15 Common Misconceptions About Mental Health Problems

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There is a lot of misinformation about mental illnesses. Misinformation can cause chaos in the fabric of society. It is difficult for people to talk about mental health problems. A common misconception is usually an idea or fact that is assumed true but is actually false.

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Mental Health Problems Are Not Real Conditions

A poll on Americans’ Perception of Mental Health found that 1 in 4 respondents believe that mental illness is not real. In developed countries, 45–51 percent of people believe that mental illness is the same as physical illness. It can be caused by genetics, brain disorders, drug addiction, or a reaction to injury or damage.

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Mental Health Disorders Do Not Respond To Treatment

The idea of a lifelong mental illness is a common mental health myth. Some people can suffer from mental illness for life but that is not the norm. Treatment can help you to live longer without symptoms.

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People With Mental Illness Are More Violent

Mental illness leads to a common misunderstanding of violence. Problems like schizophrenia are often associated with violence. However, people with severe mental health issues are responsible for only a small percentage (4.3%) of violence in communities. In fact, those with schizophrenia are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than to commit them, being 14 times more at risk.

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Self-Harm Is Attention Seeking

Self-harm is not usually about seeking attention. People who self-harm often feel ashamed of their injuries and scars and try hard to hide them. They might make up reasons for their wounds or cover their scars with clothes.

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Dyslexia is not defined or diagnosed as spelling or reading letters or words backward in a mirror. Writing in the mirror and reading letters or words upside down is a behavior that many children (with or without dyslexia) exhibit when learning to read and write.

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Imbalance Causes Mental Disorder

There is no proof that depression and other mental issues are solely caused by a chemical imbalance or a lack of neurotransmitters. Instead, these conditions are usually the result of a mix of biological, psychological, and social factors.

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Treatment Is Not As Frightening As Some Think

Media portrayals and old methods have led to misunderstandings about mental illness treatment, making people hesitant to seek help. Shock therapy, straitjackets, padded rooms, lobotomies, and excessive medication are outdated. Today, treatment involves therapy, like psychotherapy and medication, if needed, which can be adjusted to prevent negative side effects.

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Vaccines Cause Autism

Vaccines do not cause autism. There has been no proof to support the false claims made by former British doctor Andrew Wakefield, from where this perception probably started. His research was found to be fake or manipulated.

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Children Do Not Have Mental Health Illnesses

Studies show that approximately 17 million children in the United States suffer from mental illness. One-fifth of American children suffer from mental health problems each year. However, it can be difficult to recognize in children, whose problems often differ from adults’ choices.

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All People With Mental Illnesses Are Crazy

Terms like “crazy” and “insane” are offensive words that support cultural stereotypes about mental illness. Mental disorders are illnesses that affect a person’s thinking, feelings, and/or behavior but do not mean the person is mad. These words are commonly linked with symptoms like seeing or hearing things that are not real and having false beliefs. However, these symptoms usually occur only in certain mental health conditions.

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People With Mental Illness Are Inadequate

It is a misconception to think that people with mental illness are inadequate. Mental illness does not determine someone’s capabilities or value. Each person has their own strengths and can make important contributions in society.

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People With Schizophrenia Have A Split Personality

It is a myth. Schizophrenia means “divided mind,” which explains the delusions. The World Health Organization defines mental illness as “problems with cognition, vision, emotion, language, self-image, and behavior.” Schizophrenia is not a dissociative personality disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder.

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Mental Illnesses Are Very Rare

Mental illness is more common than some believe. While severe conditions like schizophrenia affect less than 1% of the U.S. population, other mental health issues are more frequent. For instance, anxiety is a big issue in America, with 18.1% of adults facing an anxiety disorder each year.

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Mental Illness Is A Symptom Of Weakness

People often assume that people who suffer from depression, anxiety, or some other illness are mentally weak. Mental strength is not synonymous with mental health. Just as arthritic patients can be physically strong, depressed patients can be mentally strong. They just need the help of their family or friends.

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All Mental Health Problems Are Genetic

Mental health is a large and complex field that is difficult to understand, even for the best researchers. Some people have no family history of mental health issues but are still diagnosed. While some mental health problems can run in families, it is incorrect to assume that all mental health problems are genetic.


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