Mental Health Myths
“Mental illness is a personal weakness, a failure”
Mental illness is a health condition that could happen to anyone. If untreated, it can very badly interfere with normal functioning of all areas of your day-to-day life such as your education, your profession, your family life, your “physical” life, your spiritual endeavors, your survival and of course your wellbeing.
“Treating depression is not a necessity. Depression will not kill me, but my high blood pressure might.”
Fact : Mental and physical problems are equally important. Sometimes, it is the depression that
causes the physical pain and increases it... Depression is a REAL illness that has a biological basis.
Prevention and early intervention save you time, money, energy, emotional, and physical pain!
“Willpower is the best road to overcome mental illness”
Fact : The burden of mental problems will weigh over your productivity and well being. It is the
willpower to know about these conditions that will help you “snap out of it”!!
“Memory problems are a normal aspect of aging”
Fact : In fact memory problems belong to a group of disorders called dementia. These are
real medical illnesses that can be controlled to improve the patient’s quality of life.
“Doing research locally on mental disorders is not necessary; we end up doing what they are doing in western countries anyway”
Fact : Doing research locally is very important because our society has a unique profile and
what works in other countries may not work for us. In fact we have been invited by the international powerhouses of research only because local knowledge is essential for true advances on a local and on a human level.
“Children do not have mental health problems because they are too young and not aware of everything around them”
Fact : In fact, children can have mental health problems at every stage of development. Problems
like attention, hyperactivity, anxiety and depression can have devastating consequences if not
recognized early on. These problems may occur in any child and are not related to the family
environment or the way a child is brought up.
Mental illnesses are not very common in Lebanon
Fact : 1 out of 4 Lebanese adults have or have had at least one mental disorder at some point in their lives according to the studies done by IDRAAC
People who have a mental health problem are violent and unpredictable
Fact The majority of people with mental health issues are not more likely to be violent than others. In fact, some studies show that people with a serious mental health problem are more likely to be victims of violent acts than the general population.
Mental health problems run in families
Fact : Some mental health problems have genetic causes but this is not true to all of them and there are several other environmental factors which can play a role in the development of mental health disorders.
Medication is enough when treating a mental health disorder
Fact : Medication can be sufficient in treating a mental health disorder but only a professional can judge if psychotherapy is needed in addition to the medication.
Mental health problems are not preventable
Fact : Prevention of mental health problems can start as early as childhood where children can learn how to deal with and overcome traumatic and stressful situations for example using resilience building techniques. This helps decrease the risk of developing mental health problems later in life.
Bad parenting causes mental illnesses
Fact : Mental illnesses result from a combination of factors; bad parenting can be a risk factor but is not the cause of the mental illness.
Mental health disorders last a lifetime and are very difficult to treat
Fact : Some conditions can be life-long and require long term treatments. However, many mental health disorders are short term and require a short treatment course.
Psychotherapy is time consuming
Fact : Contemporary psychotherapy is relatively short-term and most therapies last a few months.
The cost of psychotherapy or psychiatric consultations is high
Fact :The cost of psychotherapy and psychiatric consultations is almost the same as any other medical treatment.
Mental illness falls into the same category of mentally disability and retardation
Fact : Mental illness is different than mental disability and mental retardation which are considered as cognitive disabilities so they interfere with a person’s intellectual abilities. People who have mental illnesses on the other hand can have very normal intellectual abilities.
Addiction is a personal problem
Fact : Reality: Addictions involve complex factors including genetics the environment, and sometimes other underlying psychiatric conditions such as depression. When people who become addicted have these underlying vulnerabilities it's harder for them to simply kick the habit.
You can tell if someone has a mental disorder
Fact : Contrary to common belief, people with mental disorders look the same as other people and the signs of mental disorders may not be that obvious.