#Askingforafriend: More myths of mental health

By Krista Hoffer
GCU Office of Student Care
#Askingforafriend

A few weeks ago, we started exploring ideas of commonly believed myths related to mental health and mental illness. This week we will cover three additional myths:

Myth: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) only affects war vets.

FACT: PTSD can impact anyone and is not exclusive to those who served in the military. Examples of PTSD can be attributed to a car accident, sexual assault, death, natural disaster, illness or violence. Even someone who did not experience an event directly, but witnessed it, can experience PTSD along with vicarious trauma. Common symptoms include nightmares/night terrors, flashbacks of a specific event/feeling, avoiding specific things – e.g., certain television shows, certain routes to work or people. This is when you are acting in a way as if the event was recurring.

Myth: You can never heal from a mental illness.

FACT: Mental health diagnoses are not lifelong disorders. In example, some depression, anxiety or PTSD diagnoses might only require a person to participate in a medication and therapy treatment plan for a short period of time. Advancements in technology and therapeutic medicine have made it possible to believe in and experience healing.

Myth: If you take a psychiatric medication, you will take them for the rest of your life.

FACT: Because of the ways it has been portrayed in media and big movies, many people believe that psychiatric medicine can be harmful or make you worse. Or they believe that psych meds simply act as “happy pills,” creating a temporary Band-Aid or mask for an easy way out. This is not true! As is the case with most detrimental medical conditions, mental illness is still an illness. For many individuals diagnosed with a mental illness, medication may be a key factor in healing. The goal of medication is to help an individual get back to a level of functioning that enables them to work on their emotional or mental needs, which they are unable to do when experiencing the “lows” of their mental illness.

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I hope you found these ideas informative and helpful. I encourage you to continue to take steps that prevent sanism, through your efforts of to educate yourself about your own experiences, and to become an ally for others.

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"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:20)



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