According to the World Health Organization, one in four people suffers from mental health problems every day. However, stigma still surrounds mental health talk. This stigma stems from wild misconceptions about mental health, which adds to the reason why it worsens for people who have it.
The American Psychological Association reports that suicide trends in the USA have drastically risen over the last years. Luckily, more Americans seem to be more open in talking about mental health. That is a perfect sign. We need to first educate ourselves about the issue and open a platform for people with mental health problems to freely express their grievances in jumpstart a collective understanding of mental health. We can do this by battling the myths surrounding mental health. Here are 3 common mental health issues Americans face and the misconceptions behind them.
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Definition: Depression is a serious medical condition that causes feelings of sadness and worthlessness that can lead to physical and emotional problems. Depression can drastically affect people’s relationships and motivations. It has led millions of people to take their own life.
Misconception: Depression is all in your head.
Explanation: People who say this inadvertently undermines the effect of depression on people. Depression is a biological, social, and psychological disorder. No one can choose to turn it off or ignore it so it will go away.
Depression symptoms can only be alleviated and not cured. But with ample treatment and support from family and friends, you can actually battle depressive thoughts.
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Definition: Anxiety Disorder is an umbrella term for illnesses that cause severe fear and worry on people which in turn can affect their social interactions, self-worth, and worldviews. Anxiety Disorders are overwhelming to the people who have them and can be incapacitating in many situations.
Misconception: Anxiety is just nervousness.
Explanation: Anxiety is more than just being nervous. Anxiety is nerve-racking fear brought on by traumatic events or environmental stress. Anxiety can cripple people into not doing anything for fear of being hurt or judged.
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Definition: Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes extreme mood swings from hypomania (too energetic, happy, or irritable) to depression. These mood swings can happen in a matter of hours or even days and can affect a person’s relationships and judgment.
Misconception: People with bipolar disorders are just moody.
Explanation: To say that bipolar episodes are merely mood swings unknowingly minimizes the struggle of people with bipolar disorder. Moods can last for a few minutes or hours; bipolar episodes can last for weeks or months on end. Unlike some mental illnesses, bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that people have to face; however, with the right treatment and medication, bipolar can be managed. Solid support systems like family and friends who understand mental health can also help the person manage bipolar disorder.
Educating ourselves about mental health is a bold first step to understanding and coping with it. Even if we feel like we don’t have mental issues, we may have deep-seated problems that go unresolved simply because we don’t know how to acknowledge them. We can also avoid having this issue by quitting these evening addictions, and busting mental health myths helps not only people we know who have mental health problems, but it also paves the way for us to understand ourselves better.