Maybe you consider yourself well-versed in mental health. You know, for example, that certain conditions are common. You recognize that it isn't your (or your loved one's) fault.
But despite all the impressive societal advancements we've made in mental health awareness, we still have a long way to go. Many people still don't receive the support or guidance they need. Furthermore, many loved ones feel frustrated by their situations.
If you're guilty of believing these myths about mental health, you're not alone. But understanding their function- while also realizing how harmful they may be- is an important step toward moving forward in recovery.
Myth: Mental Health Conditions = Medication
There's nothing wrong with taking psychiatric medication. In fact, it can be the first line of treatment for certain disorders. And when taken appropriately, it can drastically improve the quality of someone's life.
That said, some people automatically assume that medication is absolutely necessary for treating mental health issues. That's just not the case. Everyone is different, meaning we all respond to medication differently. What works well for one person may not yield the same results for someone else.
Additionally, it's important to remember that medication needs can change. For instance, some people benefit from a certain treatment regimen for a while. Then, they need to reevaluate the dosage and combination after a few months.
Myth: If Someone Isn't Progressing In Treatment, They Aren't Trying Hard Enough
Unfortunately, this myth runs rampant in mainstream society. People quickly assume that seeking proper treatment guarantees predictable success. So, if someone struggles, relapses, or otherwise doesn't progress in a linear direction, they're blamed for the setback.
This mindset can be incredibly discouraging. Recovery is a complex process, and even the best treatment is often challenging.
Instead of blaming the individual, it's far more helpful to look at the situation objectively. What barriers might they be facing? What limitations do they need to address? And finally, is it possible that you have unrealistic expectations about what their recovery should entail?
Myth: Mental Health Conditions Make People Violent
There is a link between violence and mental health. However, it isn't as simple as saying that mental health conditions cause violence. Instead, violence is often a response to numerous variables.
Many people live their entire lives without using aggression or force- despite their mental health status. Furthermore, even if they have impulses, they can implement emotional regulation to manage their distress.
Myth: Some Situations Are Hopeless
This myth only perpetuates damaging mental health stigmas. While some cases may be more severe than others, it's dangerous to assume that anyone is hopeless.
Change can happen, and recovery is always a possibility. The key often lies in accessibility and support. People need effective tools and resources available to them. Likewise, they need people who believe in their growth.
That said, timing is also important. It's certainly true that some people may not be ready to change their ways at a given time. But it's not fair to assume that they will never want change!
Myth: Mental Health Conditions Require Tough Love
Some people believe that they must manage their loved one's condition with rigid boundaries and inflexible structure. This mindset, however, almost always backfires.
People with mental health conditions do benefit from routines and boundaries. Loved ones can and should express their needs and expectations clearly. Likewise, they should be mindful of enabling problematic behavior.
However, it's important to be flexible and accommodating. More than anything, your loved one needs empathy and support. So, try to hone in on your active listening, compassion, and mindfulness skills to achieve that.
Myth: People With Mental Health Conditions Can't Function Normally
Some people assume that their loved ones can't live "normally" in society. They believe, in a sense, they will always struggle- or that they will always need extreme accommodations.
This kind of thinking can be damaging for everyone. Many people live meaningful lives despite their conditions. They enjoy healthy relationships, fulfilling work, and a positive sense of self-worth.
It's also important to explore your definition of "normal." After all, what does this term really mean to you? Because when you think about it, everyone has some struggle or adversity in life- we all have to overcome various obstacles at given times. Normal, in a sense, often represents a facade.
Myth: Mental Health Conditions Always Come From Trauma
Trauma is a significant risk factor in most mental health issues. Trauma can impact all areas of functioning, and it can significantly impact someone's emotional well-being.
However, the two aren't always connected. Plenty of people have mental health issues without any history of trauma. This assumption, however, can make individuals question their own reality- or feel guilty for having struggles "without a specific reason."
Myth: Parents Will Pass On Mental Health Conditions to Their Children
Mental health conditions can run in families. For example, research shows that 1 in 100 people has schizophrenia. But if both parents have schizophrenia, that number jumps to 45 in 100.
However, it's far too simplistic to assume that your children will automatically inherit your struggles. There are no single culprits for mental health conditions-instead, experts have identified numerous risk factors that may increase the likelihood of someone developing a particular issue.
With that in mind, people develop mental health conditions even if there isn't any existing family history. So you shouldn't rule out that your child may be struggling just because nobody else you know has that concern.
Getting The Support You Need
Mental health myths harm everyone. They can stunt an individual's recovery while also frustrating and scaring loved ones.
At Mental Health Transitions, we understand that recovery is a multifaceted process. We are here to support your family during this important time. We recognize that you have many options in seeking help, and we pride ourselves on offering unwavering compassion, professional guidance, and effective coping skills for everyone involved.
We are confident we can help you on your path to healing. Contact us today to learn more!