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Thread: Is extreme daydreaming considered a mental illness somehow?

  1. #1 Is extreme daydreaming considered a mental illness somehow? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    A problem ive been having since i was a child is daydreaming, with a vivid imagination and lots of time i constantly run "simulations" in my head of how my life would be if i was a different kind of person or had certain skills /assets or material values and the list goes on. The thing is that if im thinking "hey i want to be a teacher" i use hours thinking about my life from the current time to the end of my life if that was the choise i made.

    Daydreaming to the extreme point ive taken it has resulted in:

    1: indecisiveness, what option is the right one?

    2: Overthinking, inability to be spontanous and impulsive cause every action must be thought of to a large degree.

    3: The most serious one, a COMPLETE lack of will to achieve anything. I know if i wanted to become a teacher id make it, hell - ive lived that life allready in my head! Same with other jobs or goals or whatever. I see a lifestyle and simulate it in my head for hours of hours and when done i go ... "meh... been there done that" (Without having really experienced it in person) So the wish to become something is achieved in my head and spending my life taking a path i allready have imagined seems like a waste.

    Is daydreaming like this considered a disorder of some way? I think i allready suffer from megalomania cause many hours go into dreams of me being the ruler of the earth or many other great positions of importance and power... and the worst part is that i ACTUALLY believe that IF i wanted to reach these goals i could, but since ive alltready "Done them" they bore me. I also suspect this is the source of my anhedonic nature where nothing gives me pleasure, because i have mentally "experienced" all possible scenarios of lifelong pleasures and the like.


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  3. #2  
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    I think you're afflicted with presumption.


    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  4. #3 Re: Is extreme daydreaming considered a mental illness someh 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    A problem ive been having since i was a child is daydreaming, with a vivid imagination and lots of time i constantly run "simulations" in my head of how my life would be if i was a different kind of person or had certain skills /assets or material values and the list goes on. The thing is that if im thinking "hey i want to be a teacher" i use hours thinking about my life from the current time to the end of my life if that was the choise i made.

    Daydreaming to the extreme point ive taken it has resulted in:

    1: indecisiveness, what option is the right one?

    2: Overthinking, inability to be spontanous and impulsive cause every action must be thought of to a large degree.

    3: The most serious one, a COMPLETE lack of will to achieve anything. I know if i wanted to become a teacher id make it, hell - ive lived that life allready in my head! Same with other jobs or goals or whatever. I see a lifestyle and simulate it in my head for hours of hours and when done i go ... "meh... been there done that" (Without having really experienced it in person) So the wish to become something is achieved in my head and spending my life taking a path i allready have imagined seems like a waste.

    Is daydreaming like this considered a disorder of some way? I think i allready suffer from megalomania cause many hours go into dreams of me being the ruler of the earth or many other great positions of importance and power... and the worst part is that i ACTUALLY believe that IF i wanted to reach these goals i could, but since ive alltready "Done them" they bore me. I also suspect this is the source of my anhedonic nature where nothing gives me pleasure, because i have mentally "experienced" all possible scenarios of lifelong pleasures and the like.
    You have described what some mental health professionals call Walter Mitty Syndrome ...
    Nature abhors perfection; cats abhor a vacuum.

    "I don't know; I'm making it up as I go ..." Dr H Jones (Jr).
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  5. #4 Re: Is extreme daydreaming considered a mental illness someh 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cran
    You have described what some mental health professionals call Walter Mitty Syndrome ...
    Thanks, just read about it now. Im kinda curious if this would automatically include megalomania... then again self diagnosis isnt very objective maybe i should just see a psychologist :P
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  6. #5 Re: Is extreme daydreaming considered a mental illness someh 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Quote Originally Posted by Cran
    You have described what some mental health professionals call Walter Mitty Syndrome ...
    Thanks, just read about it now. Im kinda curious if this would automatically include megalomania... then again self diagnosis isnt very objective maybe i should just see a psychologist :P
    the fantasy megalomania aspect is a part of the described syndrome, yes - fantasies/daydreams based around self as hero/leader/winner/star ...

    a certain amount of this is normal, even desirable, in achieving success - then it's called something like positive visualisation (seeing your goal and how to reach it), and it's encouraged and taught in many areas of life -

    it becomes an issue when the daydreams adversely affect your real life - very much as you've described (net result=no personal gain, time lost) - learning to control the level and focus of that energy (it is energetic thinking - you feel tired, drained, after an episode, don't you?) is the key ...

    perhaps you should first discuss the whole thing with your GP (doctor)?
    often these things go better with a formal referral from your doctor ...

    if you're not comfortable with that, there should be a mental health helpline (phone number) contact in your area ...
    Nature abhors perfection; cats abhor a vacuum.

