Thursday, May 10, 2012

Myths About Mental Illness

Even in today’s advanced world, there’s still much misunderstanding surrounding mental illness. Many of us are quick to dismiss people with mental illness as inferior or wonder why they can’t just snap out of it. Many of us also rarely believe that mental illness merits the same understanding and compassion as medical illnesses such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease.

A lack of understanding can have devastating effects such as preventing some people from accessing support and professional help and it can cause feelings of shame and secrecy, which can significantly worsen a person’s condition as well as their prognosis — even to a point of being life-threatening,

That’s why it’s so important to talk about the facts and get accurate information about mental illness.
1. Myth: Having a mental illness means you’re weak.

Fact: Having a mental illness has nothing to do with strength, and it can’t be willed away, according to Deborah Serani, PsyD, psychologist and author of Living with Depression. Think of it this way: Would you expect someone to will away their diabetes? In addition and to the contary, seeking help for mental illness takes strength — especially in today’s society. Despite research showing how mental illness is a real medical illness, society continues to stigmatize people who have them.

2. Myth: Anyone who behaves erratically is “bipolar” or “borderline.”

Fact: Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder are complex biopsychosocial disorders that can usually be successfully managed through a combination of psychotherapy and medication. But many people, even religious leaders, assume that individuals who display different aspects of their personality or behave irrationally are “bipolar” when this simply is not the case.

3. Myth: People with a mental illness don’t lead productive lives.

Fact: People with a mental illness who receive treatment with therapy and medication can live full, enjoyable and very productive lives. This includes highly educated and successful people who have mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders or substance abuse. In fact many high-profile people also have struggled with mental illness, including Harrison Ford, Halle Berry and Terry Bradshaw. “People with mental illness look like you and me and very well may be you and me at various points in our lives. We all have issues and nobody is immune from the effects of mental illness on ourselves, our friends, our families and our communities.

4. Myth: Seeking therapy means you have “serious” problems.

Fact: Seeing a therapist is healthy, normal, positive and proactive. Therapy can be valuable in various ways. For instance, it can teach you strategies to process your emotions and cope with life stressors, help identify and change negative beliefs or patterns in your life and understand more about your behaviors, relationships and yourself.

5. Myth: Medication is enough to treat mental illness.

Fact: Research shows that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), is highly effective for mental illness, said John Duffy, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens. A combination of therapy and medication also is effective.

6. Myth: Alcoholism and substance abuse are the result of poor lifestyle choices.

Fact: Addiction is a disease. It’s a biological, genetically-based disorder. Its hallmark is progressive use in the face of adverse consequences such as effects on school or work, health, finance, legal, relationships. With mental illness, there’s no “us” vs. “them.” Mental illness touches everyone.

Positive Change Hypnosis