Misconceptions About Mental Illness. Mental health is a long misunderstood term. Until recently, mental illness and mental disorders were taboo subjects. Rumors and misinformation about mental illness spread quickly. The media was no help in spreading exaggerated stories about extreme cases and creating more rumors. Despite the fact that there have been some improvements, many still believe there are misconceptions about mental illnesses.
Knowing myths about mental health can help break the stigma and create a culture that encourages people of every age to seek therapy when they need it.
Common Myths And Misconceptions About Mental Illness
These common misconceptions can appear harmless, but they can have a negative impact on someone’s mental health in many ways. These myths about mental illness can keep people from receiving the help they need.
Others may be afraid of how others will see them if they ask for help. Some may be afraid of what type of treatment they will receive and avoid seeking it. Many people may feel helpless and internalize negative opinions about mental illness. Spread Mental Health Awareness.
Here are seven common misconceptions about mental illness:
1. People with mental illness are all crazy.
There are many negative terms used to describe mental illness, such as “crazy”, and “insane.” This perpetuates the idea that mental illness can be unpredictable, uncontrollable, and always severe. However, there is a wide range of mental illnesses and mental health disorders.
They can be mild or severe, and they even change over time. These symptoms are often linked to psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions. However, these symptoms tend to only be associated with specific mental disorders.
2. You can be either insane or fine.
There are many levels of health, both mental and physical. Even those you consider healthy may not always be “totally fine.” This is why it’s important to think about physical health. A person can be healthy and still experience joint pain or high cholesterol.
You can also have anxiety and bipolar disorder but still, be mentally healthy in most cases. Some people need complete mental health programs, while others can live their daily lives more or less as they do for everyone else.
3. Mental illness is a symptom of weakness.
People often assume that people with depression, anxiety, or other disorders are mentally weak. Would you consider someone with a physical condition to be weak?
Mental strength is not the same thing as mental health. As people with arthritis may still be strong physically, those with depression can also be mentally strong. Many people with mental illness are actually incredibly strong. They just need help.
4. Mental illness can make someone violent.
Mental illness is often viewed as dangerous and violent. People with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are known for their violent tendencies.
Only 4.3% of violence in a community is believed to be caused by people with mental disorders. People with schizophrenia are 14 times more likely to be victims of violent crimes.
5. Mental health problems are permanent.
Mental illness does not always mean a death sentence. Every person’s experience is unique. Some people may experience episodes between episodes. Others might find medication or talk therapies that help restore their balance.
Some people might not feel like they are fully recovered from a mental illness. Others may experience worsening symptoms. The bottom line is that most people will get better.
Recovering can mean different things to different people. Others might see recovery as a return back to the way they felt before symptoms started. Others might view recovery as relief from symptoms or a return to a fulfilling life, no matter how different.
6. People with mental illnesses cannot function in society.
Another myth associated with mental illness that is often repeated is that it renders someone incapable of functioning in normal society. Although some mental disorders can cause severe mental illness, most people with them are productive members of society.
Contrary to popular belief, not all people with mental disorders end up homeless or in a locked facility for life. Many people with mental illness have jobs and families that allow them to get by the day.
7. People without friends need therapists.
Talk therapies are different from speaking with friends. While both can be helpful for people with mental illnesses in their own ways, a trained therapist is able to address problems constructively and in ways that are unmatched by even the best friends.
Not everyone can open up completely in front of their closest and dearest. Therapy is confidential and objective. It is completely focused on the person, which is difficult to do in informal conversations with untrained friends. Some people don’t have close friends. This can be due to many factors, so it’s not a reason to judge someone.
8. If you have a mental illness, it is impossible to get better.
A common misconception is that a person with a mental illness is doomed to repeat it. Some mental illnesses can be chronic. However, treatment can teach people how to manage their symptoms better and gain more control over their disorder. In some cases, it may even help them overcome their condition completely. Some mental disorders are temporary and can disappear over time.
9. The treatment is frightening.
People can be scared to seek help because of the images and past techniques used in mental illness treatment. The days of shock therapy, straitjackets, padded rooms, lobotomies, and a slew of pills that render the patient unconscious are long gone.
Today, most treatment consists of a combination of psychotherapy and medication, and it is possible to adjust these to prevent adverse reactions. Patients in residential mental health facilities have free reign inside and are there voluntarily.
10. Nothing can be done to prevent people from developing mental health problems.
There are many factors that can help prevent people from developing mental illness. These include strengthening social and psychological skills, seeking support early, building supportive, loving, and warm family relationships and a positive school environment.
A combination of protective factors is necessary to overcome adversity. Individual stressors and environmental factors will not necessarily cause mental health problems. Children and teens who are resilient to adversity often have strong and supportive relationships with their family, friends, and adults. This creates a combination of protective and well-being factors.
Overcoming Misconceptions About Mental Illness
Mental illness is often misunderstood. These misconceptions can have a significant impact on how we view mental illness and our health. These misconceptions can be dispelled if you take the time to acknowledge them. Talking to a mental health professional is the first step. They can help you gain a better understanding of your mental health and suggest steps to take to improve your overall health. We are here to spread Mental Health Awareness.