Friday, July 1, 2022

Mental Health MYTHS & Misconceptions

  •  Self harm is a suicide attempt 
Self harm is often an attempt to manage/ express difficult emotions, reduce feelings of numbness or gain a sense of control over life (amongst other reasons). Self harm is often not an attempt to end one's life and self-harming does not = suicidality. 
  • Self harm is cutting oneself 
Cutting can definitely be a form of self harm, however there are various other forms of SH that are often not recognised for what they are. These may include:
- hitting, pinching, burning or scratching oneself 
- head banging (against hard surface)
- abuse of mind altering substances 
- over exercising 
- over eating 
- under eating
- ingesting poisonous/ harmful chemicals or tablets 
- purposeful engagement in dangerous/ risky behaviour
- self-strangulation/ ligature use
  • Depressed people don't get out of bed, wash or function normally in life 
Though for some, depression can have debilitating effects, many individuals in society struggle with depression whilst functioning in every day life i.e. going to work, maintaining relationships/ friendships and progressing in life. The quality of ones environment/ productivity is not equal to the quality of their mind/ thoughts. 
  • Once you take antidepressants you'll be addicted forever 
For many it is possible to come off of antidepressants after treatment. Although there are often withdrawal symptoms/physical changes that occur if the medication is reduced/stopped, doctors do not consider them addictive. Many people do experience unpleasant symptoms when reducing/ ceasing these medications and so doctors recommend a structured plan is made to slowly reduce the dosage. 
In my opinion, the horrible side effects that come with reducing the medication may contribute to the continuation of such medication for people long-term. It is also worth noting that research shows the most successful way of overcoming mental health difficulties is therapy + medication, as antidepressants etc are designed as a way of treating the symptoms, not the underlying problem. Therefore, I wonder whether the lack of available therapeutic services contributes to the need to remain on medication long term.  
  • Vaccinating children leads to autism 
There is no scientific evidence that MMR or any other vaccines lead to Autism development in children. This myth developed in the 90's after British researchers published a paper stating the vaccines caused the condition following an increase in autism diagnoses  Over a dozen studies have been conducted attempting to replicate the findings, however absolutely no evidence was found that the vaccine leads to autism. The journal in which the study was published later retracted the paper, meaning the results were no longer supported by the publication. The researchers medical licence was later revoked. 

Further research has been conducted exploring the possibility of a link with various elements at the forefront i.e. combined vaccinations before the age of 2 and vaccinations containing the substance Thimerosal (a substance containing mercury that was used in child vaccines) however all studies have continued to report NO LINK.

Those are all that come to mind today, but if you think of any more feel free to comment :) x 

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