Lately, there is a lot of fuss on the topic of mental health. Worldwide, notions and concepts are being challenged as scientific findings shape the view of academics and research. It’s no secret that people still hold imaginary and crazy views about psychology, with most in non-urban settings still classifying it as mythical. Other more modern conspiracy theorists believe it’s a trick played by pharmaceutical industries to garner more money in the name of medications.
We’re not going to discuss common sense and whether people ‘believe’ in realistic facts such as psychological health. What we’re going to do is debunk myths pertaining to psychiatry, psychiatric problems and false assumptions people hold regarding them.
So, let’s get down to debunking myths regarding mental health:
1. Mental Disorders Only Affect Some People
As per studies, 450 million people worldwide are affected by severe forms of clinically diagnosed mental disorders and psychiatric problems. While this number is of only those who have referred themselves to clinics for treatment, the real numbers are fairly higher. According to WHO, every 1 out of 4 people is affected by mental illness at some or another point in their lives.
Following the findings of studies done in recent years, researchers have found that almost 264 million people are suffering from depression alone. Although symptoms range from mild to severe cases of dysthymia, people from all around the world face depression and anxiety. Therefore, we can safely debunk the myth of mental diseases being uncommon as false.
2. People with Mental Disorders Can’t Lead Stable Lives
One of the most common myths and stigmas people attach with mental problems is that they’re untreatable and incurable. People believe that mental illnesses affect all aspects of your being and consequently, patients can’t become productive members of a community.
This is false as researchers have revealed how the ratio of people still holding down stable jobs is not that far apart. As per research, 54.5% of the total corporate employees interviewed were patients of clinically diagnosed mental disorders.
Individuals facing mental diseases are likely to encounter problems such as lack of interest, determination, motivation, etc. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t have a chance of leading normal lives.
3. Panic and Anxiety Attacks Are Either Unreal or Fatal
Some people believe that panic and anxiety attacks are either unreal or fake. Others who recognize this sometimes hold the opinion that they can be fatal.
Both of these notions are wrong. It’s important to know that they are fairly real and more common than people might like to think. However, they are, fortunately, not fatal. You can’t die due to a panic or anxiety attack. However, in certain situations when sufferers of the attack are driving, climbing or descending the stairs, etc., there are chances that a sudden panic attack results in an accident.
Panic attacks and anxiety attacks are something you shouldn’t take lightly though. They can worsen over time and become overwhelmingly impossible to control without treatment.
4. Patients with Psychological Problems Are Inherently Weak
On the contrary, patients with psychological problems are mostly people who have a conscious understanding of their objective situation. Living in a dystopian, depressive, unproductive and exploitative reality WITH a mental disorder requires more strength and determination than living without them. Therefore, people who’re dealing with mental problems are already ‘stronger’ than those who don’t.
5. People with Friends Don’t Need Therapists/Talking is a Substitute for Therapy
Considering therapy to be nothing but a talking session is the biggest misconception in the mind of even those who accept scientific knowledge. People assume that those who have friends can get by without ever needing therapy. Ultimately oblivious to the scientific process of how therapies work and disregarding years of education and training a therapist goes through, people risk their mental health getting worse by accepting advice from untrained ‘friends’.
It’s true that having friends and someone to talk to can help an individual through tough times. However, this isn’t an alternative or substitute for therapy that involves in-detail, careful and specific observations that the untrained and unprofessional mind can’t possibly make.
6. Mental Problems Are Permanent
A psychological diagnosis isn’t a permanent judgment or a part of your personality. Just because you have depression doesn’t mean that you’re generally a depressive person. Similarly, suffering from anxiety doesn’t make you an anxious person overall.
Like we discussed above, mental disorders aren’t necessarily permanent. While there are cases in which patients don’t completely return to the state they never felt symptoms in, recovery is different for everyone else. You might not be the same as you were before. However, you can be sure that you will feel better than you are right now if you seek proper treatment.
Psychologists in Dubai define recovery as the state in which the patient is actually able to live a stable and happy life. This is something that can vary in terms of what it means for different people, the time they take to achieve this, the manner in which they pursue their goals and later life.
7. Addiction is a Behavioral or Psychological Phenomenon
People think addiction is a psychological or behavioural problem, i.e. once a person becomes addicted, there’s no going back. However, we need to look at facts to understand that we’re all injected with the same drugs whenever we go to the hospital. In fact, the drugs we get in institutes are in a much purer form. So, why aren’t we all addicted to drugs after being discharged from the hospital?
To cut it short, addiction isn’t a psychological phenomenon, meaning it’s not something in the mind that stops or starts replicating the same behaviours. Similarly, it’s not a behavioural phenomenon, i.e. no one learns addiction over time.
Addiction is entirely an environmental problem as its leading causes lie in the atmosphere and environment that the addict lives in.
The “Rat Park” experiments done in the 1970s proved that when animals live in a community that provides them with their basic needs along with a sense of connection, they don’t resort to self-harm. It’s only when you put them inside a cage that they’ll feel like life has no meaning and, therefore, shouldn’t be lived. As a result, we see rats in the cage constantly going for the suspended bottle of heroin.
8. Eating Disorders Are Unhealthy Habits
Eating disorders are not related to unhealthy habits. Even people who’re fitness freaks can face situations that result in them developing eating disorders. Similarly, eating disorders aren’t just about eating too much or too little. It comprises various states in which the individual doesn’t intake the right amount of food that their bodies need.
For those who don’t take it seriously enough, eating disorders can sometimes result in deaths. Though the means they achieve that end may vary, causes for eating disorders that lead to this can vary. People can develop eating disorders due to constant exposure to stressful situations, traumatic events, uncomfortable circumstances, etc. Explicitly speaking, dysfunctional family cases, poor self-image or esteem, irregular hormonal functions, genetics, nutritional deficiencies, childhood traumas, cultural or social pressure, etc., are prominent causes of eating disorders.
9. Schizophrenia Causes Split-Personalities
Schizophrenia is a significant problem for patients as well as professionals of psychiatry in Dubai and all over the world. Modern studies have confirmed that schizophrenia is
- Not a state, but a spectrum with symptoms ranging from irregular speech to severe catatonia
- Not related to multiple personality/split personality or dual identity disorders.
- ·Not a mental disorder that causes patients to perpetrate violence.
- Not caused by bad parenting
- Not something that transfers genetically.
- Not a mental disorder for the weak or fragile, or people who aren’t smart.
- Not a condition that mandates hospitalisation.
- Not an incurable or untreatable condition
Although these are some of the myths that are completely false, there’s a plethora of misunderstandings people have regarding mental health. It’s crucial that we become actively supportive of patients suffering from various mental problems rather than stigmatising and declaring them outcasts.
If you or anyone you know is facing any mental problem, we recommend getting in touch with the best psychologist in Dubai to have the ideal treatment. Your chances of recovering are never zero. However, you can cause the problem to worsen over time as long as you keep delaying treatment.