Are Antivaxxers Mentally Ill?

I have writ­ten a book that explains why we use vac­cines to pre­vent dis­ease. I have also writ­ten a book about men­tal ill­ness­es: what they are and how they are clas­si­fied, diag­nosed, and treat­ed. So I am well pre­pared to answer a com­mon ques­tion: are the anti­vac­cine zealots out of their minds? The answer is “some­times”; that deter­mi­na­tion must be made on a case-by-case basis. Vac­ci­na­tion has long been the main­stay of pub­lic health efforts. Being vehe­ment­ly opposed to the main­stay of pub­lic health efforts is not, per se, a men­tal ill­ness. But nei­ther is it a sign of good men­tal health, espe­cial­ly not in an edu­cat­ed per­son. In fact, peo­ple who go to great lengths in their anti­vac­cine advo­ca­cy are more like­ly than the aver­age per­son to have a par­tic­u­lar kind of men­tal ill­ness: a per­son­al­i­ty dis­or­der.

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