    "I don't know; I'm making it up as I go ..." Dr H Jones (Jr).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I think you're afflicted with presumption.
    I allready knew i was.

    The question is then...

    A: Am i a reflective person that is presumtive?

    or

    B: Just EXTREMELY presumtive? :wink:

    One last thing i was wondering about Cran if you would know and care to inform me is the following. I read the brain uses roughly 20-30% of the calorie intake the body takes in, but that this could be increased by ALOT for a person with a very active mind.

    You wrote:

    (it is energetic thinking - you feel tired, drained, after an episode, don't you?)
    And this is very true, in fact ive been wondeing if im suffering from some kind of exhaustion illness because even though i eat and drink alot i get extremely fast tired both mentally and physically (Im not obese either)

    Can constant daydreaming and simulation of imaginative events actually cause this tiredness?
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  8. #7  
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    Yes, fatigue can be caused by cognition. This becomes obvious when you consider how you feel after taking hours long tests like the SAT, GRE, or MCAT.

    However, based on my quick reading of the posts above, much more likely is that you have issues with your diet, are not exercising enough, or are not sleeping very well. While you'll still use energy and become fatigued to some extent from long jaunts of thinking and day dreaming, there is no reason your mind won't improve overall endurance and shorten recovery times if you eat a proper diet and get exercise and sleep.

    Ultimately, it gets easier the more you do it, too. So keep at it, and have fun.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I think you're afflicted with presumption.
    I allready knew i was.

    The question is then...
    Why not jump to the solution? You have to train yourself to appreciate how little you really know. Another way of looking at it: how much wonderful hidden nuance and complexity is in things we take for granted or dismiss. Then, your need to solve problems may drill into real-world problems rather than imaginary ones. Real-world's harder, but more rewarding, no?

    What works for me, is trying "silly, pointless" things that seem like such a waste of my colossal brain: do you presume digging a pit with a shovel is simple? Then dig a pit 4m deep. I promise unforeseen things will happen. Or just try sewing a zipper onto a pillowcase, or catching a fish. That sort of thing.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    ...
    One last thing i was wondering about Cran if you would know and care to inform me is the following. I read the brain uses roughly 20-30% of the calorie intake the body takes in, but that this could be increased by ALOT for a person with a very active mind...
    as far as I've read, the consensus is ~20% of total caloric consumption/energy production ...

    studies have shown increases in cortical activity (and glucose metabolic rates) associated with elevated cognitive activity (problem-solving, etc), but I've not encountered any numerical data - "a lot" risks overstating the situation and, according to Larson et al*, may vary according to IQ ...

    *in contrast to other studies which used the same problem sets, and showed that subjects with higher IQs expended less energy, a study which used difficulty-leveled problem sets showed that subjects in the higher IQ group used more energy to solve the more difficult problems in their set.
    [Larson G. E., Haier R. J., LaCasse L. & Hazen K. (1995). Evaluation of a "mental effort" hypothesis for correlations between cortical metabolism and intelligence.]


    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    You wrote:

    (it is energetic thinking - you feel tired, drained, after an episode, don't you?)
    And this is very true, in fact ive been wondeing if im suffering from some kind of exhaustion illness because even though i eat and drink alot i get extremely fast tired both mentally and physically (Im not obese either)

    Can constant daydreaming and simulation of imaginative events actually cause this tiredness?
    avoiding any presumptions about nutrition, lifestyle, potential sleep disorders, or even self-administered chemical interactions,
    my answer is a qualified* yes ...

    *qualified, because there is a perceived distinction made by researchers between daydreaming (usually described as involuntary and effort avoidance) and creative imagination ...
    Nature abhors perfection; cats abhor a vacuum.

