Battling mental illness is nothing short of fighting a war against other people’s reaction. Just like any physical ailment, mental illness affects the sufferer beyond we can even fathom. Mental illness is not the easiest subject to talk about, as it is shrouded in myths and misconceptions.
Here are the most common myths about mental illness that stand in the way of their timely diagnosis and treatment.
Myth#1: Mental illness goes away the moment you maneuver the way you think.
Well, just as a mild cold may go away with home remedies, a mild anxiety or depression can be managed without a doctor’s help. But a serious degree of mental illness needs treatment just like any other serious physical ailment. Seeking professional help for a mental illness is a sign of awareness, not weakness. Medicines, counseling, and other treatment modalities can significantly control symptoms and improve the quality of life in most cases.
Myth#2: You get a mental illness only if it runs in your family.
Family history increases your risk of getting a large number of diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and also some types of mental illnesses. But except for some strictly genetic disorders, almost all illnesses, including mental ones can occur in people without a family history because of environmental factors, or for no clear reasons.
Myth#3: People with mental illness are ‘different’.
There is no specific ‘type’ of people who suffer from mental illness. In fact, you might be acquainted with someone suffering from mental illness, and never even realize so. The reason is simple, a lot of people challenged with mental wellbeing do not look violent, gloomy, or unpredictable all the time.
Myth#4: Drug addiction happens to 'weak' people.
Drug addiction can happen to any person who takes them for an extended period. Just because somebody becomes addicted to drugs does not mean he or she is a weak person. With proper treatment, one can always come out clean of drug addiction and lead an entirely normal and healthy life.
Myth#5: Mental illnesses are rare.
Mental illnesses are extremely common. Talking about statistics, every sixth Indian needs mental health aid. Unfortunately, the number of people who come forward to seek treatment is much less. Depression
is the leading cause of suffering worldwide. So, mental illnesses are not rare exactly.
Considering the magnitude of its effects, mental illness requires intervention and empathy in the same manner as any other physical illness.