When advised a psychiatry opinion many people have their reservation and fears about it. It is more commonly due to the many false beliefs about psychiatry and its treatment prevalent in the society. Some of the commonly held myths about visiting a psychiatry clinic are:
Only mad people visit a psychiatrist!
To understand and differentiate normal from abnormal behavior.
Psychiatric medicines are habit forming.
A psychiatrist prescribes only sleeping pills.
Psychiatric problems are not treatable.
If you have a mental illness it means you are “weak” or “crazy”.
Psychiatric illnesses are not true medical illnesses like hypertension or diabetes.
People with mental illness “can pull themselves out of it”.
Mental illness are very rare.
The facts however are different:
Any person faced with problems that he cannot cope with, or experiencing difficulty in his personal, occupational or social life can visit a psychiatrist.
Psychiatric medicines are not habit forming; although they may have to be taken for a longer duration.
Based on your illness a psychiatrist may prescribe you antidepressants, anxiolytics, antipsychotics or other medications. “Sleeping pills” or hypnotics are used only when indicated. You can discuss this with your doctor.
With timely and right kind of help, many people recover completely and go on to lead a normal life. One however needs to understand that like common cold, fever or any recurrent medical illness, psychological disturbances can recur again when overwhelmed with adverse circumstances in life.
Mental illness are called as “biopsychosocial” disorders. It means that they are caused by:
Biological [bio] reasons like genetic factors and neurochemical imbalances.
Social/environmental factors like poor support, exposure to natural calamities, or been subjected to undue stress.
Like true medical illnesses, research has shown that there are genetic and biological causes for depression and all other psychological disturbances.
Psychological disturbances have nothing to do with been weak or crazy. They result from a change in the brain chemistry which in the initial stages is transient and reversible. Medication and/ or psychotherapy often help people to recover completely in these early stages. When longstanding and untreated the neurochemical changes can cause, permanent changes in the brain structure.
This may surprise many, but psychological disturbances are very common and are common across all social, educational and economic classes.