Myths about mental illness

Few Myths that one needs to stop believing about mental illness. You get sick. You go to the doctor. The doctor tells you how to treat it. You treat it — right? For mental illness, it’s not always that simple. Treatment can involve a lot of factors, including finding a therapist who you can consult for venting out, changing up your schedule, and finding the right combination of pills. And whether it’s self-imposed or from friends or family, the stigma surrounding medicating mental illness can be another hurdle, making people feel like using this the treatment option is somehow “giving up.” But medical treatment can’t be replaced with any other help. Finding the right medication can be complicated, you should never be ashamed of how you treat your illness. To learn more, we asked our Be Swasth team of doctors to tell us what they think are the biggest misconceptions about treating mental illness with medication. Myth #1: It’s the easy way out. “Finding the right medicines and taking them timely is a huge commitment of time, focus, precision and effort. Nothing about depression and anxiety is easy. There are days where one doesn’t want to get out of bed but trying to fix things your own isn’t the best solution sometimes. Medication saves life and deteriorates mental health. Medication is not a cop-out; it’s only one of many tools in one’s arsenal to get by day today. Myth #2: It’s different than taking medication for a physical disease. Medication for mental illness is not different from a diabetic taking sugar control medicines. It’s all about hormone functioning at the end. If you have an imbalance, you have an imbalance, whether it’s in your brain or somewhere else in your body. It’s OK to need medication. People think they should be able to handle their illnesses without medicine. In reality, without medicine, the illnesses starts to control the person. Myth #3: When you start taking medication, your recovery “work” is done. Therapy helps, meds help. You need both to recover. You don’t choose medication instead of therapy or prayer or anything. Usually, if you suffer from anxiety, you would have tried all of the above. Stick with what works for you which may be a combination of things. People assume anxiety medications are a ‘magic fix’ symptom. They play a role but one must go the extra mile with therapy and organizational effort. Myth #4: They’re all “happy pills.” Taking medicine for depression and anxiety doesn’t assure that one will be happy all the time. It doesn’t work like that. They just reduce the trigger threshold for my anxiety and make those lows not so low. Sometimes, there’s no ‘fixing’ mental illness. There’s functioning and surviving it. Myth #5: Taking medication makes you weak. “Taking medication for mental illness isn’t a display of weakness, it shows how strong you are. You will constantly be told to ‘tough it out’ or that you need to ‘try harder or that you are using them to cope instead of ‘learning how to handle normal emotions. Taking medication isn’t a weakness, it’s what you can do to help yourself feel strong again.