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Debate: Is mental illness contagious?

We are constantly being told 'it is in our genes' But I feel perfectly normal kids can have their mental state changed because of mistreatment. I also feel that being exposed to mental illness can cause mental illness.What do you think and what are your experiences?

Topics: science society
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    Oct 29 2012: Mental illnesses are not contagious. Young children who would have grown up to be healthy adults can be psychologically scarred by mistreatment and abuse. The early years are critical in a child's life; just like the foundation of a house is important so as to have a building that can stand the storms and poor weather.
    So we can safeguard our mental health by being aware of the dangers of abusive relationships and helping children who could be prone to such abuse.
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    Nov 1 2012: Alicia Raimundo has been a mental health advocate since she was 13, after she experienced serious bouts of suicidal ideation as the result of her depression and anxiety. She knows she came perilously close to being part of Canada's grim suicide statistics. Ten years later, she spends her days finishing her undergrad degree in psychology, while volunteering at half a dozen mental health-related causes. She co-founded the online portion of Almond Health emotional wellbeing community website and is a member of a young adult team that works to translate academic mental health information into language that resonates with young people. She is also a facilitator of a "young survivors of suicide loss" group and takes every opportunity to speak publicly about mental health. Last October, she was on a panel of speakers for Canada AM's Speak Out On Suicide program and contributed to MTV's Let's Talk mental health campaign. Alicia's goal is to make people more connected to mental health issues while helping to eliminate the stigma attached to it.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blSkkwcy4uo&feature=relmfu
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    Oct 29 2012: A mental state is something different than a mental illness.

    For decades psychology saw most mental illnesses as the consequence of mistreatment during childhood. A very frustrating period for many parents because in most cases it later appeared to have a biological cause.

    If the brain functions a bit different as what is commonly understood as normal that person has a handicap to function within society in the way it is expected. This alone gives an enormous dose of stress because everyone wants to be and function like everyone else.
    If you have a physical handicap that is invisible and nobody would have any consideration for your condition the same would happen. The difference however that in that case you could tell about your handicap which isn't possible with a mental disorder.

    Nothing contagious with mental illnesses but very much so with condemnations of all kinds.
    • Oct 29 2012: Medical miistakes have always occurred. I am not a fan of psychologists, whom I believe are over-rated.
      I do personally know someone whom labelled herself eccentric for years, sayng she was an unusual person and merely eccentric.She suffered from delusions due to acquired brain injury following a car accident and became known for child abductions.
      Incorrect diagnosis is dangerous to people, and failure to dagnosis can be very dangerous also. Unrealistic expectations of a persons abilty can cause them to fall victim to injury,crime and more.
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    Oct 29 2012: Hi Isabel - have a look at my profile and the other conversation I am posting on and chatting with Mitch Smith about basic income ideas. Love to you for this. Got so much to say about this from personal lived experience viewpoint and multi-generational lived experience too. Need to look at my more recent posts to conversations like this. Ever considered mental illness just a manifestation of an ill society.
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    Oct 29 2012: Are you asking whether mental illness is contagious in the sense in which illnesses are (with the transmittal of bacteria or viruses from one infected person to another) or whether a person's environment and experiences can influence his/her mental state to trigger conditions like high anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, self-harm, and so forth?

    I think the answer to the first is no and the answer to the second yes.
    • Oct 29 2012: Some bacteria or viruses affect the brains functioning,I feel, which can alter our mood, or create weakness such as delerium which alters the ability to think. Some experiences can cause mental illness such as post traumatic stress disorder, which has can create overwhelming unsought memories of reliving the impacting event. So I would say yes to both of your questions.Some years ago I attended a garden party where two infants between ages 6-12 months were present. They were approx one month different in ages. One was bubbly and bouncy,full of movement and smiles. The older infant was still,silent and not smiling. The mother of the silent child had, unfortunately, suffered a full-term still birth very shortly before becoming pregnant with her living silent infant.I felt mum had severe depression and as dad was often working long hours, mum was the child's role model. The infant was well enough sized, but appeared to share mums depression, Fast forward a couple of years and the whole family appeared back to normal. A different primary aged child had a brain injured delusional prone and violent,but undiagnosed elderly relative living temporarily with them. The child started to develop anxiety and altered speech states.These types of children caught from one person to another. Counter-balance such as reducing time spent with the affected adult and spending time in more cheerful or normal enviroments made a difference to them.
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        Oct 29 2012: I don't think temporary moods (in response to, say, a tragic or sad event) or temporary delerium ( for example, from fever) and mental illness are the same or that specialists in this field would consider them the same.
        • Oct 29 2012: Diagnostic and statistic manual of mental disorders-DSM. Supposedly a psychiatric bible.
          However I agree that things such as grief are perfectly normal and I think that to fail to have that is abnormal. It is normal to have moods-good times and sad times.
  • Nov 4 2012: something kids get due to mistreatment are most likely anxiety disorders more than mental disorders.
    I have s friend with ADHD, Schizophrenia, and Bipolar (Manic - Depressive) Disorder. I have no problem hanging out with him and have not ever caught anything from him.
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    Nov 1 2012: Yes, mental illness is contagious. It is spread by toxic environments, virus, bacteria...etc.
  • Oct 30 2012: first of all you should say that you think is a disease and how it is transmitted, according to Freud, the psycho can be transmitted in a socially
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    Oct 30 2012: 'Mental illnesses' are only illnesses when judged within the context of what is now regarded as 'normal'.

