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Seven Myths About Mental Health Debunked

Posted June 11, 2018 by Joseph D. Varley, M.D., DFAPA, - Department of Psychiatry

Mental health is as complex as physical health. It can fluctuate up or down, it can be affected by genetics and physical trauma and is something that may require treatment by a medical professional.

In the US, one in five individuals is affected by a mental health condition. To address the stigma associated with mental health, here are seven myths, debunked:

  1. Only adults suffer with mental health disorders. One in 10 young people will experience a period of major depression. People of all ages can suffer from mental health conditions, even very young children. Did you know 50 percent of all mental health conditions begin to show symptoms by age 14? Early support and treatment is one of the most crucial elements of a successful recovery.
  2. Individuals suffering from a mental health disease are dangerous. On the contrary, people suffering from mental health conditions are four times more likely to experience some form of violence perpetrated against them. Symptoms of certain mental health conditions can be stressful, confusing and in some cases severe. A person suffering from a mental illness is in fact much more likely to harm themselves than others.
  3. Mental health issues are not the same as physical illness issues. While you may not be able to see the signs and symptoms of mental illness on the outside of the body, it does not mean it is any less painful than a physical injury. Mental health conditions can feel as bad, or even worse, than a physical injury and often require a medical professional’s diagnosis and treatment. Mental health conditions can also cause the body to feel actual pain. Stress from a mental illness can even cause your body to negatively react in a physical way.
  4. People with a mental health condition cannot maintain a job or school. Stressful situations can be difficult for everyone, not just those living with a mental illness. Research shows that up to 70 percent of people with common mental health conditions are working.
  5. Depression can be “willed” away. Depression is a very complex condition that is caused by a variety of factors, including: genes, physical illness or trauma and brain chemistry. You cannot “shake off” depression. It is a serious condition that can physically affect the body’s health and may require medication and/or a treatment plan.
  6. Mental health conditions are permanent. While some disorders do require a lifelong commitment to therapy, recovery and treatment plans and medications, innovations in the mental health system have made it possible to successfully treat many conditions. There are anxiety and depression disorders that can be treated and resolved with short-term medication. However, just because an individual feels better after a tailored, mental healthcare plan, never discontinue the use of medication or therapy treatments without the approval of your primary care physician.
  7. I can't do anything for a person with a mental health problem. One of the biggest hurdles in mental health is getting the proper diagnosis and care. Less than 20 percent of children and 45 percent of adults receive comprehensive treatment. Friends and family can be the biggest advocates for people who may not be able to advocate for themselves. They are usually the first people to notice unexplained, or unusual, behavior that deviates from a person's normal routine.

Mental health is an intricate system that can include a variety of conditions and diseases and the symptoms can be short term or long term. Individuals can experience a range of issues that can affect mood, behavior, cognitive processing and physical pain.

Summa Health Behavioral Health Institute can help you, or someone you love, experience relief from symptoms while gathering hope for new possibilities in life. With several practices throughout the Akron area and teams of dedicated psychiatrists and psychologists, those wanting psychiatric and psychological services can find treatment options.

We practice a patient-centered philosophy and are committed to meeting each patient’s mental health needs in a holistic manner. Most insurance companies are accepted. For more information, call 330.379.8190.



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