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Breaking the Stigma: Myths and Facts about Mental Illness

Breaking the Stigma: Myths and Facts about Mental Illness

Millions of people struggle with mental illness, but the stigma surrounding it in Western culture, fueled by the harmful myths that circulate, discourages many people from getting the help they need to live happy, functional lives.

Many of these myths are surprisingly persistent; you may even believe some of them yourself. The providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center explain more about the most common myths about mental illness and the facts that debunk them.

Myth: Mental illness is less serious than physical illness

Fact: Mental illness has a major impact on your physical health and can make you feel worse.

Your mind, body, and spirit are all connected. When one is out of balance, the others suffer, too.

Having an illness like depression or something thought of as more serious, like bipolar disorder, requires medical intervention to manage it properly. Getting help isn’t a failure at all – it’s actually an extremely brave thing to do. 

Myth: I “only” have a mild case of mental illness, so I can tough it out on my own

Fact: There’s no such thing as a “mild” case of mental illness. All of it counts. A lot of people are dismissive of their own mental health struggles because they can think of many people who have it worse than they do. While it may be true that others seem to outwardly struggle more, mental illness is not a comparison game of who has it worse.

Myth: I don’t have a mental illness, I’m actually an alcoholic

Fact: Using substances to cope with life is a major sign of poor mental health. You need more help, not less.

Substance abuse is extremely common and almost always goes along with poor mental health. The comorbidity between the two is extremely high: about half of those with mental illness will also experience a substance use disorder during their lives and vice versa.

Furthermore, very few people are getting help with their problems. As of 2021, a whopping 94.5% of people aged 12 or older with substance abuse problems received no professional help in the preceding year. Clearly, we need to establish better treatment options to help those in need.

Myth: People with mental illness are X, and I’m not like that

Fact: There’s no such thing as a “typical” person with mental illness. You might think you’d be able to tell if someone was ill just by looking at them, but the problem may not be easy to spot.

People with mental illness come from all walks of life and fall into every social category. In fact, people who are in a disadvantaged group in society – which includes women, racial minorities, and economically disadvantaged people – are much more likely to experience mental illness. It’s actually a sign of how much society is failing them that they don’t feel able to get help.

If you have a mental illness, you owe it not only to yourself but also to the people who love you to get help as soon as possible. There are many available treatments that work. The field of psychiatry has come a long way in providing help for mental health problems in recent years.

Don’t let stigma discourage you from seeking help. Call the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center today at our Litchfield Park or Phoenix, Arizona, office or request an appointment online.

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