There Are Still Many Myths Surrounding Mental Illness That Need Debunking According to Prakash Masand, MD, Founder of Global Medical Education

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With an estimated one in four adults or 26.2% of the population suffering from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, it’s time to erase the societal stigmas that have been placed on mental illness. As part of Mental Illness Week, Dr. Prakash Masand, a psychiatrist who is a former consulting professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University and the founder and CEO of Global Medical Education, says the only way to erase these societal stigmas is to understand what’s a myth and what’s the truth.

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Global Medical Education is is a free online medical education resource that provides timely, unbiased, evidence-based medical education and online medical information from the world’s leading experts

"With an estimated one in four adults or 26.2% of the population suffering from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, it’s time to erase the societal stigmas that have been placed on mental illness." - Prakash Masand, MD

Prakash Masand, MD, founder and CEO of Global Medical Education, offers some of the most common myths and presents the real facts behind them.

Myth
Once you have depression or bipolar disorder you will never achieve your full potential.
Fact
Some of the most successful people in the world have had depression or bipolar disorder, including Isaac Newton, Winston Churchill, Beethoven, Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey.

Myth
Suicide is not a problem in the U.S.
Fact
Suicide is a major preventable public health problem. In 2007, it was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. (1)

Myth
Treatment for psychiatric illness is a cop-out for weak people.
Fact
Treatment is necessary for psychiatric illnesses like it is for other medical illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. (2)

Myth
All patients with schizophrenia are dangerous.
Fact
Only a small proportion of patients with schizophrenia can be violent, usually when they remain untreated. (2)

Myth
Talk therapy is just whining about your problems.
Fact
Several types of talk therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, are as effective as medications in treating depression and anxiety disorders. (2)

Myth
ADHD is a new way to explain bad behavior.
Fact
ADHD is a psychiatric illness with a well described constellation of symptoms and proven treatments. (3)

About Global Medical Education
Global Medical Education is a free online medical education resource that provides timely, unbiased, evidence-based medical education and online medical information from the world's leading experts to health care professionals around the world.

References:
1. Weissman MM et al. Prevalence of suicide ideation and suicide attempts in nine countries. Psychological Medicine, 1999, 29, 9–17 http://www.qucosa.de/fileadmin/data/qucosa/documents/10328/367.pdf
2. The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry, 5th Edition Edited by Robert E. Hales, MD, MBA; Stuart C. Y
3. WebMD website: http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-adults

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Angela Masand
@GlobalMedEd
since: 07/2011
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