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Psychiatric Disabilities

Students with psychiatric disabilities have experienced significant emotional difficulty that generally has required treatment in a hospital setting. With appropriate treatment, often combining medications, psychotherapy, and support, the majority of psychiatric disorders are cured or controlled. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that one in five people in the United States have some form of psychiatric disability, but only one in five persons with a diagnosable psychiatric disorder ever seeks treatment due to the strong stigmatization involved. Below are brief descriptions of some common psychiatric disabilities.


A major disorder that can begin at any age. Major depression may be characterized by a depressed mood most of each day, a lack of pleasure in most activities, thoughts of suicide, insomnia, and feelings of worthlessness or guilt. Eighty to ninety percent of people with depression experience relief from symptoms through medication, therapy, or a combination of the two. Depression is a variable condition that may fluctuate during a person’s lifetime.

Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder)

Causes a person to experience periods of mania and depression. In the manic phase, a person might experience inflated self-esteem and a decreased need to sleep.

Anxiety disorders

Can disrupt a person’s ability to concentrate and cause hyperventilation, a racing heart, chest pains, dizziness, panic, and extreme fear.


Can cause a person to experience, at some point in the illness, delusions and hallucinations.

Psychological Disability Support »


  • Trauma is not the sole cause of psychiatric disabilities; genetics may play a role.
  • Psychiatric disabilities affect people of any age, gender, income group, and intellectual level.
  • Disruptive behavior is not an attribute of most people with psychiatric disabilities.
  • It may seem like today there are more people with psychiatric disabilities, but in reality, more people are seeking treatment outside the walls of state mental health institutions.

Office of Academic Success
240 Briggs Library
600 East 4th Street
Morris, MN 56267

Phone: 320-589-6178
Fax: 320-589-6473
Relay Access: 7-1-1
TTY Relay: 1-800-627-3529


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