6 Myths About Mental Disorder That Many Still Believe

Popular films and books sometimes interfere with forgetting about stereotypes. But fiction is often far from reality.

1. People with mental disorders are aggressive and violent

If a psychiatrist sees you, it means that you are necessarily a bloodthirsty maniac who strangles kittens, sacrifices children, rapes women, etc. It is enough to watch a movie; on the screen, a person with a mental disorder often turns into an antihero, capable of torturing and killing.

To think so is not just a delusion. Still, a dangerous mistake that stigmatizes people with mental disorders turns society against them, leads to bullying and discrimination, and makes them feel even worse.

Read also: How to Stop Hating Your Body

In fact, there is no clear correlation between mental disorders and cruelty. Aggression does occur among the symptoms of certain diseases, such as dissocial disorder personality. But overall, people with mental disorders do not commit more crimes than everyone else if alcohol and drugs are not involved in the story.

And in general, the crime rate is associated not with people’s mental well-being but with socio-economic factors. Moreover, people with mental disorders are more likely to become victims, not criminals.

2. People with mental disorders are very talented

If they are not maniacs, then they must be geniuses. Like Raymond from Rain Man, who has a phenomenal memory and performs the most complex arithmetic operations in his mind. Or brilliant detective; agent Will Graham from “Hannibal” (he is credited with Asperger’s syndrome), detective Monk from the series of the same name (he has obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias) and even Sherlock Holmes (he was not given any diagnoses, although in the original story there was nothing not mentioned).

Research does not support this theory. For example, when talking about autism spectrum disorders, only 10% of people with autism can be called intellectually gifted.

As for other disorders, then everything is ambiguous with them. Obviously, there is some connection between mental characteristics and developed intelligence or creativity, but it is not clear or even direct.

3. People with mental disorders are stupid

They have deficient intelligence; they cannot analyze and memorize information in the same way as other people; they cannot study in schools and universities.

This antipode of the myth of genius is also not confirmed in practice. Experts say that a decrease in intelligence accompanies some mental disorders, but it is completely intact in most patients and corresponds to normal indicators.

6 Myths About Mental Disorder That Many Still Believe
Image source: Reproduction/Internet

4. People with dissociative personality disorder have many personalities that change at the click of a button.

The novel “The Mysterious Story of Billy Milligan” and the thriller “Split” based on it, as well as the film “Sibylla” and other stories, in which the heroes famously switch from one identity to another, are partly to blame for this performance. True, even fictional characters do this not entirely at will, but these are already details.

Psychiatrists emphasize that, in reality, everything is different. There are not necessarily many personalities, and a person passes from one to another spontaneously, against his will, often in a state of stress.

5. All people with mental disorders are treated with electric shock, turning into “vegetables.”

Everyone remembers scenes from films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; the hero was tied up, laid on the table, covered with electrodes, and given a discharge. The hero screams and wriggles in pain and then sits in the ward with a glassy, ​​meaningless look.

Indeed, electroshock therapy was used in the past in punitive psychiatry in precisely this inhuman form. But all these nightmarish pictures are very far from what the method is now.

Read also: How to Become a Productivity Monster Using the 90/30 Rule

6. Mental disorders are forever

If you believe this tenacious stereotype, mental disorder cannot be cured. This sentence condemns a person to imprisonment in the walls of psychiatric clinic walls taking pills and eternal suffering. This is often a disorder that is generally surrounded by a huge number of myths and misconceptions.

But in reality, this is not at all the case. Although some mental disorders are difficult and require long-term treatment, most patients can still achieve full recovery or go into long-term remission and achieve relief from symptoms. For example, 25% of people with schizophrenia recover completely, and another 50% are making significant progress along this path.

Adapted and translated by Wiki Avenue Staff

Sources: Life hacker