Misconceptions about mental health

  • People with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia are dangerous to themselves and others

The truth is that research and statistics show that incidences of violence in people with mental disorders such as schizophrenia are not much higher than the general population. More often than not, people who suffer from hallucinations, delusions and other things such as psychosis relating to mental illness are more scared and anxious than dangerous.

  • Mental illnesses are a result of bad parenting

There is much research that shows that people can be born with a genetic predisposition to developing common disorders such as depression and anxiety.  

This means that some people are born more likely to develop mental illnesses and although some environmental factors can be isolated, they are highly unlikely to be the only cause of mental illness. These environmental factors can also come from many different aspects of life, such as schooling, work, family, and personal experiences.

  • Depression is caused by a personality flaw and the person could choose to ‘snap out of it’ anytime if they chose to

Depression has been linked to chemical and neurotransmitter issues in the brain, this means that they can’t just be cured by will power. Even depression which is more situational has been linked with the situation causing a change in the brain function so any issues need to be dealt with before the sufferer can fully recover.

There is no personality flaw that causes depression. It occurs in people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, genders, socio-economic backgrounds and with all situations such as work. This means that it can happen to anyone, and everyone has different personality traits and it is impossible to narrow down a personality flaw that all these people share

  • Schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder are the same thing

These are in fact two very different disorders. I will try to explain them in more simple terms in order to explain the differences. 

Typically in cases of schizophrenia the sufferer can ‘hear’ voices of different people inside their head (auditory hallucinations). These people are often unable to figure out if the voices are ‘real’ or inside their own heads. The same happens with visual hallucinations.

In cases of multiple personality disorder the person totally changes their behaviour, attitudes and everything even down to their voice and sometimes gender and perceived age. 

Put very very very simply- schizophrenics see and hear other people, people with multiple personality disorder become other people. (This is not meant to offend anyone with mental illnesses, I am trying to explain to those who don’t know)

  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is painful, barbaric and used to treat brain disorders such as psychosis

ECT is rarely used anymore, and is mainly used for serious, treatment resistant depression. The people who now have it report that is changes their lives and can cause significant improvements in their life. When someone undergoes ECT they are sedated and have been given medication to prevent severe convulsions and the patient doesn’t remember any effects that happen to them. It is the same as having an operation on your chest or leg etc and being put under anesthetic. 

  • People with mental illnesses just need some medication and they will recover

In the majority of cases medication is used to help to treat illnesses but are mainly use to provide more stability to the persons mood or symptoms so that they can work on the illness through therapy or counselling. 

For some mental illnesses medication is the only way to control the symptoms but it is not as simple as just popping a pill and everything is better. It takes a lot of trial and error to get the correct medication and dosage to help control it and each new drug brings it’s own side effects and withdrawal effects which can be seriously problematic for the person taking them and cause many people to stop taking their medication before it is truly able to work for them.

  • People who self harm are suicidal

The majority of people who self harm, do it to try and keep themselves alive. They do it as a way to try to control their emotions and to prevent things from bottling up. Although people who self harm have a higher suicide risk than people who don’t, the act of self harming is not the same as attempting suicide and require different treatments

 

I will address more another time and possibly some of these in more depth

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