While we’ve made a lot of progress, there is still some stigma surrounding anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD and more. So, let’s make this new year one of a new outlook.
Dr. Vinay Saranga is a psychiatrist and founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry. He says there are nine myths surrounding mental issues:
Mental illness isn’t real: According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. Mental illness is very real and is accompanied by many uncomfortable and debilitating symptoms.
Mental illness only occurs in weak people: Mental illness can happen to anyone. It’s not about how smart or strong you are. It’s usually a result of an imbalance of certain brain chemicals, is hereditary, due to your environment or in response to specific life events and circumstances.
You can ‘just get over it:’ Telling someone with anxiety or depression to “snap out of it” or “just get over it” is one of the worst things you can say. It diminishes the severity and seriousness of the condition, makes it sound like you don’t believe what they are going through, and knocks down their self-esteem.
Anxiety is just nerves: Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric conditions and include OCD, panic disorder, PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder. Sometimes anxiety is in response to a specific set of circumstances that are quickly addressed and resolved. Other times, anxiety can become a real psychiatric condition that must be addressed for a lifetime.
Depression is just a bad case of the blues: Depression involves much more than just feeling sad. It’s a serious psychiatric condition that leaves the sufferer feeling tired, hopeless, at a higher risk of suicide, problems with appetite, feeling guilty, loss of self-worth and aches and pain.
Stress is not a big deal: Life is chaotic and all the craziness usually manifests itself as stress. Unfortunately, many people play this off as nothing to worry about. Stress is a very big deal and can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and more. Learning to deal with stress is important for your mental and physical health
Antidepressants and antianxiety meds are handed out like candy: The truth is, many general practitioners and family doctors write too many prescriptions for psychiatric medications instead of referring their patients to a psychiatrist. Nonetheless, these medications are a lifesaver for people who are truly suffering from anxiety and depression.
My ADHD is kicking in: Joking about ADHD is not funny. We’ve seen a spike in the diagnoses of ADHD in recent times, many times an incorrect diagnosis at that. ADHD is a real neurodevelopmental disorder that occurs in children, young adults and can go on into adulthood.
My OCD is kicking in: OCD is often used to describe someone who is super organized, a neat freak or checks things over and over again. The truth is, OCD is a real anxiety disorder that severely interrupts a person’s ability to function unless certain rituals or sequences are followed.
So… let’s stop judging each other, and instead support each other. Who couldn’t use a friend?
Haus of V is a creative collective that shares a similar mindset -- with a twist.