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9 Myths About Psychiatrists And Mentally Ill People - The Quality Of Life
9 Myths About Psychiatrists And Mentally Ill People - The Quality Of Life

Video: 9 Myths About Psychiatrists And Mentally Ill People - The Quality Of Life

Video: 9 Myths About Psychiatrists And Mentally Ill People - The Quality Of Life
Video: Psychologists Debunk 25 Mental-Health Myths 2023, March

Stigma? it is a mark that was once burned on the bodies of slaves and criminals. Today, such a stigma is “burned out” on mentally ill people. The very fact of going to a psychiatrist is enough to instantly get the label “crazy”. People around them prefer to cut down on communication, without thinking about what kind of problem the person turned to the doctor. A mentally ill person is subconsciously perceived as “bad” and “dangerous”.

Free yourself from chains

Even Sigmund Freud, describing the nature of deep fear as a basic characteristic, said that a person needs an object to which this fear and anxiety can be directed. Another, socially distinct and socially disadvantaged group is well suited for this role. A mentally ill person is subconsciously perceived as "bad" and "dangerous", endowing him with the characteristics of the marginals.

Fearing stigmatization, people are afraid to go to a psychiatrist, preferring to be treated by homeopaths, kinesiologists, naturopaths. Some, losing precious time, go to magicians and fortune tellers for years. Or they find temporary relief by taking alcohol and drugs, which only makes them worse.

“In recent decades, the world has been actively fighting the stigmatization of mental illness. The first direction was the reorganization of mental health care, which has already been successfully carried out in Italy, Sweden and Switzerland. The length of stay in psychiatric hospitals is being reduced, and the emphasis is on the provision of outpatient care. Whenever possible, treatment is carried out at home, in a familiar environment, with the support of family and friends.

By increasing psychiatric literacy, we begin to better understand mental disorders, and this reduces tension and fear.

  • 1. Psychiatrists and psychotherapists talk about mental disorders on YouTube, on the pages of popular science magazines, on the radio.
  • 2. On the websites of large scientific centers there is free access to educational literature for patients and their relatives.
  • 3. In psychiatric hospitals there are open days, and on October 10, the whole world celebrates Mental Health Day.
  • 4. Educational publications appear on social networks. In autumn, the #faceofdepression flash mob swept around the world, in which thousands of people took part.

9 myths about psychiatrists and their patients

MYTH 1: A mentally ill person is dangerous

This belief dates back to the days when chains were the main treatment for mental disorders. Sick people did not receive the necessary help, suffering from advanced forms of disorders, and sometimes showed uncontrollable aggression. In the era of the development of pharmacotherapy, effective treatment and control of the disease became possible. If we turn to statistics, no more than 1% of crimes are committed by mentally ill people. For comparison, in a state of alcoholic intoxication - every third crime, half of which are classified as especially serious.

MYTH 2: A mentally ill person is lazy

Often people with depression are encouraged to unwind, pull themselves together and stop moping.

To understand how this is possible, imagine that you are wearing a 100-kilogram spacesuit, through which it is difficult to see and hear, breathing heavily. It is impossible to find a place for yourself to sit down or lie down comfortably, much less sleep.


The people around, noticing your depressed mood, suggest not to be sad, but to watch a comedy or go skiing to increase your tone. But the spacesuit does not allow!

Man overcomes enormous difficulties, he fights every day, every hour and every minute. He's not lazy at all

MYTH 3: A mentally ill person is helpless


People with mental illness successfully adapt to society, work, invent and achieve great results.

  • Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in 2011 told the press about her illness (bipolar disorder). She was twice treated in a hospital, which did not prevent her stellar career at all.
  • Jim Carrey spoke about his struggle with depression and is now working on a book where he plans to describe his experience.
  • Nobel laureate John Nash, who served as the protagonist in the movie "A Beautiful Mind", has been fighting schizophrenia for many years. At the age of 50, he managed to achieve a stable remission and return to science.

Even mental disorders such as schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis (bipolar affective disorder) do not necessarily lead to serious social maladjustment. Their course is often paroxysmal, with long and persistent remissions. And properly selected therapy significantly reduces the likelihood of new attacks of the disease. A favorable course of the disease is always possible, no specialist can give an accurate prognosis.

