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Piecing Together Mental Health Myths: 5 Common Misconceptions Debunked

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by Egyptian Doctor, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

    Mar 21, 2011
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    When people are diagnosed with a physical health disorder (e.g. appendicitis, arthritis or diabetes), they typically do not think twice about seeking treatment for the condition or telling others that they are doing so. However, when people are diagnosed with a mental health disorder (e.g. ADHD, depression or anxiety), they may be less likely to seek professional help or talk to others about it. This appears to be due to common myths about mental health and mental health treatment that continue to exist despite years of research and practice that have shown them to be false. Below are five of those myths:

    Myth 1: Having a mental health issue means you are “crazy.”
    Having an infected appendix does not mean that you are appendicitis. In the same way, having a mental health issue does not mean that you are that issue. Instead, it means that you have a health issue that is interfering with the quality of your life and is in need of treatment and potential cure—nothing more.

    Myth 2: Mental health issues indicate a weakness of character.
    In reality, some of those experiencing mental health issues have proven to be of the strongest character. Take, for example, Abraham Lincoln, who suffered from severe depression with occasional thoughts of suicide, and Winston Churchill, who suffered from what we now call bipolar disorder. If these two leaders did not have strong character, then who in the world does? Mental health issues are not an indicator of weak character; they are, at most, an indicator of being human.

    Myth 3: People do not fully recover from mental health problems.
    Research by the World Health Organization suggests that even people with the most severe mental health issues can recover and become capable of independence and have significant roles in society. Some people who have recovered from behavioral health conditions may require ongoing treatment to maintain their recovery; however, they are no different from the many people who require ongoing medical treatments to maintain their recovery from a physical illness. Recovery that needs to be maintained with ongoing treatment is still recovery.

    Myth 4: Mental health issues in children are the result of bad parenting.
    There is no research to support the claim that bad parenting (or any other single factor) is to blame for mental health problems in children. What the research has shown over and again is that parents can play a very important role in their children’s recovery from mental health problems, no matter what their cause. Parents are to be commended—not blamed—for seeking professional assistance with their children’s mental health problems.

    Myth 5: Talking about mental health problems in therapy isn’t going to solve them.
    Research over the past half-century has shown that about two-thirds of people who have engaged in counseling and psychotherapy improve. It is certainly a possibility that a person presenting for psychotherapy will be in the one-third who is not helped, but with the chances of resolving mental health issues in psychotherapy being two times as great as not resolving them. It just makes good common sense to at least give therapy a try.



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