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Mental Illness Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Most of us deal with occasional mental exhaustion through activities we love and use breathing techniques throughout the day, but for those with a mental illness, things are a lot more challenging. And these conditions are more common than you think. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly one in five Americans has a mental illness, which is about 43.8 million people. While there are excellent treatments available for those who have a condition affecting their mental health, it’s still widely misunderstood by the general public.

Here are 10 mental illness myths you need to stop believing immediately.

1. Mentally ill people are usually violent

businessman shouting on the phone with gestures in the car

businessman shouting on the phone with gestures in the car Mental illness and violence do not go hand-in-hand. | iStock.com/Tomwang112

Those who have a mental illness may experience a host of uncomfortable symptoms, but the notion they’re more violent than anyone else is unproven. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 2006 national survey found 60% of Americans thought those with schizophrenia were likely to act violent, and 32% thought those with depression also had violent tendencies. Research shows most people who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder are not violent, though, and those who have reacted in violent ways before may have done so for a number of reasons unrelated to their mental illness.

While findings have varied from study to study, the researchers featured in this story lean toward the conclusion that individuals who have a mental illness and have also been violent are likely influenced by other factors. Family history, substance abuse, and socioeconomic status all play a role just as much as the illness.

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