Most recently I attended one of the mental health awareness webinars and to my surprise mental health happens to be a taboo in many societies. On the speaker panels, there happened to be one of the best psychiatrists of Pakistan, and he shared that despite the increasing awareness, there are some cases where having a mental disorder is equivalent to social suicide for some people in his home country.
This really pushed me to dig deep into why people want to do that? Why getting treatment for a healthy mind is not as welcoming as any other treatment? My curiosity led me to various findings.
While people are now more aware of mental health issues, it still seems like a hard pill to swallow. This becomes harder when close bonds or relationships come into play. For example, if a child is diagnosed with a mental disorder, most parents will have a hard time accepting their child’s condition. The same goes for married couples.
Apart from the acceptance, most people find it difficult to fully participate in psychiatric treatments. Psychiatric treatments can be demanding, as it requires most people to make time for regular visits to see their progress.
At times psychiatric treatments can stretch over a length of years, depending on the type of diagnosis of course. However, there are other ways which keep people stay back from getting treatment.
6 Common Misconceptions
1. Psychiatric Treatment means you are weak
We all fully understand this and no matter how strongly we pioneer mental health importance, at some point in our journey we have shied away from getting the help we deserve. Battling with my stubbornness of not taking a healthy approach to my treatment actually led me further to a whirl of emotions and complexities.
After my fair share of enough mental struggle, I finally made my way to a psychiatrist’s office. Turned out I was strong enough to realize where I needed help and was ready to fix it. I know what you think when you feel you are unable to pull yourself together.
In reality, it’s not the mind’s inability which you should be ashamed of, but those voices who tell you to shamelessly deteriorate your mental health because of social taboos. That is where you are weak by following society’s voices and judgments more than your own.
2. Psychiatric Treatment is not effective
That is a strong judgment yet again. I’ve heard people say things like:
- It’s an added luxury.
- It’s the treatment of spoilt rich.
- It’s a complete waste of money.
While these may seem like an absurd thing to read right now, it is highly likely that most of us have thought of this at some points in our lives. Another reason for not getting the treatment does cater to this excuse as well. However, if you genuinely feel you cannot afford a psychiatrist, there are many government hospitals.
True, getting an uninterrupted appointment of the doctor can be a hard task but it’s not impossible. Similarly, not all private practicing psychiatrists charge a fortune. There are many qualified doctors who prefer their services more than their bills. All you need to do is reach out to one.
3. Psychiatric treatment means getting heaps of prescriptions
This is another accusation I have heard, and that is certainly not the case. Your doctor is there to help you recover from your condition as fast as possible. Most medications are given to people who are suffering from severe problems.
For example, if you are suffering from constant panic attacks, you will be prescribed with certain heavy doses to help you maintain your clam. In fact, if your problem is mild, you will often see a psychiatrist assigning you self-practices such as journaling, breathing patterns, therapy groups, etc.
Psychiatrists have to go through two full degrees in order to calculate which medicine will work the best for you. If you are unsure about medications, you should immediately share your concerns. Some common concerns can be to know about the side effects of the medication or whether it has an addiction as a side effect.
4. Psychiatrists can control your mind
Psychiatrists are certified doctors to help you through behavior and mental problems. If you are not honest about your problems with your doctor only out of the fear that you would not be able to have control over your mind, then that’s a misconception you are feeding.
Your visits to your psychiatrist will do you no good. In order to understand your problem fully and provide you with the relevant treatment, your psychiatrist will need you to have open communication.
5. Psychiatric Treatment Vs Regular Treatment
I’ve often seen people simply throwing their hands in the air and saying
- Fine I’ll just visit my regular doctor.
Sure your regular doctor can guide you a bit about your problem however he is not specialized in providing you the right medication or diagnosis regarding your mental health issue. Psychiatrists are qualified to accurately diagnosing the underlying root cause of your mental health problem.
There is a clear distinction between both of the doctors and therefore there are solid chances you will not be completely satisfied by your regular doctor.
6. One Time Visit Is Enough
Getting hold of a psychiatrist appointment may seem like a huge milestone and a burden off your chest but staying intact with regular appointments is the actual achievement here.
Depending on your diagnosis your visits may vary from weekly walk-ins to strict monthly appointments. However, to be fully treated you have to discipline yourself to keep going back to your regular appointments.
Psychiatric treatments will be a significant part of you and may as well bring good decisions to your life. If something is not working out for you, be vocal about it there and then. However, if it helps you a single bit, pat yourself on the back and be proud of yourself for finally choosing to be bigger than the stigmas!