The Biggest Myths About Living with Mental Illness

One in five.

That’s how many adults in the United States experience mental illness every year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). That’s 46.6 million people.

And though the importance of mental health isn’t ignored as it once was, much of what we talk about is still based on inaccurate assumptions reinforced by a world that still doesn’t treat mental conditions the same as physical ones.

These pervasive myths can do real harm, too: The stigmas they perpetuate make it even more difficult for people who are struggling to get the help they need.  In fact, fewer than half of adults with a mental health condition receive treatment, according to Mental Health America.  And that lack of support can have a ripple effect across all aspects of patients’ lives, leading to issues like discrimination, harassment, fewer work opportunities, and difficulties with housing, and health insurance coverage, according to the Mayo Clinic. What’s more living with an untreated mental health condition even increases the risk for other chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. At its worst, untreated mental illness steals lives.

For all these reasons and more, HealthCentral is shining a bright light the truth. We’ve designated the second week of May Mental Health Myth Week to help shatter misconceptions and tackle some of your most pressing mental health questions about five of the most common conditions: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and schizophrenia.

So follow along with us all week—we’re here to help!

Anxiety myths infographic

Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder, affecting 21% of American adults each year, according to Mental Health America. What you need to know to find relief.

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Depression myths infographic

Everyone gets the blues sometimes but feeling sad and experiencing clinical depression are far from the same thing. Discover the truth about one of the most common causes of disability in the world.

10 Top Myths About Depression

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder myths infographic

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is much more complicated than simply being uber-organized. Get the facts about this frequently misunderstood condition.

10 Top Myths About OCD

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Schizophrenia myths infographic

Delusions, social withdrawal, disorganized speech—these are just a few of the debilitating symptoms that people with schizophrenia experience. Dive into these resources to gain a better understanding of this condition.

10 Top Myths About Schizophrenia

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): How It Saved My Life But Destroyed My Memory

5 Strategies for Dealing with Paranoia

Monsters, Voices, and Hallucinations: My Life With Schizophrenia

Bipolar myths infographic

It used to be called “manic depression,” but now we know it as bipolar disorder, a mental health condition characterized by abnormal shifts in mood.

10 Top Myths About Bipolar Disorder

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