    "I don't know; I'm making it up as I go ..." Dr H Jones (Jr).
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  11. #10  
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    That is wise advice pong Even the smallest imaginary problem can be a large hinderance for people in reality, fighting tonns of small problems in reality like that could definatly stimulate and help one overcome larger and larger real problems in life and lead to imaginative and productive thinking applied to real life.

    And thanks for the reply again cran, im guessing you are skinny person aswell considering your mental prowess? Kinda feel i should pay you lol.

    Guess ill just have to try harder to do real things and dream less while i still have time so i dont become an old man one day filled with bitterness and regret with only myself to blame. Being at the far end of being a realist and dreamer are both destructive in my opinion so gonna try to find a balance.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    fighting tonns of small problems in reality like that could definatly stimulate and help one overcome larger and larger real problems in life and lead to imaginative and productive thinking applied to real life.
    It builds confidence even if you think you know better. Try to pack a lot of small successes into each day, and focus on them. Pretty soon you'll feel that you can master anything, and have the habit of completing what you've begun.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    That is wise advice pong Even the smallest imaginary problem can be a large hinderance for people in reality, fighting tonns of small problems in reality like that could definatly stimulate and help one overcome larger and larger real problems in life and lead to imaginative and productive thinking applied to real life.

    And thanks for the reply again cran, im guessing you are skinny person aswell considering your mental prowess? Kinda feel i should pay you lol.
    I was ... skinny, that is ...
    but there's more than one reason to call it "middle age" ...
    more importantly (or perhaps more relevant) -
    my own early life experience was not very different ...
    Nature abhors perfection; cats abhor a vacuum.

    "I don't know; I'm making it up as I go ..." Dr H Jones (Jr).
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  14. #13 Excessive Maladaptive Daydreaming 
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    From what you are telling us, I think that you might have Maladaptive Daydreaming. This is a disorder that creates excessive daydreaming. I have this problem and you sound very much like me. Here is a website with information about this issue:


    http://daydreamingdisorder.webs.com/

    There are actually forums devoted to this subject. Here is one:

    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group...vedaydreamers/

    Take a look and see what you think.
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    Münchausen's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaMuDelta
    Münchausen's.
    ?? What is that have to do with daydreaming? No, really? I would really appreciate the answer because I have the same "problem" as Raziell does, with even weirder additional stuff....
    "Be the change you want to see in the world"
    Mahatma Gandhi

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace"
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaMuDelta
    Münchausen's.
    I doubt it -

    Munchausen syndrome is a rare type of mental disorder in which a person fakes illness.
    http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/b...e?OpenDocument
    Nature abhors perfection; cats abhor a vacuum.

    "I don't know; I'm making it up as I go ..." Dr H Jones (Jr).
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cran
    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaMuDelta
    Münchausen's.
    I doubt it -

    Munchausen syndrome is a rare type of mental disorder in which a person fakes illness.
    http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/b...e?OpenDocument
    Precisely why I asked.... I doubt it too, but, who knows? Now I am a little bit worried I'll start going nuts....
    "Be the change you want to see in the world"
    Mahatma Gandhi

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace"
    Jimmy Hendrix
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennLonhon
    Quote Originally Posted by Cran
    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaMuDelta
    Münchausen's.
    I doubt it -

    Munchausen syndrome is a rare type of mental disorder in which a person fakes illness.
    http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/b...e?OpenDocument
    Precisely why I asked.... I doubt it too, but, who knows? Now I am a little bit worried I'll start going nuts....
    in that case, take two of these -

    [Don't Worry]............[You Are Not Going Nuts]

    and call me in the morning ...
    Nature abhors perfection; cats abhor a vacuum.

    "I don't know; I'm making it up as I go ..." Dr H Jones (Jr).
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cran
    Quote Originally Posted by JennLonhon
    Quote Originally Posted by Cran
    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaMuDelta
    Münchausen's.
    I doubt it -

    Munchausen syndrome is a rare type of mental disorder in which a person fakes illness.
    http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/b...e?OpenDocument
    Precisely why I asked.... I doubt it too, but, who knows? Now I am a little bit worried I'll start going nuts....
    in that case, take two of these -

    [Don't Worry]............[You Are Not Going Nuts]

    and call me in the morning ...
    Isnt it a golden rule that if you THINK you are crazy/insane - you are not.
    And if you ARE crazy/insane you dont know it yourself?
    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    ...

