Scientific studies about mental health are widely considered to be the ultimate sourcefor objective information about psychiatric disorders. However, most people do not or cannotaccess these studies themselves. They instead rely on information from doctors, organizations,peers, the media, and so on. Unfortunately, this second-hand information is oftenoversimplified (i.e
Mental illness is a chemical imbalance in the
, spoken with too muchcertainty (i.e
Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disease that is lifelong and incurable
, orskewed and manipulated to justify an opinion (i.e
People with Bipolar Disorder must takemedication to live well
. As a result, popular myths now overshadow much of the dataavailable from science.The following list is a collection of facts from peer-reviewed scientific journals andseveral research-based books. Each source is hyperlinked in References, meaning the readercan literally click on the name of the study to access it from the Internet. Given the heatedatmosphere of opinions about psychiatric disorders, the hyperlinks were included to make thisdocument user-friendly so that readers can research the facts themselves.
A chemical imbalance for mental illness has never been found
in anyone’s brain.
There isno way to measure the level of neurotransmitters in synapses between brain cells, so thereis no measurement of a healthy chemical balance that would allow for comparisons of
too few chemicals
to be made.
That is why our brains are notscanned for chemical imbalances when we are diagnosed. Even if chemical imbalances areone day found, it does not mean that they
psychiatric disorders. Indeed, since thebrain changes in response to both internal stimuli (thoughts, imagination, feelings, etc.) andexternal stimuli (sunlight, trauma, playing the piano, etc.),
a chemical imbalance could justas likely be a biological reflection of environmental, emotional, psychological, and spiritualstress as a primary cause of it. Finally, the idea that specific genes cause mental illness isinaccurate, leading one prominent genetic researcher to state in the American Journal of Psychiatry:
The impact of individual genes on risk for psychiatric illness is small, often
nonspecific, and embedded in complex causal pathways…
Although we may wish it to be
true, we do not have and are not likely to ever discover ‘genes for’ psychiatric illness.”
Long-term studies from around the world demonstrate that the majority of peoplediagnosed with major mental illness
significantly improve orcompletely recover over time.
Adverse childhood events can lead to mental health problems in adulthood
includingpsychosis, bipolar affective symptoms, depression, borderline traits, and so on