Modern society has progressed in myriad ways. Smart homes, connected cars, VR gaming, digital money – this is just a glimpse of the numerous technological advancements that have resulted in the fast-paced development of our society. Today, it’s possible to accomplish nearly everything from the comfort of your home.
But there’s one crucial aspect of human life that continues to be pushed to the sidelines. It’s the topic of mental health. While there has been some awareness, many people continue to treat it as a topic of taboo. Worse still, mental illnesses are often not even regarded as real ailments.
Nevertheless, mental health disorders continue to plague the global population. The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns have further intensified the likelihood and severity of such disorders. This, in turn, emphasizes the need for increasing awareness about various mental illnesses.
That’s why in this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the most prevalent misconceptions about mental health to better understand the real picture. Let’s get started.
1. Mental Illnesses Aren’t That Common
Just because people don’t talk about depression, anxiety, OCD, etc. as much as they discuss diabetes and cancer, it doesn’t mean mental health disorders don’t affect too many people. On the contrary, roughly one in five people in the U.S. suffer from a mental illness.
Also, more than 264 million people on this planet live with depression. Moreover, the pandemic has caused a three-fold increase in the number of people suffering from depression in the U.S. Likewise, generalized anxiety disorder affects roughly 7 million U.S. adults.
These statistics do an excellent job of highlighting the fact that mental health disorders are anything but uncommon. Unfortunately, the stigma associated with these ailments often dissuades people from seeking treatment. This, in turn, creates an illusion of the limited prevalence of these illnesses.
2. It’s Not a Disease, It’s Just a Phase
Individuals who are diagnosed with mental illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, etc. are often given this advice by well-meaning loved ones. What people fail to understand is that a mental health disorder is just like any other chronic physical ailment, such as hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, etc.
In most cases, mental health disorders are caused when the human body fails to properly carry out certain physiological functions. For instance, depression is an outcome of the body’s inability to produce the right amount of serotonin.
Therefore, a person suffering from depression is as unlikely to snap out of it as someone with diabetes. And just like any other chronic ailment, mental health disorders don’t just miraculously vanish after a certain point in time.
3. Psychiatric Medications are Harmful
“If you’ve been prescribed psychiatric medications, you’re doomed.” This belief discourages many people with mental health disorders to follow the right treatment protocol. This, in turn, disrupts or delays their recovery and aggravated their symptoms. However, psychiatric medications aren’t the villain that society makes of them.
Yes. Long-term use or the wrong dosage of these medicines can cause a few side effects. But as long as you consult a trusted psychiatrist before taking any medication, it won’t cause any harm.
On the other hand, in some cases, medication might be necessary. For instance, people suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder need regular medication to lead a normal life. Likewise, medicines can help alleviate various symptoms of depression and anxiety.
It’s also worth mentioning here that psychiatric medications aren’t all that expensive either. They’re readily available in most pharmacies and are extremely affordable. You can even save money with RX coupons while getting your medicines from your local pharmacy.
4. It’s Millennial & Gen Z Problem
Yes. The millennial and Gen Z population is more likely to come out and seek treatment for mental illness. But that’s because they’re more aware of the symptoms and consequences of these disorders. It doesn’t mean mental health disorders don’t affect the older population.
5. Mental Health Disorders are a Sign of Weakness
Would you assume that a person diagnosed with diabetes has no willpower? Or would you think a person can only get hypertension if they have certain character flaws? Then why would you harbor similar beliefs about mental illnesses?
No. Being diagnosed with a psychiatric ailment doesn’t mean you’re weak or have bad character. Instead, it takes a lot of courage and determination to live with a mental health disorder and overcome it. If anything, recovering from a mental illness is a sign of strength and perseverance.
What are some of the other mental health myths that you’ve come across? Share your views in the comments section below.