MYTH 4: Mental illness is shameful

Is it also indecent to have hypertension? There are about 500 million people with mental disorders in the world. These are not only patients with schizophrenia, but also people with depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, etc.

Here is a woman with severe depression, life seems to her meaningless and empty. She recently lost her baby and went through a difficult divorce. That's shameful?

Here is a young mother. She had a difficult birth, the baby was born weak. Mom was thrown yesterday by the waves of hormonal changes, she is tired, has not yet fully recovered and does not understand what awaits her next. Every day, she struggles with the strongest anxiety and fearful thoughts of losing her baby, but does not find support in her family. Should she be ashamed?

And here is an elderly man with ideas of persecution and harm. He lives alone, the children left long ago and forgot about him, the neighbors turned away. His every day passes in fear, feeling his uselessness and limitations. Should he be ashamed?

MYTH 5: The mechanism of occurrence of mental disorders is unknown

The biological theory of mental disorders is now generally accepted in psychiatry. An imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain leads to certain symptoms. For example, in schizophrenia, the amount of dopamine in the frontal regions of the brain decreases, which causes apathy, and in the limbic region, its amount increases and leads to delusions and hallucinations. Antipsychotics regulate the amount of dopamine and reduce painful symptoms.

Also used is the biopsychosocial theory of the onset of mental illness, described by D. Angel. It combines three mechanisms:

  • biological (changes in the body),
  • psychological (personality traits),
  • social (social role and environment).

This theory uses a systematic approach and is currently actively used in the psychotherapeutic approach and psychosomatic medicine.

MYTH 6: Mental illnesses are incurable and drugs are dangerous

Until the mid-19th century, mental illness was “treated” with fear, pain, sleep deprivation, wine, diet, and even cocaine.

And only in 1952 the era of psychotropic drugs began. French psychiatrists Delay and Deniker made a revolutionary discovery when they discovered the antipsychotic effect of chlorpromazine (aminazine). Today many psychotropic drugs are used by cardiologists, gynecologists, gastroenterologists and other specialists. Such widespread use of these drugs testifies to their effectiveness and safety.

Of course, in some cases, for the treatment of mental disorders, one cannot do without prescribing drugs that have a pronounced side effect. But often it is enough to prescribe highly effective modern drugs with a rather mild effect.

MYTH 7: Is it worth seeking help? will be registered immediately

Dispensary registration is currently required only in two cases:

1 - if the patient often requires the help of a doctor, care or social and labor rehabilitation is needed. This category includes "people suffering from a chronic and protracted mental disorder with severe persistent or often exacerbated painful manifestations." These are, for example, a severe form of schizophrenia, mental retardation, etc.

2 - if a sick person has socially dangerous tendencies or is treated forcibly by a court decision.

All others do not need dispensary registration. And information about a doctor's visit is not transferred to third-party organizations.

MYTH 8: Psychiatry denies human rights. And everyone will know about my disease

Fortunately, we have gone far from medieval psychiatry. For a long time there are no prison-type hospitals where patients are chained to the wall and kept for life, as in the famous Bedlam.


Currently, any medical intervention requires the patient's consent, and this also applies to psychiatric care. Confidentiality is compulsory and strictly enforced.

MYTH 9: Psychiatrists only use pills

In some forms of mental disorders, it is possible to stabilize the state and cure without drugs at all, but only with the help of psychotherapeutic work.

Currently, more and more psychiatrists have additional education in psychology and psychotherapy. In contact with the patient, they go to the level of partnership, discussing both the treatment plan and the length of stay in the hospital.

During the sessions, the doctor works with the patient's self-stigmatization, helps to take the position of an observer in relation to the disease, and teaches self-help methods.

When dealing with someone with a mental disorder, it is important to remember that illness is only part of the person. The whole person also consists of abilities ?, skills and aspirations. A person always has the resources to help him cope. Family and friends can be invaluable here.

If you feel that you need professional help, then you can use the following tips:

  • seek help from a specific psychiatrist, preferably on the recommendation;
  • take someone you trust with you; it can be someone from relatives or friends;
  • look around, for sure you will meet people with similar problems (for example, with depression);
  • read literature that describes your symptoms; these can be articles in scientific journals, on the websites of large psychiatric clinics;
  • seek help as soon as you feel the need for it; as with other diseases, early treatment will lead to the best treatment results.

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