Knowing what to say and how to break the barrier of depression can be difficult at times.

Non-Memory Related Disorders and Conditions

As a caregiver, in addition to dealing with physical illnesses, your care receiver may have mental health or developmental challenges. One in five people in the United States experiences mental illness during their lifetime, which makes the need to know how to deal with difficult situations a necessity for most caregivers.

Behavioral conditions impact how people think, behave, and interact with others and encompass numerous disorders varying in severity and frequency of episodes. Many people who suffer from them may not look ill or as if anything is wrong, while others appear confused, agitated, or withdrawn. Learning more about developmental or mental health disorders will help you know how to interact with or help others with those conditions.

Person experiencing a hallucination and delusion thinking that someone is trying to harm her.

Mental Health Disorders

Mental health disorders affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, or behavior. Just like medical diagnosis, there are specific mental health disorders, too. For example, many people cope with severe stressful events or trauma by developing extreme eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorders. In some situations, the person has the condition only briefly. Whereas, in others, the mental health problem becomes a life-long companion.

Mental health and mental illness are not the same. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being and affects how we think, feel, and act. In addition, mental illness describes conditions related to a medical condition, such as a chemical imbalance, trauma at birth, genetic defect, etc. Knowing the difference in the type of condition helps the healthcare professional determine how to help the individual learn how to handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.

Downs Syndrome group at community center

Developmental Conditions

Developmental disabilities begin in childhood and last a lifetime. They affect learning, intelligence, language skills, physical ability, or behavioral maturity. As a result, children with developmental delays do not keep pace with other children of their age group in some aspects of their growth and development. Sometimes the delay is in just one area; other times, multiple areas are affected.


Causes for many of the developmental disabilities are yet to be determined, but some are known to be related to genetics or environmental exposures, or infections. The child is usually diagnosed as an infant, sometimes even before birth, but almost always in early childhood. Treatment can improve conditions but not cure them.

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