results from negative thinking and is therefore more prevalent
among individuals who “see the cup as half empty.”
Major depression seems to run in families, but it can also develop
in people who have no family history of depression. Either way
major depressive disorder is often associated with changes in
brain structures or brain function. Other factors, such as chronic
stress, illness, certain medications, certain physical disorders
such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, or hormone fluctuations are
[Holmes, Leonard. (2010)
“Causes of Depression.” About.com]
health disorders are relatively uncommon.
About one in four adults in the United States suffers from a mental
disorder in a given year, with about 6 percent suffering from
a serious mental illness. Mental illness and drug addiction are
the top ranking causes of disability in North America and Western
Europe. Half of the leading causes of disability worldwide are
[Kessler RC, Berglund PA, Demler O, Jin R, Walters
EE. Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV
disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R).
Archives of General Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;62(6):593-602.]
with mental illness are violent.
Statistics show that the incidence of violence among people who
have a brain disorder is not much higher than it is in the general
population. In fact, rather than perpetrators of violence, individuals
with a mental illness are 2.5 times more likely to be victims
[Hiday, V.A., Swartz, M.,
Swanson, J. et al. (1999). Criminal victimization of persons with
severe mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 50(1), 62-68.]
disabilities develop as a result of bad childhood experiences
and poor parenting.
Most experts agree that a genetic susceptibility combined with
other risk factors, leads to a psychiatric disorder. Many factors
play into how and when a person may develop a mental illness,
such as genetic predisposition, chronic stress (such as abuse),
infection and environmental contributors (including major life
changes such as divorce). Bad parenting is not in and of itself
a direct cause of mental illness.
[National Alliance for Research
on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD)]
refers to a split personality - two different personalities in
Schizophrenia is often confused with multiple personality disorder.
Actually, schizophrenia is a brain disorder that interferes with
the ability to think clearly and logically. The estimated 2.5
million Americans with schizophrenia have symptoms ranging from
social withdrawal to hallucinations and delusions. Along with
medication, psychosocial rehabilitation and other community-based
support can help those with schizophrenia go on to lead meaningful
and satisfying lives.
[“What is Schizophrenia.”
aging process leads to an increased incidence of depression.
Depression is not normal for older adults. However, depression
in the elderly is often undiagnosed. Signs of depression in older
people include loss of interest in activities, lethargy, and sleep
[“Older Adults: Depression
and Suicide (Fact Sheet).” www.NIMH.nih.gov]
with mental illness cannot tolerate the stress of holding down
All jobs are stressful to some extent. Anybody is more productive
when there's a good match between the employee's needs and the
working conditions, whether or not the worker has a mental health
with mental health needs, even those who have recovered, tend
to be second-rate workers.
Employers who have hired people with mental illnesses report good
attendance and punctuality as well as motivation, good work, and
job tenure on par with or greater than other employees. Studies
by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National
Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) show that there are no differences
in productivity when people with mental illnesses are compared
to other employees.
[Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General,
illness only occurs if you have a family history.
Although the exact cause of most mental illnesses is not known,
it is becoming clear through research that many of these conditions
are caused by a combination of genetic, biological, psychological
and environmental factors.
[“Mental Illness Basics.” http://healthboards.webmd.com/content/article/60/67163.htm]
causes mental illness.
This is both true and false. Stress may trigger an episode or
cause symptoms such as anxiety or depression, but persistent symptoms
appear to be biological in nature. It is likely that many factors
contribute to mental illness - the causes are not yet fully understood.
people with a mental illness require supervision or hospitalization.
Over 2/3 of people who have a mental health diagnosis live in
the community and lead productive lives. Often, hospitalizations
are brief and the person is able to return home, just like people
hospitalized for other conditions.
health disorders are lifelong and difficult to treat.
Studies show that most people with mental illnesses get better,
and many recover completely. Recovery refers to the process in
which people are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully
in their communities. For some individuals, recovery is the ability
to live a fulfilling and productive life. For others, recovery
implies the reduction or complete remission of symptoms.
results from a personality weakness or character flaw, and people
who are depressed could just snap out of it if they tried hard
Depression has nothing to do with being lazy or weak. It results
from changes in brain chemistry or brain function, and medication
and/or psychotherapy often help people to recover. A serious mental
illness cannot be willed away. Ignoring the problem does not make
it go away either.
problems that children and adolescents have are just a part of
Children and adolescents can develop severe mental illnesses that
we commonly associate with adults. Between five and nine percent
of youngsters develop severe psychiatric disorders, according
to a report released by the President's New Freedom Commission
on Mental Health. However, only about 20 percent of these children
receive needed treatment. Left untreated, these problems can get
women suffer from eating disorders.
