Misconceptions about mental health

Over recent years, I moved Mental health Slowly out of the shadows, after centuries of marginalization, our mental state is gradually receiving more and more attention it deserves, however, there are still many legends.

So here are a few common misconceptions:

in series Medical Myths Our own, tackling medical misinformation head-on, using expert insights and peer-reviewed research to wrestle fact from fiction, MNT brings clarity to the myth-ridden world of health journalism, as we approach World Mental Health Day on October 10.

Although the topic is receiving increasing attention and research, there are still many myths and misconceptions associated with mental health.

Unfortunately, there is still a huge stigma attached to mental health conditions, as much of this is based on old thinking and outdated assumptions. As with many things in life, the more information we arm ourselves with, the less likely we are to allow myths to color Our opinions.

In the not too distant past, people with mental illness were ostracized by society. Some people believe that evil spirits or divine retribution are responsible for mental illness, although this way of thinking has left society in many parts of the world, it is still cast a long shadow.

As the year 2020 continues unabated and the mental health of the world takes a beating, tackling the lies about our mental well-being is more urgent than ever.

Below, we explore a common misconception regarding mental health.


1. Uncommon mental health problems:

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the above statement was wrong, today the statement is farther from the truth than it has ever been.

In 2001, the World Health Organization (WHO), estimated that "1 in 4 people in the world will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives."

Currently, 450 million people suffer from such conditions, and as the World Health Organization has explained, mental disorders are “among the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide.”

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders, affecting more than 264 million people globally in 2017.

A more recent study focused on the United States, and concluded that the number of adults suffering from depression has tripled during the pandemic.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), another common mental disorder, affects an estimated 6.8 million adults in the United States, which equates to more than 3 in 100 people.

2. Panic attacks can be fatal.

Panic attacks are incredibly unpleasant, and involve a racing heart and an overwhelming sense of fear. However, it cannot be directly fatal.

However, it should be noted that a person experiencing a panic attack may be more prone to an accident. If someone is having a panic attack or feels like it is coming, finding a safe place can help mitigate these risks.

3. People with mental illness cannot work

There is an old but persistent myth that people with mental health issues cannot hold a job or be useful members of the workforce. This is completely wrong.

It is true that someone with a particularly severe mental health condition may not be able to perform regular work. However, the majority of people with mental health issues can be just as productive as individuals without mental disorders.

A US study published in 2014 looked at employment status according to the severity of mental illness. The authors found, as expected, "employment rates decreased with increasing mental illness severity."

However, 54.5% of critically ill individuals were employed, compared to 75.9% of subjects without mental illness, 68.8% of subjects with mild mental illness, and 62.7% of subjects with moderate mental illness.

When the researchers looked at the effect of age, they found that the employment gap between people with and without a mental health condition widened with age. In people aged 18-25, the difference in employment rates between those with the disease was Serious psychiatric and those with it were only 1%, but in the 50-64 category, the gap was 21%.

4. Mental health problems are a sign of weakness
This is no more true than saying that a broken leg is a sign of weakness. Mental health disorders are diseases, not signs of bad character. Likewise, people with depression, for example, can't "get out of it" any more than people with diabetes or psoriasis can recover. out of their condition immediately.

If anything, the opposite is true: Fighting a mental health condition requires a great deal of strength.

5- Only people who don't have friends need healers

There is a big difference between structured talk therapies and talking with friends. Both can help people with mental illness in different ways, but a trained therapist can tackle problems constructively and in ways that even best friends can't match.

Also, not everyone can fully open up to their nearest and dearest. Therapy is confidential, objective and completely focused on the individual, which is generally not possible in casual conversations with untrained friends.

In addition, some people do not have close friends. There are many possible reasons for this, and there is no reason to look at a person with disdain.

6. Persistent mental health problems

A mental health diagnosis is not necessarily a 'life sentence'; everyone's experience with mental illness varies.

Some people may have episodes in which they go back to their "normal" version. Others may find treatments -- medications or talk therapies -- that restore balance to their lives.

Some people may not feel as though they have fully recovered from a mental illness, and others may experience progressively worse symptoms.

However, the take-home message is that many people will recover to a greater or lesser degree.

It is also important to consider that "recovery" means different things to different people. Some may view recovery as a return to exactly how they felt before symptoms began. For others, recovery may be relief from symptoms and a return to a fulfilling life, however different.

Mental Health America, a community nonprofit, explains:

“Recovering from mental illness involves not just getting better but achieving a full and fulfilling life. Many people assert that their journey to recovery has not been a straight and steady path, but rather that there are ups and downs, new discoveries, and setbacks,” they continued:

7- Addiction is a lack of will.

This statement is incorrect, experts consider substance use disorders as well as chronic diseases.

A paper in Addictive Behavior Reports summarizes a qualitative, longitudinal study examining the relationship between willpower and addiction recovery.

The researchers found that a lack of willpower was not the deciding factor when it came to beating an addiction. they write:

“It appears that people with addiction do not lack willpower; instead, recovery depends on developing strategies to maintain willpower by:
Environment control.

8. People with schizophrenia have a split personality and this is a myth

Schizophrenia means "split mind," which may explain the misunderstanding. However, when Eugene Bleuler coined the term in 1908, he was also trying to "capture the disintegration and disintegration of mind and behavior as the core of the disorder."

Schizophrenia is "characterized by distortions in thinking, perception, emotions, language, sense of self, and behavior." These distortions can include hallucinations and delusions. Schizophrenia is not unlike dissociative identity disorder, which used to be called multiple personality disorder.

9- Eating disorders affect only females

There is a stereotype that eating disorders are the domain of young, white, wealthy women, however, it can affect anyone.

For example, a study that looked at the demographics of eating disorders over a 10-year period found that they are shifting, with the largest increases in prevalence occurring among males, individuals from low-income households, and people aged 45 or older.

According to other research, males currently account for 10-25% of all cases of anorexia and bulimia as well as 25% of cases of binge eating disorder.

10. Eating disorders are a lifestyle choice

This is a harmful myth. Eating disorders are considered a serious mental health condition, and in extreme cases they can be fatal.

11- All people with mental illness are violent

Fortunately, as the world becomes more aware of mental health conditions, this misconception is slowly fading away. Even individuals with the most serious conditions, such as schizophrenia, are often nonviolent.

It is true that some people with certain mental illnesses can become violent and unpredictable, but they are in the minority.

The authors of a review that investigates the links between mental health and violence help explain why this myth has gained strength over the years:

He continues, "However, people with some types of mental disorders are more likely to be violent than others in the general population - an uncomfortable fact for many in the mental health sector."

“While there is little evidence to suggest that people with mental illnesses in general (usually those diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorders) have any increased risk of committing violent acts compared to the general population, higher rates of interpersonal violence have been identified. Those with certain types of severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.”

However, Sir Thornycroft explains that these rates are moderately raised compared to the general population, and has written that rates of violence are significantly higher in people with "triple morbidity", for example, individuals with severe mental disorder, substance use disorder , and antisocial personality disorder.

In short, mental health conditions are common, but treatment is available We must all work together to remove the myths and stigma associated with mental disorders Even though society's understanding of mental health issues is in full swing compared to just a decade ago, no We still have mountains to climb.

Read also | «Reasons why vacations are good for your health»

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