    Isnt it a golden rule that if you THINK you are crazy/insane - you are not.
    And if you ARE crazy/insane you dont know it yourself?
    yep - I believe it's called Catch-22
    Nature abhors perfection; cats abhor a vacuum.

    "I don't know; I'm making it up as I go ..." Dr H Jones (Jr).
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  22. #21  
    Forum Junior JennLonhon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell

    Isnt it a golden rule that if you THINK you are crazy/insane - you are not.
    And if you ARE crazy/insane you dont know it yourself?
    hahaha, yeah, you're probably right =) (^_^)
    "Be the change you want to see in the world"
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  23. #22  
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    just a guess here but you may have synaesthesia of some kind. I know that i was diagnosed with ADHD for my severe inability to ever stop daydreaming, and I now know that it is my synaesthesia that causes it. I had no idea that the way my mind worked was any different from everyone else until I heard some of the many types of synaesthesia out there, which number-form synaesthesia's description of visualizing months of the year with vivid and unchangeable colors and patterns fit my thoughts perfectly. There are synaesthesia tests out there, one of which takes a very long time to complete and is more accurate after it is taken twice, a month after the first test. just a suggestion.

    edit: ps. just wanted to add that if this is the case, synaesthesia is absolutely a gift; not an illness.
    I prefer to use my right brain to study the universe rather than my left brain.
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    (Maladaptive Nightmare)
    Although I am grateful for my sense of humor that I have honed over the course of my life, I need to mention that much of my youth was lived through mental disorder which is known as Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD). If any of the following is something you recognize in yourself or a loved one, just know you are not alone.
    My fantasies took on a life of their own, and I would become very emotionally attached to them. The feelings provoked would be similar to feelings that would someone would feel if the event was really occurring. However, I was cut off from my own real feelings and to still am to a large degree. Many of these feelings and fantasies were centered on anger on one hand, & being funny on the other. I would use my MD as away to right any wrongs that happened during the day. I would picture someone that hurt my feelings and picture beating them up. There is a scene in the movie “meet the parents” where Ben Stiller is secretly being watched by his father in-law played by Robert Denero, Ben’s character imagines punching his father in law in the face and taunts him all the while Denero’s character watches on in amusement. It is similar to that but, darker and more serious. During my anger fantasies I would feel my blood pump as I would throw much after punch at the person that was not in the room. It should be mentioned that these fight fantasies were never really about wanting to hurt someone, but instead wanting them to respect me. However, a lot of my fantasies were also centered on being funny i.e., people liking me because I was funny. The funny fantasies were manic in nature. I would feel sensations in my body that felt warm and exciting I wanted to keep these sensations going and the only way to do that was to “stoke the fire” of fantasy. It was a distraction from boredom or anything else I did not want o resign myself to. Why settle for a mundane life, when I could whip up a fantasy and feel a high from it. My thoughts would be all over the place, LOOKING FOR THAT NEXT FIX. A fantasy that would catch a hold of me and draw me in, evoking emotions and feelings where I could now control the outcome. There was a repetitious nature to these fantasies as well. I would repeat the fantasy over and over to try and suck the sweetness out of it. It hurts to talk about, but I remember in my youth spending hours in front of the bathroom mirror playing out fantasies. For some reason being in front of the mirror and watching myself gave the fantasy more realism, and would heighten the experience. I made sure the door was closed so no one could see what I was doing. I knew it would not make sense to anyone even if I tried to explain it.
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  25. #24  
    Nut Hunter.. NMSquirrel's Avatar
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    the symptons you describe can be applied to alot of conditions,
    in my journey to understand myself, i discovered i have ADHD..
    i didn't know this till i was 30 (im 50 now)

    in these last few months as i was waiting for disability to be approved i discovered that there are quite a few conditions that would also qualify...bipolar,aspergers,adhd,add, and several others..

    what i would like to add is a list i have come across, she (the author) says she is uncomfortable using the term 'Mental illness' but she needed something to call it..

    this is from Bipolar Disorder Demystified by Lana R Castle.
    (you dont have to have bipolar to learn something about yourself reading about it)


    Mental Illness Myths:
    • There is no good reason for the mentally ill to act so crazy. they just need self control.

