I haven’t written much to do with psychology lately and since this week is Mental Health Week I decided to write about some myths about mental disorders that are unfortunately often believed by those who don’t understand them.
Myth: People with mental health disorders are just weak
Fact: Having a mental disorder doesn’t make you weaker than other people and it definitely doesn’t mean there is something wrong with your personality. Many factors can affect your mental health like biological factors such as genes and hormone levels, life experiences and family history of mental illnesses can also be affecting factors.
Myth: People with mental health disorders are just pretending/being dramatic
Fact: Many people believe that people who have mental disorders are just being dramatic or looking for attention but this is definitely not true. People who suffer from mental disorders tend to react to situations differently than other people, for example people with depression may tend to react more negatively or not react at all unlike the average person. That does not mean they are doing it for attention, they are doing it because of other reasons including that sometimes their hormone levels are different than the average person and this can cause their reactions to be different.
Myth: Children can’t have mental health problems
Fact: Children can also have mental health problems and sometimes even very young children show signs of this. Half of all mental health disorders show signs before the age of 14 and three quarters show signs before the age of 21. Sometimes parents or even people in general don’t realize this and the signs go unnoticed which is very unfortunate because if diagnosed early the child can get help before the mental health disorder starts interfering with other developmental needs.
Myth: People with mental health disorders are dangerous
Fact: If the disorder is diagnosed and is treated or being treated most people with these disorders are not likely to be more dangerous than anyone else. People with mental illnesses are not violent and in fact people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be the victim of a violent crime.
Myth: Therapy is a waste of time
Fact: Many people assume that therapy is useless and a total waste of time – why would anyone pay someone to listen to a bunch of petty problems? Why don’t they just take a pill instead? Different types of treatments help different types of people. It actually mainly depends on what the individual finds most effective. Many times prescribed medicine is combined with therapy to make it more effective. You must also remember that pills only take away the symptoms they don’t deal with the problem itself. Many people often find therapy very helpful.
Myth: Mental health disorders aren’t real illnesses
Fact: Just because you can’t always see the symptoms in X-rays or blood tests it doesn’t mean that mental health disorders aren’t real. They are just as real as any physical illness and just like physical illnesses it is just as important to seek help because they can start negatively effecting your everyday life. Mental illnesses are nothing to be ashamed of and it is truly sad how people often don’t take them as seriously.
“No one would ever say that someone with a broken arm or leg is less than a whole person, but people say that or imply that all the time about people with mental illnesses.”
Some mental health disorders can be very serious but that doesn’t mean you can’t beat them. To anyone suffering from a mental illness, just remember you are stronger than your disorder and you can fight it. Mental disorders do not define who you are as a person and there is nothing to be ashamed of if you need to seek help.
“True strength is smiling when you want to cry, laughing to hid the pain and going on no matter what”
“Mental illness is not contagious, you can’t catch it by being kind”
“Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist”
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