Learn the best ways to break the stigma of using medication, the benefits of medication for mental illness and the importance of mental health.
Even though we as a society have come a long way when it comes to talking about mental health, there’s still an undeniable stigma around psychiatric medications such as antidepressants – and we need to get serious if we want to break the stigma. People will wrongfully think that psych meds are horrible for you, or that only “crazy people” take medications for mental illness. Oftentimes, people will be very vocal about these beliefs, which can cause a lot of distress to people who take medications for their mental illnesses, making them feel judged or less than.
Nobody should have to feel this way. Nobody should have to feel embarrassed or ashamed about taking medications, no matter what the reason. We need to keep talking about the importance of mental health and psych meds so that we can end the stigma of taking meds for mental health.
Here are 3 ways to help stop the stigma of taking mental health medication.
The first thing that everyone should consider is the importance of mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health. If you don’t take care of your mental health, you might experience negative consequences in various aspects of your life. It’s especially important to be diligent about your mental health if you have a mental health condition.
Some mental health conditions people may deal with are:
Mental health conditions like these are just as valid as physical health conditions, like hypertension or diabetes, even though you can’t “see” them or conduct concrete testing for them. Looking at mental health conditions as valid is one way to help break the stigma.
Think about this: tons of people take medications for physical health problems. Nobody gives them a hard time about it, right? So why do people give folks with mental illness a hard time for taking their medications? Why are the two situations so different? Spoiler: they’re not.
Part of the importance of mental health is that it affects every aspect of your life. It can play a part in your relationships (both platonic and romantic), your work, your family life, and more. If your mental health is suffering, it might have a negative effect on these aspects of your life. On the contrary, if your mental health is thriving, it’s likely that those aspects will thrive, too.
We need to stop the stigma so everyone’s mental health can thrive.
The benefits of medication for mental illness can truly be life changing, especially if someone is suffering badly. This is part of why it’s so important to break the stigma. The right medication can turn somebody’s life around for the better, since meds can help to manage sometimes debilitating symptoms of various mental illnesses.
Can mental illness be cured? No, but it can certainly be managed, whether it’s with therapy, medication, or a combination of both. For some people, therapy and lifestyle changes such as getting better sleep, practicing grounding techniques, or meditating are enough to make a big difference. But for many others, extra help is needed. This is where medication comes in.
Medication can both reduce mental illness symptoms and prevent mental illness relapses. Of course, as with any medication, when you consider taking medication for mental illness there are pros and cons. However, many people find that the pros outweigh the cons. Depending on the medication and the mental health condition, some benefits may include:
With all of these benefits of medication for mental illness, you can see why they can improve somebody’s quality of life.
If you’re reading this as someone who has never sought out psych meds due to the stigma, but you’re ready to break the stigma and get the treatment you need, here are some questions to consider asking your doctor or psychiatrist:
It’s time to stop the stigma surrounding psych meds. For some people, medications are the reason they’re able to live life to the fullest and healthiest.
It’s not enough to just be stigma free yourself. You should be an open and active ally to people with mental illness who take medications, and you should encourage others to be stigma free, too.
So, how can you break the stigma and help others stop the stigma, too? Here are some ideas.
Regardless of if you have a mental illness or not, you have the ability to make a difference in your community and in the world by working towards stopping the stigma. You have the ability to make life a little easier for those who have been stigmatized. Let’s make steps towards creating a stigma free society.
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