When you have a regular health problem, you take medication to sort it out. Nobody will comment if you’re on antihistamines to treat an ongoing allergy or heart medication to treat a cardiovascular issue.
As such, it’s all the more bizarre that there’s this stigma surrounding medication for mental health problems. If someone takes something to help them deal with depression, they almost feel as though they need to hide it. Or, at the very least, they believe that by taking this medication they’re doing something wrong.
It’s a very strange belief to have, yet there’s no denying the stigma surrounding this topic. The question is…why?
A Lack Of Understanding
I think most of this stems from the complete lack of understanding surrounding mental health in modern society. It’s getting better, but when most people complain of depression or anxiety, other members of society simply don’t get it. They think you’re sad or nervous, often suggesting simple fixes. It comes from a nice place – they want to help you – but it’s frustrating when people think that mental health problems can be fixed overnight.
In reality, most mental health issues stem from legitimate issues in your body. These could be chemical imbalances messing up your hormones and making you feel a certain way. In this respect, certain medications help by boosting hormone production or reducing it. Thus, the chemical balance can get back to normal and a lot of your symptoms subside.
Then, you have deep-rooted mental problems that stem from events that happen in your life. If you go through trauma, it can dramatically affect your brain forever. This is why clinical mental health counseling is important to get to the bottom of the matter. Again, medication is often needed to provide some relief from symptoms while you are getting counseling and talking through your problems.
We Don’t Talk Enough
Where does this lack of understanding come from? Simply put, we don’t talk enough about mental health as a society. There needs to be more chatter about this and why people feel this way. From here, people can learn more about treatments and why medication is used.
The stigma tends to come from people thinking that you’re just taking drugs to get high and forget about your problems. Granted, there are also plenty of examples of people that become addicted to mental health medication – but you could say the same for any medicinal drugs. Talking about mental health concerns and the medications used to treat these problems will help society understand more about them.
Hopefully, this can lead to a world where someone can freely take the medication they need to get better without worrying about what others think. They don’t have to hide it – they don’t have to anxiously sneak it when nobody is looking. In turn, this could actually help the medication work better. There’s a terrible irony that you feel anxious when taking your medication that’s supposed to help with your anxiety! The world needs to talk more about this so we can educate everyone on the topic, removing the stigma entirely.
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