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Mental Health is an individual’s emotional and psychological well being. It is equally important as physical health. However, we often see that because mental health is not ‘visible’, it gets less attention. This also results in a lot of misunderstandings about mental health. In the following section, we attempt to learn the correct facts about mental health. After all, mental health is everyone’s business!

10 Myths and Countering Facts About Mental Health

Globally, mental health is viewed with prejudice, lack of understanding, and considered as taboo. There are several myths regarding mental health that prevent people from accepting its importance and realizing the need to address it. Mental health is important for complete well being and must be talked about.

Myth #1: Mental illnesses are not real illnesses.

Fact: The words we use to describe mental illnesses have changed greatly over time. What hasn’t changed is the fact that mental illnesses are not the regular ups and downs of life. Mental illnesses create distress, don’t go away on their own, and are real health problems with effective treatments. When someone breaks their arm, we wouldn’t expect them to just “get over it.” Nor would we blame them if they needed a cast, sling, or other help in their daily life while they recovered.

Myth #2: Mental illnesses will never affect me.

Fact: All of us will be affected by mental illnesses. Researchers estimate that as many as one in four Indians will experience a mental illness at some point in their life. You may not experience a mental illness yourself, but it’s very likely that a family member, friend, or co-worker will experience challenges.

Myth #3: Mental illnesses are just an excuse for poor behaviour.

Fact: It’s true that some people who experience mental illnesses may act in ways that are unexpected or seem strange to others. We need to remember that the illness, not the person, is behind these behaviours. No one chooses to experience a mental illness. People who experience a change in their behaviour due to a mental illness may feel extremely embarrassed or ashamed around others. It’s also true that people with a history of a mental illness are like anyone else: they may make poor choices or do something unexpected for reasons unrelated to symptoms of their illness.

Myth #4: Bad parenting causes mental illnesses.

Fact: No one factor can cause mental illnesses. Mental illnesses are complicated conditions that arise from a combination of genetics, biology, environment, and life experiences. Family members and loved ones do have a big role in support and recovery.

Myth #5: People with mental illnesses are violent and dangerous.

Fact: Researchers agree that mental illnesses are not a good predictor of violence. In fact, if we look at mental illnesses on their own, people who experience a mental illness are no more violent than people without a mental illness. Excluding people from communities are linked to violence. And people with mental illnesses are often among those who are excluded. It’s also important to note that people who experience mental illnesses are much more likely to be victims of violence than to be violent.

Myth #6: People don’t recover from mental illnesses.

Fact: It is not normal for older adults to be depressed. Signs of depression in older people include a loss of interest in activities, sleep disturbances and lethargy. Depression in the elderly is often undiagnosed, and it is important for seniors and their family members to recognize the problem and seek professional help.

Myth #7: People who experience mental illnesses are weak and can’t handle stress. People with mental illness have a characteristic flaw.

Fact:  Stress impacts well-being, but this is true for everyone. People who experience mental illnesses may actually be better at managing stress than people who haven’t experienced mental illnesses. Many people who experience mental illnesses learn skills like stress management and problem-solving so they can take care of stress before it affects their well-being. Taking care of yourself and asking for help when you need it are signs of strength, not weakness.

Myth #8: People who experience mental illnesses can’t work.

Fact: Whether you realize it or not, workplaces are filled with people who have experienced mental illnesses. Mental illnesses don’t mean that someone is no longer capable of working. Some people benefit from changes at work to support their goals, but many people work with few supports from their employer. Most people who experience serious mental illnesses want to work but face systemic barriers to finding and keeping meaningful employment.

Myth #9: Kids can’t have a mental illness like depression. Those are adult problems

Fact: Even children can experience mental illnesses. In fact, many mental illnesses first appear when a person is young. Mental illnesses may look different in children than in adults, but they are a real concern. Mental illnesses can impact the way young people learn and build skills, which can lead to challenges in the future. Unfortunately, many children don’t receive the help they need.

Myth #10: Everyone gets depressed as they grow older. It’s just part of the aging process.

Fact: Depression is never an inevitable part of aging. Older adults may have a greater risk of depression because they experience so many changes in roles and social networks. If an older adult experiences depression, they need the same support as anyone else.

What is Depression?

Depression is one of the commonest mental disorders. Though common, it is a serious disorder that affects the well being of an individual.

Symptoms

Seek help if you notice some (5 or more) of these symptoms for over a period of 2-3 weeks:

 

Tips to take care

Small steps to help you or your loved ones along the way.