While women are more likely than men to develop an eating disorder,
men also suffer from the debilitating disease. It's estimated
that about 10 million American women are living with an eating
disorder compared to roughly 1 million men. Men are also more
likely to develop a binge-eating disorder than a restrictive type
such as anorexia.
who talk about suicide won’t actually do it.
Almost everyone who completes suicide has given some clue or warning.
Threats or statements like, “you’ll be sorry when
I’m dead,” or “I can’t see any way out”
must be taken seriously no matter how casually or jokingly said.
These statements often indicate serious suicidal feelings.
misbehave or fail in school just to get attention.
Behavior problems can be symptoms of emotional, behavioral, or
mental problems, rather than merely attention-seeking devices.
These children can succeed in school with appropriate understanding,
attention, and mental health services.
Abstinence from tobacco
can cause recurrence of psychiatric disorders.
Persons with mental illness and substance use disorders can successfully
quit using tobacco.
Studies have found that for depressed smokers who quit, there
is no increase in suicidality, hospitalization, use of marijuana,
stimulants, or opiates.
[Prochaska et al., Treating Tobacco Dependence
in Clinically Depressed Smokers: Effect of Smoking Cessation on
Mental Health Functioning, 2008]
with schizophrenia who quit, studies have shown no worsening of
attention, verbal learning/memory, working memory, or executive
function/inhibition, or clinical symptoms of schizophrenia.
[Evins, et al. (2001). A pilot trial of bupropion
added to cognitive behavioral therapy for smoking cessation in
schizophrenia. Nicotine Tobacco Research, 3(4): 397- 403]
you eat right, exercise, avoid caffeine, and live a healthy lifestyle,
your anxiety will go away.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America,
while some of your anxiety might go away, your disorder won’t
be cured. Anxiety disorders are certainly sensitive to stress,
but stress does not cause them. Anxiety disorders develop from
a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry,
personality, and life events.
[Anxiety and Depression Association of America]
mental illness does not affect a person's life span.
Sufferers of mild mental illnesses have an increased risk of dying
earlier, according to research published in the British Medical
Journal. The research suggested low level distress raised the
risk by 16%, once lifestyle factors such as drinking and smoking
were taken into account. More serious mental health problems such
as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia increased it by 67%, the
University College London and Edinburgh University team said.
[Russ, TC et al., Association between psychological
distress and mortality: individual participant pooled analysis
of 10 prospective cohort studies. BMJ. Published online 31 July
with psychiatric disabilities can legally have their right to
vote taken away because of their diagnosis.
Voting is a right of all Americans. People with disabilities can
experience physical, attitudinal, and policy barriers to exercising
this right and participating in the elective process. Different
disabilities present different voting access needs. As long as
an individual with a disability understands what it means to vote
and meets all of the other criteria needed to vote in an election,
they cannot be denied participation.
[Northeast ADA Center, Cornell University]
peak during the holidays.
Most people think the winter holidays are a risky time, but studies
have shown that suicides are lowest in December and peak in the
spring. It's not clear why, but it could be due to changing levels
of natural light or possibly because people have more energy to
[Bridges, F.S.; Yip, P.S.F.; Yang, K.C.T. (2005).
Seasonal changes in suicide in the United States, 1971 to 2000.
Perceptual and Motor Skills, 100, 920–924]
always involves physical aggression.
Bullying isn't limited to pushes and punches at school. Psychological
bullying at school and work has harmful emotional effects. Bullying
has lasting, debilitating effects on mental health and self-image,
as evidenced by a surge in eating disorders, body dysmorphia,
and suicides. Examples of psychological bullying and social manipulation
include: ostracizing or ignoring peers, not inviting them to join
groups or activities, spreading lies or rumors, name calling,
and teasing hurtfully. Psychological bullying can happen in the
classroom or schoolyard – and it can also happen at home
[Goldstein, S., et al., Relational Aggression
at School: Association With School Safety and Social Climate,
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Volume:37 Issue:6 Dated:July
2008, Pages:641 to 654]