, a person may be extremely ill, as with a somatization disorder, but have no evidence of disease that can be measured by pathological changes in the body.


Illness in the psychology context refers to a state of poor mental or emotional well-being that negatively impacts a person's functioning and quality of life. It can manifest as a range of symptoms, including mood disturbances, anxiety, cognitive impairments, and behavioral issues. Illness can result from various factors such as genetic predisposition, environmental stressors, and life experiences. It can significantly affect a person's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, leading to difficulties in relationships, work, and daily activities. Understanding and addressing illness is crucial for promoting mental health and overall well-being.

Application Areas

  • Clinical psychology
  • Counseling psychology
  • Psychiatric settings
  • Community mental health programs
  • Educational psychology

Treatment and Risks

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication management
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Support groups
  • Risks include medication side effects


  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Similar Concepts and Synonyms

  • Mental health disorder
  • Psychological disorder
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Mental illness
  • Psychological distress

Articles with 'Illness' in the title

  • Chronic illness: Chronic illness: Chronic illness refers to a type of illness that is long lasting, permanent or long-term and often irreversible- illnesses that persist over long periods of time, such as diabetes or arthritis that often results in some . . .
  • Chronic illnesses: Chronic illnesses refer to illnesses that are long lasting and often irreversible. Description- In psychology, chronic illnesses refer to long-term health conditions that persist over an extended period, typically lasting for three months . . .
  • Environmental illness: Environmental illness is a newly identified phenomenon that refers to a polysymptomatic disorder associated with immune system dysfunction and allergy-like sensitivity to many compounds found in chemicals, foods, clothing, perfumes, and . . .
  • Illness behavior: Illness behavior refer to those activities undertaken by people who feel ill and who wish to discover their state of health, as well as suitable remedies
  • Illness representations: Illness representations (schemas) refer to an organized set of beliefs about an illness or a type of illness that include its nature, cause, duration, and consequences
  • Medical model of mental illness: Medical model of mental illness : Medical model of mental illness refers to the assumption that mental illness results from such biological causes as brain damage, impaired neural transmissions, or biochemical abnormalities
  • Occupational illness: Occupational illness is defined as any abnormal condition or disorder, other than one resulting from an occupational injury, caused by exposure to environmental factors associated with employment
  • Psychological model of mental illness: Psychological model of mental illness is the assumption that mental illness results from such psychological causes as conflict, anxiety, faulty beliefs, frustration, or traumatic experience



Illness in the psychology context encompasses a wide range of mental and emotional disturbances that impact an individual's well-being. It can result from various factors and manifest in different ways, affecting thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Treatment options include psychotherapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and support groups. Risks of illness may include medication side effects. Understanding and addressing illness is essential for promoting mental health and enhancing overall quality of life.


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