    If a contagion does exist, then it is passed on as an insidious auto-suggestion of that judgement - through a dysfunctional mixture of stigma, misdiagnosis, and the medicalisation of behaviours that in other societies might be regarded as normal and acceptable.
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    Oct 29 2012: Here is an article from a credible source and citing credible sources to the effect that some childhood mental disorders seem that they can be triggered by strep infections. Strep is contagious.

    In this case, while the mental illness itself is not contagious, strep is. There is no evidence that the unusual effect of strep (as opposed to a strep infection itself) can be communicated from one child to another.

    http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/2010/microbes-and-mental-illness.shtml
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      Oct 31 2012: So mysophobia should be reclassified and removed from the list of mental disorders?
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    Oct 29 2012: I have a brother and sister with schizophrenia
    I have a brother and a sister with bi-polar
    I grew up with a mother who was clinically depressed (if not bi-polar)
    My husband has dementia
    My culture behaves as if it is insane as it staunchly defends the cause of all of the problems it wants to get rid of.

    Still, I have made my way through that. I too began with clinical depression, but as I changed my worldview to one that is more rational than the worldview of my culture, I haven't had a day of depression in nearly 20 years.

    Schizophrenia is a disease where brain damage is visible. It is not "catchy" from someone else, though it probably has a "switch" that turns the gene on. This may be while the fetus was in untero or it may be from an outside cause. Its interesting to consider how many with schizophrenia are born in the months of November through January. (In the US, that's the winter months. Is the opposite true down under?)

    Though dementia is not "caught", some studies suggest that it can be prevented. This would infer that it is the society that is insane, and the person living in it does not distinguish between society's insanity and his own, thus in a round-about way allows it to consume his brain.

    I think that most mental illnesses are primarily a result of our living in a really insane society. Studies are being done on meditation, and surprising results are occurring. There are a small few who have dared challenge conventional wisdom and come through the insanity that I think is wrought by ignorance. We are a mostly isolated group of people, and we call ourselves awakened.

    Most live in a culture that calls logic something that is radically irrational. That does strange things to the mind of those who are indoctrinated into it. As beliefs create our realities, & most don't know it, many are heaping some really terrible consequences on themselves.

    That's why I want education to return 2 educating rather than indoctrinating
  • Oct 29 2012: Viruses Bacteria Heredity Memes Why not all of the above and whatever else one can conceive.
    • Oct 29 2012: Good idea, embrace all if they can help to create the path to a cure
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    Oct 29 2012: Absolutely. My kids drove me insane ........ However it was a very short drive to get me there ......
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    Oct 29 2012: Yes.
    Because of:

    '...
    15. Conclusion

    1. HAPPINESS COMES FROM OUR INSTINCTS,
    2. INSTINCTS COME FROM OUR DNA.
    3. OUR DNA COMES FROM OUR ANCESTORS’ SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCES ABOUT 10,000 YEARS AGO.
    4. OUR DATA-PROGRAMS OF INSTINCTS AND PRE-INSTINCTS MAKE OUR SOUL,
    5. THE SOUL RUNS OUR BRAIN, AND THE BRAIN RUNS OUR BODY.
    6. WHERE THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY.


         Will
    Where there is a will there is a way,
    May it be good or nay,
    Only if data made,
    Meet the way,
    As our brain,
    Is the best computer today!
    Thus superstition may play,
    So does praise or dismay.
    Quit invalid instincts without delay,
    Be happy lifelong all the way!

    ..."