The mental health field is one that is not fully understood. Unlike bodily concerns that can sometimes be cured or fixed, this is not always the case when dealing with the brain. Frankly, mental health myths are plentiful, and people believe things that could be dangerous if they don’t get the treatment they need.
There is a great deal of complexity when it comes to dealing with the mind. Many people doubt the existence of these problems because it cannot be seen with the naked eye. Thus, many misconceptions floating around.
Mental health-related illnesses have always had a great deal of stigma attached to them. However, things that appear to be “all in your head” can be just as severe as battling a significant illness like cancer or Parkinson’s disease. It’s best to dispel any rumors and misinformation floating around about mental illness by combating it with the truth.
Myths Regarding Mental Illness
What myths regarding mental health have you believed? Here is a list of the most popular misconceptions among the general population. Hopefully, this will open your eyes so that you don’t believe falsehoods that could damage you or someone you love.
Myth #1. People Who Need Help Are Weak
Sadly, some people believe that those who have mental health issues are weak or lacking. The reality is that your brain can become sick, just like any other part of your body. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but one of strength.
Myth #2. Mental Illness Can Be Cured
You can’t take a magic pill and your mental illness will all go away. It’s not like a broken bone that you can put in a cast, and it will heal. Some mental conditions are circumstantial and only last for a short while.
One such example is depression after a loved one’s death. However, many people who have depression suffer from it for a lifetime. The truth is that you can get better and learn practical coping skills to deal with your mental illness, but you won’t ever be cured.
Myth #3. ADHD Just Shows Bad Parenting or Diet
One of the biggest mental health myths is that ADHD is caused by bad parenting or a poor diet. Children who eat junk food and aren’t disciplined are perceived to develop this mental problem.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can happen to any child, regardless of who their parents. According to Healthy Children, this is a neurobiological condition that can because by many things such as environment, head injuries, genetics, and brain anatomy and function.
Myth #4. Your Life Is Over If You Have Mental Illness
It’s undoubtedly hard to deal with mental illness, and it takes some time to adjust. However, your life is nowhere close to being over. It would help if you learned a new reality that alters life as you knew it, but it’s something you learn to live with.
Myth #5. Being Mentally Ill Just Excuses Bad Behaviors
There is no excuse for bad behavior, even if you have a mental health diagnosis. Some people do things that are out of the realm of being normal when they have specific mental issues, but it doesn’t make it right.
For instance, a kleptomaniac may take things that don’t belong to them for the thrill of it all, but it’s a reason and not an excuse. Many of the issues that this person fights are because they struggle with impulse control. So, while a mentally ill person might do things that are wrong or even illegal, there is no excuse for it.
Myth #6. Self-Care Can Cure Mental Illness
Self-care is a beautiful thing that everyone should practice. It can be helpful if you have a mental illness like anxiety or depression to learn to take care of your needs. However, one of the many mental health myths is that people think with self-care that they can cure their issues.
Myth #7. Anxiety and Worry Are the Same Thing
Worry is a common problem as life is stressful. However, when you can’t let go of the concern and ruminate about your problems, you can develop generalized anxiety.
Nevertheless, you must know that worry and anxiety are not the same. A chemical imbalance causes anxiety in the brain.
Many people believe the infamous mental health myths that states you only need to go to the doctor once if you have a mental condition. Medicine is a practice, which means it hasn’t been perfected. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could take two pills and it would all go away?
Sadly, mental health doesn’t work that way. It would help if you had a good doctor or team helping you and that can stay with you for the long haul.
Myth #9. Counseling Is Too Expensive
Many people avoid counseling because they fear that they can’t pay for it. While it may cost $100 an hour in some locations, insurance covers most of these visits. in 2010, all of that changed when the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was passed.
All major medical carriers are required by law to offer mental health coverage to their clients. The chances are that you can get counseling for little to nothing out of pocket.
Myth #10. You Should Never Discuss Your Mental Health Issues with Others
Wrong! If you have an issue that is bothering you, you must tell those closest to you. How different would the world be if people spoke up about their mental decline rather than trying to hide it? How many suicides could it prevent?
Myth #11. Depressed People Are Lazy
A depressed person might be lazy by nature, but it’s one of the most common mental health myths that depression is nothing more than laziness. Despair makes you unable to do what you love to do, and you may have a hard time getting out of bed. This chemical imbalance can wreak havoc on your life.
Myth #12. Parents Can Prevent Mental Illness
This is a mostly false myth, but there is a bit of truth in it. First, if a parent is an alcoholic, drug addict, or abusive, it can lead to problems for a child as they grow. However, in a traditional home setting, parents don’t have the power to change the brain chemistry.
Parents can certainly step in and help to make the situation better, but there is no way they can prevent a genetic, predisposed brain disorder.
Myth #13. Getting Advice from A Counselor Is the Same as Getting Advice from Friends
You may have the best friends in the world, and they may give great advice. Regrettably, they are probably not trained as a counselor. Did you know that to be a psychologist takes years of college and training?
According to Indeed, it can take you up to 12 years once you graduate high school to be working as a clinical counselor. It would stand to reason that the trained person would be much more apt to give advice worth listening to.
Myth #14. Mental Health Is A Sign of Selfishness
A mentally ill person isn’t selfish at all. These people cannot help what their brain is doing. They would love nothing more than to have a “normal” day, but they are trapped in a vicious cycle that is problematic.
Myth #15. OCD Isn’t Real These People Just Pay Attention to Details
One of the most offensive mental health myths is that people who have OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder are just super clean or pay attention to details. That myth is based on one side of the illness, but this anxiety-based condition has many facets.
A person with OCD may click the locks a certain number of times or only walk on one side of the room. They have many superstitions that are driven by their heightened anxiety. While they certainly can be a person who pays attention to every detail, this condition goes far beyond being tidy.
It’s hard to separate fact from fiction when dealing with mental health issues. Sweeping issues concerning your mental health under the rug will only make things worse, not better. The stigma that’s been attached to mental health is finally starting to lift a bit.
People are beginning to realize that they need to care for their brain, just like they would cancer or diabetes. It’s good to have a strong support system, but you can’t let your friends and relatives decide your mental care. Only a licensed counselor, psychiatrist, or medical doctor should help you in these matters.
Finally, don’t let the mental health myths that are swirling around stop you from getting the help you need. There are medications and various types of therapy that can help you start feeling like you again. The sooner you get help, the better you will feel. Additionally, many conditions are treatable, though they’re not curable.