Chapter 15 discusses psychological disorders. What I found most interesting was the way in which the authors set out to clarify many of the myths surrounding psychological disorders, including the myth that children with ADHD can't concentrate and individuals with Tourette's Disorder engage in frequent cursing. Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions about psychological disorders has to do with insanity and the law, specifically, the insanity defense. According to the textbook, the insanity defense states that we shouldn't hold people legally responsible for their crimes if they weren't of "sound mind" when they committed them. In the United States, all but four states use some version of this defense.
The textbook lays out some of the popular misconceptions regarding the insanity defense. One popular myth is that a large proportion of criminals escape criminal responsibility by using the insanity defense.
Yet in reality, this is used in only 1% of criminal trials. Of those, it is successful about 25% of the time.
Another popular misconception is that a lot of the people who use the insanity defense are faking it.
Yet the rate of faking mental illness appears to be low.
Where do we get these misconceptions about mental disorders? From the media? The Andrea Yates case was certainly a highly publicized trial.
The media definitely seems to play a role in setting the agenda by focusing on high profile cases like Andrea Yate's case. Yet is the media solely to blame?