Myths About Mind and Mood Revealed

In one study of New York state high school students, 9 percent of the students surveyed reported that they were victimized frequently, and the National Institutes of Health reported that bullying affects more than 5 million students in grades six to 11, with one out of seven students reporting being victimized.

Because bullying is such a widespread and potentially harmful behavior, parents should look out for bullying problems and be quick to intervene.

Fact or Myth? Babies born in the winter are more likely to have bipolar disorder.

Answer: Possibly a fact

Although this may sound like an old wives' tale, there may be some truth to the idea that the season in which a child is born contributes to his or her mental health.

"There have been some reports that adults with bipolar disorder are more likely to have been born in the winter than in the summer, spring or fall months," said Kiki Chang, director of the Pediatric Bipolar Disorders program at Stanford and an expert for ABC News' OnCall+ Bipolar Disorder section.

According to current theories, a type of virus triggers the disorder in people who already have a genetic predisposition toward bipolar disorder. People are more likely to contract the virus during the winter months -- and thus, more winter babies end up with bipolar disorder. Similar research on schizophrenia has also cropped up.

"However one has to be careful when interpreting that kind of data," Chang said. "It doesn't mean that if you were born in the winter you're more likely to develop bipolar disorder. ... The risk that you have by being born in the winter does not increase it greatly enough to be clinically significant."

Fact or Myth? Shock treatment is an outdated and barbaric treatment for mood disorders.

Answer: Myth

Shock treatment -- also known as electroconvulsive therapy -- might evoke horrific scenes from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," but the reality is quite different.

"Electroconvulsive therapy has been around since the 1930s and is one of our oldest treatments for depression," said William McDonald, a psychiatrist with the Emory Clinic and participant in ABC News' OnCall+ Depression section.

"And the reasons it's lasted this long is that it's one of the most effective treatments for depression -- particularly for people with depression that haven't responded to the typical medications," McDonald said.

The treatment functions by stimulating the brain to release the same types of transmitters that are released by antidepressant medication. The difference is that electroconvulsive therapy works faster -- a patient can get well in a week rather than the six to eight weeks it would take for medication to take effect.

"Electroconvulsive therapy is also used [on] patients who have tried multiple different medications and not responded very well," McDonald said. He also noted that the therapy can be used for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

While it sounds like this therapy would do a number on your brain, "no study to my knowledge has ever shown that you can get permanent brain damage from this treatment if it's used safely," said McDonald.

The biggest side effect is short-term memory loss and doctors will adjust the treatment to deal with that problem, if it happens.

Fact or Myth? The richer you are, the more likely you are to become bipolar.

Answer: Myth

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