This is list of helpful definitions for anyone who feels that they, or someone they know, are a victim of abuse, may be suffering from mental illness or substance abuse*.
*These are general terms. Always seek professional help for treatment and any official diagnosis. For a few links to professional help, please refer to this thread.
Abuse is a situation in which a person is treated in a way that is harmful to them. Abuse can occur to anyone of any age and gender and from any walk of life. It can include physical battery, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse or exploitation, sexual abuse, and child or elder neglect or abandonment. If you or someone you know is being abused, it's important to seek support and help.
-- University of California, Santa Cruz
Addiction is a complex disease, often chronic in nature, which affects the functioning of the brain and body. It also causes serious damage to families, relationships, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. The most common symptoms of addiction are severe loss of control, continued use despite serious consequences, preoccupation with using, failed attempts to quit, tolerance and withdrawal. Addiction can be effectively prevented, treated and managed by healthcare professionals in combination with family or peer support.
--The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
--National Institute of Mental Health
Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other.
-- The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities.
Mental illness is common. In a given year:
nearly one in five (19 percent) U.S. adults experience some form of mental illness
one in 24 (4.1 percent) has a serious mental illness
one in 12 (8.5 percent) has a substance use disorder
--American Psychiatric Association