How Can We Break the Stigma Around Medication for Mental Illnesses?

How Can We Break the Stigma Around Medication for Mental Illnesses?

January 13, 2020

How Can We Break the Stigma Around Medication for Mental Illnesses?

Anxiety Depression Dual Diagnosis Mental Health

How Can We Break the Stigma Around Medication for Mental Illnesses?

In the last hundred years, we’ve come such a far way in understanding and treating mental illnesses and neuropsychiatric conditions. Even in the last 30 years, much progress has been made.

However, we are still a long way off. This has to do with our limited understanding of the human brain. Sadly, there is also still a certain stigma surrounding these conditions and those taking medication for mental illnesses.

Of course, this can be very hurtful. However, perhaps through communication, we can get past the misunderstandings. Read ahead to learn more about the stigma and how to dismantle it.

History of Psychiatry

The earliest known mention of psychiatric conditions comes from the Ebers Papyrus. It is an ancient Egyptian text containing the descriptions and treatments for hundreds of conditions. It was written in around 1500 BC, making it one of the oldest medical texts to survive into the modern era.

We use the Ebers Papyrus to learn about how ancient physicians diagnosed and treated disease.

In particular, this text describes depression and dementia. Tell that to whoever thinks depression is some new-age thing made up by millennials to get out of work.

A Shameful History

You would think that if physicians first began talking about these conditions thousands of years ago, we should have made steady progress since then. However, this was certainly not the case.

Throughout history, people have been woefully incapable of understanding mental illness. Oftentimes, it was believed that these conditions were the result of demonic possession. Some thought they were happened because of sin committed in a past life.

Regardless of what they considered to be the cause, these people were often shunned by society, to say the least. Spanish painter, Franciso de Goya, depicts the nightmarish reality of asylums in the early 1800s.

A Long Way to Go

We like to think that we’re a long way removed from those times. However, psychiatric institutions were very lacking in the 1900s and stories of underfunded centers continue to exist.

Even if appropriate treatments exist, we still have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to confronting the social stigma around depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and many other common conditions.

You’re Not Alone

One of the common things we hear from people going through these types of situations is the sensation of loneliness. Oftentimes, they feel as though none of their friends and families can understand what they are going through.

Well, there may even be some truth to it. Perhaps, your family and friends really don’t understand because they have never been through it. On the other hand, maybe they have but they never learned how to talk about it.

Most, if not all of us, have certain feelings we want to express. However, we stay silent because we don’t know what to say or we feel embarrassed to say it.

Learning How to Talk About It

It can be extremely difficult for people to talk about psychiatric conditions in themselves or in family members. Heck, some people have a really hard time talking about their feelings at all.

This can be particularly true in people from older generations or certain cultures. They might associate these conditions with weakness or some other personal fault.

However, we now know that these conditions have nothing to do with mental toughness or anything like that.

Living with Anxiety

We all get anxiety from time to time. It a natural part of being an animal.

However, most of us don’t have to worry about hiding from lions and bears so we could probably be living with a little less anxiety.

In fact, anxiety-related disorders are the most common type of psychiatric condition in the world. Millions of people are receiving treatment and learning strategies for coping with anxiety.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an extremely common problem that is, unfortunately, very misunderstood. It occurs most frequently in childhood but can appear at any time in life.

For people without the disorder, it can be a challenge to comprehend how someone can have trouble paying attention and/or getting tasks done. Some people even think those with ADHD might just be lazy.

However, ADHD is a very real condition that has been described by researchers down to its pathophysiology. If you think you or someone you know might have ADHD, you should speak to a medical professional about getting help.

Psychotic Disorders

This refers to a variety of disorders that can lead to psychosis, a condition characterized by abnormal thinking and hallucinations. Examples of conditions that can lead to psychosis include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, delusional disorder, and major depression with psychotic features.

These experiences can very traumatic. Sadly, people can be confused or even scared by people with these conditions.

However, our understanding is beginning to improve and there is treatment available.

Taking Medication for Mental Illness

Mental medication comes in many forms depending on the ailment. Seroquel, Prozac, and Adderall are some of the most well-known drugs used in psychiatry.

Many people living with mental disorders may feel hopeless and alone. However, there is something that can be done.

Should I Take Anxiety Medication?

Despite the fact that it is normal to feel anxiety in certain situations, it can be harmful. This is especially true if it persists over months and years.

Speak to your doctor if you’ve been feeling anxious. They can help you decide if mental health medication is right for you and, ideally, they can present you with various options.

Standing Up to the Stigmas

Statistically, you or someone you know is struggling with a mental condition in this very moment. Even if you are not aware of someone close to you there is no excuse to ignore the problem of stigma as a society.

Just like any other type of condition, there is medication for mental illness. Spread hope by speaking to your loved one about their feelings and get the help you need.

If you or a loved one struggle with mental health and would like to take charge, Invictus Health offers inpatient mental health treatment. Learn more or call now.

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