In the past few years, people have become more open to talking about mental illness. The New York City Mayor’s Office reports that one in five residents experience at least one of these conditions a year. But despite the growing conversations around the topic, there are still many prevalent myths and misconceptions regarding mental illness. In this article we will talk about some of them and explain why they aren’t true:
People with mental illness are violent
The general public mistakenly associates mental illness with violence. But our past post titled ‘Schizophrenia Episode Caught on Security Camera’ shows that this is far from the truth. Just because people are mentally ill doesn’t mean they are more likely to cause violence compared to the average person.
Though psychosis may cause individuals to become more violent, this isn’t always the case. When the psychotic episodes pass, so do the violent tendencies. This myth is dangerous to those who have a mental illness because it will lead to people treating them unfairly. It is important to realize that those suffering from these conditions do not act out when unprovoked.
Mood swings mean you have bipolar disorder
People can sometimes experience fluctuating moods but this doesn’t mean they suffer from a mental illness. SymptomFind explains how people who are bipolar go through intense emotional and behavioral changes. These shifts can last anywhere from hours to weeks. They often switch from experiencing mild to severe mania to severe depression.
Compared to normal mood swings, these symptoms are much more debilitating and persistent. They can often affect an individual’s tasks, relationships with others, and their actions. Calling common mood swings “bipolar disorder” negates the severity of the condition. This misconception can also lead to people self-diagnosing instead of seeking professional help. If you believe that you are bipolar, it is important to find a psychologist or psychiatrist who can help diagnose and treat you.
You can always power through anxiety
Anxiety is another thing that almost everyone will experience. But those with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) may have symptoms so severe they become debilitating. Harvard Health Publishing writes that those with GAD often feel upsetting physical manifestations of their condition.
They can experience different physiological symptoms like headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, shakiness, or stomach pain. Paired together with overthinking, dread, and general fear, GAD can prevent individuals from functioning properly. While not everyone with the condition will experience debilitating symptoms, those who do will find that it is difficult to ignore their extreme feelings.
Only weak people can be diagnosed with mental illness
This myth cannot be farther from the truth. Mental illness isn’t dictated by a person’s inner strength. In reality, it can be caused by many things like trauma, genetics, substance abuse, and even chronic hormonal illnesses.
The negative stigma on mental health and how they relate to a person’s resilience can detract individuals from seeking help. Because these conditions can be caused by a multitude of things, it is important to find a professional who can help properly manage the condition. De-stigmatizing mental illness will help those who suffer from it feel more accepted and encourage society to take better care of their mental health.
Mental illness misconceptions need to be corrected. Everyone, regardless of their mental health diagnosis, deserves dignity, acceptance, and respect.
Written by: JBarkworth