Mental Illness Myths Quiz

By: Staff
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About This Quiz

How much of what you know about mental health is fact and how much is fiction? Unravel the yarns of mental illness with our mental illness myths quiz.

True or false: Depression is a bad mood or a state of mind, not a medical illness.

False. Everyone feels blue from time to time, but when feelings of sadness, hopelessness and even thoughts of death cloud your daily life, it's not the blues -- it's clinical depression. An estimated 14.8 million Americans ages 18 and older have major depression, a mood disorder that, when left untreated, can be chronic, recurrent and disabling.

Mental illness is not as rare as you may think. The number of American adults who will have a psychiatric disorder during their lifetime is:

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 26.2 percent of American adults will have a psychiatric disorder that is severe enough to be diagnosed. In addition, 45 percent of people diagnosed with mental illness have symptoms of two or more psychiatric disorders.

Mental illnesses, just like physical illnesses such as diabetes, can be mild, moderate or severe. What percentage of Americans experience mental illness so severe it is chronic and debilitating?

While an estimated 1 in 4 American adults has a form of mental illness during their lives, about 1 in 17, or 6 percent, of Americans develop severe mental illness. A study conducted by the World Health Organization, the World Bank and Harvard University found that the impact of mental illness on countries such as the United States is worse than the burden of cancer.

Name the age group most likely to die from suicide:

While suicide was ranked the third-leading cause of death of adolescents and adults ages 15 to 24 in 2006, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, 14.2 percent of adults 65 or older died by suicide that year. Compared that to the percentages for other age groups: 1.3 per 100,000 children; 8.2 per 100,000 teens; 12.5 adults ages 20 to 24; and the national average of 10.9 per 100,000. This places adults ages 65 and older as the group most likely to die from suicide.

Which of the following is NOT currently considered a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association?

While about 11 million Americans have an eating disorder (such as anorexia or bulimia), many more have a binge eating disorder. An estimated 25 million Americans are affected by this eating disorder, an illness that is characterized by the consumption of a profuse amount of food along with feelings of guilt and loss of control.

True or false: Bad parenting causes mental issues.

Many factors play into how and when a person may develop a mental illness, such as genetic predisposition, brain chemistry, chronic stress (such as physical abuse), infection and environmental contributors (including major life changes such as divorce). Bad parenting is not one of them.

People with mental illness often also have:

Mental illness may run in families. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a good example of this -- if you have OCD, there's a 25 percent chance someone in your immediate family does, too.

True or false: Only women have eating disorders.

While women are more likely than men to develop an eating disorder, men also experience 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.

Drug therapy, behavior therapy and psychotherapy are often used to treat mental illness. Which of the below treatments is NOT used as a complementary therapy?

While radiation therapy may be successful in treating many forms of cancers, it's not considered a treatment for mental illness. Lifestyle changes such as exercise, good nutrition and techniques to improve the structure of daily life may be helpful in reducing symptoms of psychiatric disorders. The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research conducted at the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University funded a study that looked at how exercise, for example, affected the health of people diagnosed with severe mental illness. The results? Not only did participants improve their physical health but also improved their mood, self-esteem and alleviated symptoms of depression.

True or false: Children don't get depressed; it's just a part of growing up.

Children are at risk for developing mental illnesses that we commonly associate with adults. Between 5 and 9 percent of kids develop severe psychiatric disorders, according to a report released by the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health.

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