Even in today’s advanced world, mental health stigma is still misunderstood by the vast majority of the public. Many of us are quick to dismiss people with mental illness and wonder why they can’t “snap” out of it. But by ignoring a person’s mental condition, professionals’ believe it can significantly worsen their prognosis.
More than ever it’s important to talk about the facts. Below, Psych Central shared the top nine common myths 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. Think of it this way: Would you expect someone to will away their diabetes?
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.
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 productive lives. People with mental illness look and act like everyone else.
4. MYTH: Psychotherapy is like talking to a friend.
Fact: Therapy is a place to process your feelings with an objective professional who will compassionately collaborate with you to process your feelings, understand yourself and your relationships, improve your thinking and clarify your work and life vision.
5. MYTH: Seeking psychotherapy means you have “serious” problems
Fact: Seeing a therapist is healthy, normal, positive and proactive. Therapy can be valuable in various ways.
6. MYTH: Therapists tell you what to do.
Fact: Therapists don’t dole out advice. Instead, they help you help yourself. The goal of psychotherapy is to empower you with ways to deal with life issues, learn your triggers and build resiliency, so you can find well-being.
7. MYTH: Medication is enough to treat mental illness.
Fact: Research shows that psychotherapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), is highly effective for mental illness. But a combination of psychotherapy and medication also is effective.
8. MYTH: Having a parent with mental illness guarantees you’ll struggle, too.
Fact: Though you may inherit a predisposition to certain mental illnesses, you may never suffer the symptoms, and there are preventive measures you can take.
9. MYTH: Alcoholism and substance abuse are the result of poor lifestyle choices.
Fact: Addiction is a disease and its a biological, genetically-based disorder.
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