#Askingforafriend: Myths of mental health wellness, Part 2 – GCU Today

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By Krista Hoffer
GCU Office of Student Care
Last week we started exploring ideas of commonly believed myths related to mental health and mental illness. This week we will cover three additional myths.
Myth: War veterans are the only people impacted by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
FACT: PTSD can impact anyone. PTSD can be attributed to a car accident, sexual assault, death, natural disaster, illness or violence. Even someone who did not experience an event directly, but witnessed it, can experience PTSD along with vicarious trauma. Common symptoms can include having nightmares/night terrors, flashbacks of a specific event/feeling, avoiding specific things (e.g., certain television shows, routes to work, people). This is when you are acting in a way as if the event was recurring.
Myth: You can never heal from a mental illness.
FACT: Mental health diagnoses are not lifelong disorders. In example, some depression, anxiety or PTSD diagnoses might only require a person to participate in a medication and therapy treatment plan for a short time. Advancements in technology and therapeutic medicine have made it possible to believe in and experience healing.
Myth: If you take a psychiatric medication, you will take them for the rest of your life.
FACT: Because of the ways it has been portrayed in media and big movies, many people believe that psychiatric medicine can be harmful or make you worse. OR, they believe that psych meds simply act as “happy pills,” creating a temporary Band-Aid or mask for an easy way out. This is not true! As is the case with most detrimental medical conditions, mental illness is still an illness. For many individuals diagnosed with a mental illness, medication may be a key factor in healing. The goal of medication is to help an individual get back to a level of functioning that enables them to work on their emotional or mental needs, which they are unable to do when experiencing the “lows” of their mental illness.
I hope you found these ideas informative and helpful. I encourage you to continue to take steps that prevent sanism by educating yourself about your own experiences and becoming an ally for others.

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