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Is Mental Illness Infectious?

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posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 10:10 AM
I know that many will scoff at this title. I have no official degree in any of the mind sciences but i have worked at one time in a half way house for people adjusting to the real world and have also worked as "security" in a mental ward when i was younger.

I left quite quickly after the full work in a proper mental ward because it just upset me seeing people so distressed. However i noticed that many people also left, the reasons ran from people just not liking seeing people like that (like me) and others who felt it was, and i quote "getting in their head". I had several people say that to me whilst i was there, it disturbed them, gave them nightmares and worried them that they themselves were going insane.

I found they often identified with some very small part of what a patient was saying, it could be something absolutely pointless, a repetitive action, a minor personality flaw, or even a certain word. These would amplify over weeks and they couldn't handle it and left. These wern't insane people, they were like you and i, perfectly normal.

I'm not being foolish, i understand many illnesses are chemically or psychologically caused. However i ask the question, is it possible that others can contract mental illness by being around a mentally ill person? This would be a subset of people, however it would still be a large amount of people overall.

What do you all think?

posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 10:15 AM
After having dealt with a mentally ill family member for many years, yes, it can really start to bother you and drain you. Sometimes I'd get depressed over it and it took me years to realize this person was toxic to me, so I had to cut ties.
You can only do so much. I don't know if mental illness is infectious, but it sure does affect people who have to deal with it.

[edit on 16-8-2008 by virraszto]

posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 11:07 AM
Funny you say that.

In Accounting 421 (BOOTCAMP) we had a very slow member in our group. He did not hold on to new information that well. Well, after several years, I feel like I am picking up on his learning disability. But most likely, I am finding myself in situations at work where I feel like him.

But really, it's all in the head! I had a great conversation where it felt like I could of gone crazy (went down the rabbit hole).

I have seen people that look crazy and do crazy things. But they eventually tame it.

My father claims to see numbers pop out at things he sees... But he has an average 50k year job.

posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 11:14 AM
reply to post by '___'eed

Well i only bring it up because i remember that people working with me often started to associate with the patients. I remember on one defense course (we were being taught to subdue patients without harm, bit boring for me as i was well verse in self defense). Anyway one of them was slightly twitchy, he was goign on about a patient he had been talking to, i remember he started repeating the phrases the patient used, after only two weeks he left feeling like it was "getting in his head".

That's what i mean by contagious i suppose.

posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 11:36 AM
I was seeing a therapist about 15 years ago and he told me how difficult it was to deal with so many procrastinators, whiners and cheaters. He said he had to go for long walks to get it out of his system. He said he also liked to go hunting and shoot targets for some of his most annoying patients.

It shouldn't be too hard to relate to what you're saying from what people also claim about prison "Zoos"

A movie I had seen called Suspect Zero had mentioned how some psychic remote viewers would go insane from reading their targets too well. Part of this movie on DVD had a comment section from previous government remote viewers.

Some reports also mention infections such as fungal, bacterial or parasites that can cause mental illness and these are probably contagious and or enviromental also.

Some are also said to be delusional, but, that doesn't mean the patient is actually wrong.

Some people are just too sensitive for some lines of work with their personality type.

I think some applications screen for these with certain questions. Supposedly many people are diagnosed as having bipolar?

posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 11:50 AM
with respect to mental illness, can be caused by bacteria I have been told. I am not 100% certain this is true, but that theory does exist.

I do believe that some large percentage of the population is bipolar.. by definition having manic phases followed by depression. however, many of these people are not diagnosed. bipolar however is said to be hereditary.

posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 02:52 PM
You can be affected by working with patients but it's not infective. General environment has a lot to say in the case of mental health and I many places where mentally ill people are kept aren't the best atmospheres, neither for the patients nor the people working there. The worst thing about working at mental wards is that workers are often dealing with patients during their worst mental breakdowns (as soon as they get better, they'll leave the ward..) or chronic patients that have been on strong psychiatric medications for years and have developed further problems from the treatment itself, by their confinement and abnormal social life, drug use and often generally unhealthy life. But you can rest assured that you're more likely to go insane if you personally had a traumatic experience, were locked up in solitary confinement or if you'd wake consecutively for days in a row (something many meth addicts often do and consequently have mental episodes). Work/school/social environment are stress and anxiety factors that can build up or elevate underlying anxieties. I know of two doctors that couldn't take the stress from their job (they were just with "normal patients", not psychiatrists) and got depressed. I've also heard from other people I know of ppl. "loosing it", especially potentially stressful/depressing jobs such as forensic pathology, dentistry, slaughterhouse work, "over-studying" ... or too much drugs. In many of these cases the people lost a lot of rest for extended periods and developed insomnia.

There are a lot of misconceptions about mental disorders. Here are a few relevant sources:

Healing a Troubled Mind Takes More Than a Pill

Loren Mosher: psychiatrist whose non-drug treatments helped his patients

Abilify Drug Commercial

Parkison side-effects from Psychiatric Drugs

Zyprexa Rep speaks out

Rat Park: Experiment on the causes of addiction (2)

Epigenetics and Mental Disease

DNA is Not Destiny

posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 03:08 PM
reply to post by archive

By infectious i didn't just mean bacterial of virological, i meant enviromental. As i said i knew perfectly normal people who were obviously effected by it.

I left the job i was in after having to restrain a patient with 5 other security personel, we had to do it as the person in question had attacked a female staff member, but us holding him down was horrible and i didn't want to go through it again. What concerned me the most is my years of training wasn't enough i held him in an arm lock and he just turned towards me and the pain meant nothing.

The worst of it was that to see people hurt themselves was just horrible for me.

[edit on 16-8-2008 by ImaginaryReality1984]

posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 05:57 PM
reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984

I do understand what you mean. I am a nurse and I have done some psychiatric work - older peoples mental health as well as a acute mental unit. I must admit, its not my kind of thing. A lot of psychy nurses i know, tend to get 'out of the work' after a few years and go into management or community.

I think a lot of it is because its so frustrating for healthcare workers to deal with. Its not like surgery, where the patient can come in, have the operation and be 'cured'. Mental illnessess are never really cured.

posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 06:29 PM
YES... you get it from your children

If teenagers don't drive you nutz, nothing will.... lol

posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 07:20 PM
Yes it is infectious. It is a brought on by compassion. The closer you become to any given life form the more compatible you will be. Traits, along with other thought processes are blended. The two will become one depending on the love each feels for another. This will happen between males and females, males and males or females and females. It has nothing to do with sexuality.

Do you have a best friend? Would you not die for them? Do I need to say more?

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 02:24 PM
Infectious? No.
Does it 'rub off on you' then yes I think it can BUT and it's a big but I think it will only do so if you already have a predisposition to having mental health problems,just takes a circumstance to trigger it which could include working with, socialising with or being close to someone who is already ill.

If we knew the whys and wherefores this board would be quiet and lots of preofessionals would be out of work

posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 04:42 PM
There's alot about this world we don't understand. You may be right in what you said. Have you heard about the " Hundredth Monkey Effect". It's supposedly been debunked, but who knows.

The “Hundredth Monkey Effect” is a supposed phenomenon in which a learned behaviour spreads instantaneously from one group of monkeys to all related monkeys once a critical number is reached. By generalisation it means the instant, paranormal spreading of an idea or ability to the remainder of a population once a certain portion of that population has heard of the new idea or learned the new ability. The story behind this supposed phenomenon originated with Lyall Watson, who claimed that it was the observation of Japanese scientists. One of the primary factors in the promulgation of the myth is that many authors quote secondary, tertiary or post-tertiary sources who have themselves misrepresented the original observations.

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