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What is the Most Common Misconception Surrounding Mental Illness?

What is the Most Common Misconception Surrounding Mental Illness?

Compared to the way in which people viewed mental illness decades ago, we have progressed and grown far more informed in our views since then. Our treatments have improved and people struggling with mental illness are more often looked upon with compassion. However, many people still have a long way to go when it comes to fixing their misconceptions about mental illness. The stigma that still surrounds different types of mental illness can even prevent people from getting help for themselves. 

If you’re asking yourself, “What is the most common misconception surrounding mental illness?” you aren’t the first one to do so. That’s why we’re reviewing some of the most common misconceptions about mental illness people still hold today. By learning and understanding these misconceptions, we can actively work to combat them. 

Top 6 Biggest Misconceptions People Still Have About Mental Illness

What is the most common misconception about mental illness? Let’s find out together

two people
Mental health disorders like depression and bipolar disorder are still misunderstood by some people. 

1. People Struggling with Mental Illness are More Likely to Act Violent

There is a dangerous misconception that people with a mental health disorder, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, are more likely to act violently. This myth can partially be contributed to mainstream media outlets that label violent offenders as “mentally disturbed.” But the reality is that hate isn’t a “mental illness.” In fact, people with mental health disorders are more likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators. 

2. PTSD Only Affects Ex-Soldiers

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is typically associated with military veterans returning from combat. However, anyone can struggle with PTSD. Victims of assault, survivors of a natural disaster, and witnesses of violent acts can develop PTSD. Symptoms of this mental health disorder include:

  • Flashbacks that make you feel as if you are reliving the event
  • Intrusive memories of the event
  • Nightmares about the event
  • Severe anxiety or emotional distress when faced with something that reminds you of the event

If you are experiencing these symptoms after witnessing or going through a traumatic event, you might have PTSD. 

3. You Don’t Need Medication to Treat Your Mental Illness

Some people view medication as a “happy pill” that acts as an easy out for your problems. But this isn’t true. For many patients, medication plays a crucial role in their treatment. 

In some cases, patients can benefit from treatment plans without medication. But treating mental illness does not involve a one-size-fits-all treatment. Plans must be made on a case-by-case basis. For instance, many patients with ADHD or anxiety rely on their medication to help ease their symptoms. 

Patients with depression can also benefit from going on medication. However, they might need to attend counseling sessions in addition to taking medication on a regular basis. If they have treatment-resistant depression, they might need to try TMS therapy

4. Mental Health Issues Are Rare

Mental health issues are actually quite common. In fact, almost one in five U.S. adults live with a mental health disorder. If you are struggling with a mental health issue yourself, know that there is help out there. Along with medication and psychological counseling, you can also enroll in a group therapy program. You don’t have to struggle with this mental health problem alone.   

5. People with a Mental Illness Have Trouble Keeping a Job

Some people believe that employees with mental illness can’t handle juggling a career along with their health issues. But this simply isn’t true. Workers with a mental illness are no different than your average employee. In fact, people with a mental health disorder greatly benefit from holding a job. For many people, having a job gives them structure and a sense of purpose. 

6. Mental Illness is a Sign of Weakness

One of the most common misconceptions surrounding mental illness is that having a mental health disorder is a sign of weakness. Many people think that having a mental illness is indicative of a personal failing rather than a legitimate illness that must be treated. But like any other illness, mental health issues must be addressed and treated by a medical professional. 



Getting rid of common misconceptions about mental illness is crucial for helping the country advance and move forward in its mental health programs and treatment options. You might have held some misconceptions about mental health disorders yourself. But understanding these misconceptions and the harm they could cause can help you prevent this misinformation from spreading. 


Living with a mental health disorder can be difficult. But it isn’t impossible. There are numerous treatment options out there you can try to help you manage your illness. The mental health experts at the Psych Associates of Maryland are also here to help you through them. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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