    • We all get depressed from time to time,Positive thinking should be enough to turn things around.

    • Lots of ppl think of killing themselves, but don't actually attempt it, it is just an attempt to get symphathy.

    • The mentaly ill are eccentrics that just crave attention,they arent sick and they dont want treatment.

    • Psyciatric diagnoses involve alot of guess work,They are not scientificly made, shrinks are quacks.

    • Lots of ppl with mental illness have an associated physical condition, fix tha and the mental illness goes away.

    • Mental illness is all in your head.It has no physical basis.

    • The mentaly ill have warped personalities.

    • Ppl with mental illness come from bad families.

    • The mentally ill are weak,they are just overreacting to normal stress.

    • The mentaly ill wont take responsibility and help themselves.

    • If 'Imbalanced brain chemistry' causes mantal illness then the right pill should 'cure' it.

    • Talking about problems wont solve them. It only makes you dwell on them more.Instead of yammering endlessly in therapy, take action.

    • The mentally ill can do nothing to help themselves other than find good mental health proffessionals, take the right medications, and undergo lengthy hospital visitations.

    • The mentally ill just need to change their attitude and be more realistic.

    • The mentally ill are immature and self absorbed, they just need to grow up and be responsible.

    • Those ppl are sick because they have no faith in God, all they really need is religious commitment and prayer.

    • Friends and relatives often overreact and push those who 'march to the beat of a different drum' into unnecessary treatment.

    • The mentaly ill are too wierd,undependable or violent to function well in society.
    The term 'Free' in Free thinking, does not imply control....
    Intelligence is being able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
    God is not inside the box.
    http://squirrels-nest.proboards.com/
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by NMSquirrel View Post
    the symptons you describe can be applied to alot of conditions,
    in my journey to understand myself, i discovered i have ADHD..
    i didn't know this till i was 30 (im 50 now)

    in these last few months as i was waiting for disability to be approved i discovered that there are quite a few conditions that would also qualify...bipolar,aspergers,adhd,add, and several others..

    what i would like to add is a list i have come across, she (the author) says she is uncomfortable using the term 'Mental illness' but she needed something to call it..

    this is from Bipolar Disorder Demystified by Lana R Castle.
    (you dont have to have bipolar to learn something about yourself reading about it)


    Mental Illness Myths:
    • There is no good reason for the mentally ill to act so crazy. they just need self control.

    • We all get depressed from time to time,Positive thinking should be enough to turn things around.

    • Lots of ppl think of killing themselves, but don't actually attempt it, it is just an attempt to get symphathy.

    • The mentaly ill are eccentrics that just crave attention,they arent sick and they dont want treatment.

    • Psyciatric diagnoses involve alot of guess work,They are not scientificly made, shrinks are quacks.

    • Lots of ppl with mental illness have an associated physical condition, fix tha and the mental illness goes away.

    • Mental illness is all in your head.It has no physical basis.

    • The mentaly ill have warped personalities.

    • Ppl with mental illness come from bad families.

    • The mentally ill are weak,they are just overreacting to normal stress.

    • The mentaly ill wont take responsibility and help themselves.

    • If 'Imbalanced brain chemistry' causes mantal illness then the right pill should 'cure' it.

    • Talking about problems wont solve them. It only makes you dwell on them more.Instead of yammering endlessly in therapy, take action.

    • The mentally ill can do nothing to help themselves other than find good mental health proffessionals, take the right medications, and undergo lengthy hospital visitations.

    • The mentally ill just need to change their attitude and be more realistic.

    • The mentally ill are immature and self absorbed, they just need to grow up and be responsible.

    • Those ppl are sick because they have no faith in God, all they really need is religious commitment and prayer.

    • Friends and relatives often overreact and push those who 'march to the beat of a different drum' into unnecessary treatment.

    • The mentaly ill are too wierd,undependable or violent to function well in society.
    I'm a mental health professional and I really like your list of myths. What is tricky is that many of them are somewhat true, just not always true.
    For example: some mental illness can definately be linked to abuse in childhood, but not all or even most of it.
    Or:Only persons suffering from thought disorders are sometimes unaware that they are mentally ill, persons with emotional disorders almost always know something is wrong.
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