Health Misconceptions

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Health Misconceptions Essay

MoreWhat would you do if you believed you were sick? Of course, the obvious answer would be to seek medical advice, but what if it became even simpler? In today’s day and age seeking medical advice has become more convenient through the use of an online diagnosis which claims to be able to diagnose various diseases and even offer medical treatment. Although many claims to be alleviated by using an online diagnosis, the effects of using this type of medical advice can lead to unnecessary and expensive medical care as well as the possibility of hindering your health even further. Since the development of medicine, which dates back farther than one can remember, people have consulted with doctors or any medical professional for advice concerning Health Misconceptions Essay


“This can be dangerous, as people who assume that they can surmise what is going on with themselves may miss the nuances of diagnosis.” ( Since people have the opportunity to research symptoms, the results that are displayed may stray one away from their actual problem. An example would include taking a self-diagnosis for constant changes in mood and be diagnosed with depression, when in reality the truth behind your mood swings is caused by having a bi-polar disorder. Misconceptions such as these can have a negative impact on one’s health as the treatment that one might want to peruse does not pertain to one’s actual disorder. In some cases, more than one issue may be present but only the disorder that is identified by the individual will be treated and therefore ignoring any other factors “When two or more syndromes occur in the same person, we call this comorbidity. When people self-diagnose, they often miss the comorbidity that exists.” (, since one is unaware of their predicament, conditions may only worsen and continue to afflict an individual without being aware of their situation. In conclusion, not only does the emergence of self-diagnosis contradict today’s medical physicians, they stray individuals with life-threatening diseases and disorders away from the help that they need.Health Misconceptions Essay

The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) assesses proficiency of U.S. students in a variety of content areas, including science, using a random sampling of students from the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades. The last NAEP tests in science were administered in 1996, 2000, and 2005. Unfortunately, the data from the 2005 test is still not completely accessible to the public. However, an analysis of the 2000 NAEP test results reveals dramatic deficiencies in genetics content knowledge at both 8th and 12th grades. Mastery of 12 concepts from earth, physical, and life sciences is required for students to demonstrate proficient or advanced knowledge in the sciences; one-quarter of these concepts are in the field of genetics (O’Sullivan et al. 2003). The NAEP test results reveal specific deficits in student understanding of classification, evolution, mutation, and DNA technology as shown in Table 1. Publicly available data on the 2000 NAEP science assessment (at provides sample questions and answers from students, as well as the criteria for scoring answers as “complete or essential, partial, or unsatisfactory.” We specifically examined the subset of data regarding the broad category of molecular and human genetics (footnote a in Table 1).Health Misconceptions Essay

One in five Americans experience a mental health problem in any given year. Yet many people suffer with their symptoms in silence. The stigma that continues to surround mental health problems prevents them from getting the help they need.

It’s a common problem I see in my therapy practice. People often wait years to seek help. Even though their symptoms are treatable, they were afraid to tell anyone about what they were experiencing.

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Some of them feared that a mental health diagnosis could affect their careers: Can I still teach if I have depression? If people know I have anxiety, will they assume my business is failing? Do I need to tell my boss I’m taking medications?

Others worried that people would label them as “crazy”: Will other parents let their children come to my home if I go to counseling? If my neighbors see me in the waiting room, will they treat me different?

Many of these concerns are legitimate. Despite ongoing efforts to educate the public about mental health, misconceptions remain. Before we can stop the stigma, we need to debunk these five mental health myths:

  1. You’re either mentally ill or mentally healthy.

Similar to the way a physically healthy person may still experience minor health issues—like bad knees or high cholesterol—a mentally healthy person may experience an emotional problem or two. Mental health is a continuum and people may fall anywhere on the spectrum.

Even if you are doing well, there’s a good chance you aren’t 100% mentally healthy. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates only about 17% of adults are in a state of “optimal” mental health.Health Misconceptions Essay

  1. Mental illness is a sign of weakness.

As someone who trains people to build mental strength, I sometimes receive backlash from individuals who claim the phrase “mental strength” somehow stigmatizes mental illness. Those comments come from people who automatically assume people with depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions are mentally “weak.”


Mental strength is not the same as mental health. Just as someone with diabetes could still be physically strong, someone with depression can still be mentally strong. Many people with mental health issues are incredibly mentally strong. Anyone can make choices to build mental strength, regardless of whether they have a mental health issue.

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  1. You can’t prevent mental health problems.Health Misconceptions Essay

You certainly can’t prevent all mental health problems—factors like genetics and traumatic life events play a role. But everyone can take steps to improve their mental health and prevent further mental illness.

Establishing healthy habits—eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, participating in regular exercise—can also go a long way to improving how you feel. Similarly, getting rid of destructive mental habits, like engaging in self-pity or ruminating on the past, can also do wonders for your emotional well-being.Health Misconceptions Essay

  1. People with mental illness are violent.

Unfortunately, when the media mentions mental illness, it’s often in regard to a headline about a mass shooting or domestic violence incident. Although these headlines frequently portray many violent criminals as being mentally ill, most people with mental health problems aren’t violent.

The American Psychological Association reports that only 7.5% of crimes are directly related to symptoms of mental illness.

  1. Mental health problems are forever.

Not all mental health problems are curable—schizophrenia, for example, doesn’t go away. But most mental health problems are treatable.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that between 70 and 90% of individuals experience symptom relief with a combination of therapy and medication. Complete recovery from a variety of mental health issues is often possible.Health Misconceptions Essay

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Getting Rid of the Mental Health Stigma

Even though suicide is the tenth-leading cause of death in America, most public-service announcements and government education programs focus solely on physical health issues like cancer and obesity. Raising awareness of mental health issues and debunking the most common misconceptions could be instrumental in saving lives. Health Misconceptions Essay

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