 

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Depression is a mood disorder but it affects the way an individual thinks, feels and behaves. Approximately, 36% of Indians suffer from depression. it must be noted that depression is the second leading cause of deaths in the world. It is on a rise among the adolescents and younger population. People of all ages are likely to suffer from depression. Women are twice likely as men to suffer from depression. Most often, depression sets in at the age of 25-44 years but people below and above that age are also equally likely to suffer.
Depression is caused due to various factors- usually a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. It is a disorder that runs in families. Factors like traumatic experiences, heavy losses, poor environment and other socio-economic factors play a role in contributing to the development of depression.
See Symptoms

Depression is a mood disorder but it affects the way an individual thinks, feels and behaves. Approximately, 36% of Indians suffer from depression. it must be noted that depression is the second leading cause of deaths in the world. It is on a rise among the adolescents and younger population. People of all ages are likely to suffer from depression. Women are twice likely as men to suffer from depression. Most often, 

 

  • Try to seek out professional help as soon as possible.
  • Persistent sad, anxious, mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once interesting
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Continue to learn more about depression

In the presence of these symptoms, one may consult a counselor or a psychotherapist. Medication along with psychotherapy works best for depression. Continue to learn more about depression.

See Tips
  • Eat healthy and a balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Sleep well in the night
  • Follow a hobby
  • Interact with people around you
  • Talk to family and friends about your feelings
  • Don’t bottle up your feelings
  • Meditation and yoga under guidance may help

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety disorder is a serious and another common mental disorder. It is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of feeling fear and tenseness.

Symptoms

Seek help if you notice some (5 or more) of these symptoms for over a period of 2-3 weeks:

 

Tips to take care

Small steps to help you or your loved ones along the way.

 

Read More

Though feeling anxious at times is completely normal, the disorder is very discomforting for the individual. The feeling of anxiety is manifold as compared to usual anxious feelings and it is repetitive and overwhelming. Anxiety disorders disrupt daily functioning along with personal and social relationships. There are several types of anxiety disorders (social anxiety, GAD, panic attack, panic disorder etc), which will be discussed in later blogs.

On an average, one in four individuals suffer from an anxiety disorder. On an average, the age at which anxiety occurs is 19 years but research shows that it has and it can develop in children as small as 14 years also. The likelihood of adolescents suffering from this disorder is on the rise. Women are more likely to develop anxiety disorders than men.

The cause for anxiety disorders is a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. It is a disorder that runs in families. Factors like stress creating situations are a major factor of anxiety disorders, especially so when adequate support to deal with stress and anxiety is absent.

See Symptoms
  • “Racing” heart or heart palpitations
  • Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers
  • Sense of terror, or impending doom or death
  • Feeling sweaty or having chills
  • Chest pains
  • Muscle tension
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Feeling a loss of control
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty to pay attention and concentrate

In the presence of these symptoms, one may consult a counsellor or a psychotherapist. Medication along with psychotherapy works best for anxiety disorders.

See Tips
  • Eat healthy and a balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Sleep well in the night
  • Relaxation techniques for breathing under guidance
  • Reduce consumption of caffeine
  • Talk to family and friends about your anxious feelings
  • Let people know that you need support
  • Meditation and yoga under guidance may help

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological problem in which people get unexpected and repeated seizures or fits.

Symptoms

Seek immediate care if any of these symptoms are present

Tips to take care

Small steps to help you or your loved ones along the way.

Read More

It is a chronic disorder that continues for a long term of period. Approximately 50 out of every 100,000 people develop epilepsy each year and about 50 million people have epilepsy globally.

The seizures occur because of a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain – there is an overload of electrical activity in the brain. Epileptic seizures are often associated with particular triggers or changes in your daily habits or routine.The onset of epilepsy is most common during early childhood and after age 60, but the condition can occur at any age. If someone from the family has epilepsy, then the person is more likely to develop epilepsy.

See Symptoms
  • A convulsion with no temperature (no fever).
  • Short spells of blackout, or confused memory.
  • Intermittent fainting spells, during which bowel or bladder control is lost. This is frequently followed by extreme tiredness.
  • For a short period the person is unresponsive to instructions or questions.
  • The person becomes stiff, suddenly, for no obvious reason
  • The person suddenly falls for no clear reason
  • Sudden bouts of blinking without apparent stimuli
  • Sudden bouts of chewing, without any apparent reason
  • For a short time the person seems dazed, and unable to communicate
  • Repetitive movements that seem inappropriate
  • The person becomes fearful for no apparent reason, he/she may even panic or become angry
  • Peculiar changes in senses, such as smell, touch and sound
  • The arms, legs, or body jerk, in babies these will appear as cluster of rapid jerking movements.
  • If some of these symptoms are present, you must see your general practitioner who will then guide you to see a neurologist. The treatment of epilepsy involves the use of medication (anti-epileptic drugs) or in some severe or untreatable conditions, surgery also helps.
See Tips
  • Get plenty of sleep each night — set a regular sleep schedule, and stick to it.
  • Learn stress management and relaxation techniques.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  • Take all of your medications as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Avoid bright, flashing lights and other visual stimuli.
  • Skip TV and computer time whenever possible.
  • Avoid playing video games.
  • Eat a healthy diet.