Medication for Mental Health: Stopping the Stigma – Part I

Medication for Mental Health

It’s time to talk about medication. Not for a cold, not for an infection, but for managing the symptoms surrounding mental illness. Specifically, we’d like to address the stigma that surrounds just one of those three examples we just named. Taking medication for mental health should be treated no different than taking an aspirin for a headache. Something is causing us distress and we take medication to correct the issue. It’s as simple as that.

Mental Illness is nothing to be ashamed ofbut stigma and bias shame us all.-Bill ClintonMany people who live with mental illness do not take medication because of the stigma attached to it.  They are made to feel like something is “wrong” with them and taking medication validates that view of them. The truth however, is that taking prescribed medication does not mean that something is “wrong,” it only means you’re doing something right. If taking medicine for mental health makes an individual manage their mental illness symptoms, there is no reason they should be made to feel uncomfortable about it.

This stigma usually stems from the broader fallacies surrounding mental illness that mental illness is “not real” and people should “just get over it” or that if you do actually have a mental illness you should be locked away in an institution. While this stigma is slowly fading, it is still out there and can be very detrimental to people with mental illnesses.

Battling the Stigma

This type of stigma causes self-doubt in the mental illness community which can lead to people believing that it is something you can just get over without help or medication. Or the stigma can cause people to be ashamed of their mental illness and its treatment. Both of these consequences from the mental illness stigma  cause a lot of harm because it prevents you from getting the help and medication that you might need. Conversely, if you do not take medication, but are still able to maintain your mental health, others may pressure you into doing so. This is just as bad as needing medication and not taking it. You need to do what is right for you without the undue pressure of other people’s preconceptions.

If you struggle with breaking away from this stigma then you are not alone. Almost everyone who has had trouble managing their mental health has struggled with the repercussions of this harmful stigma. Until we change the public’s perception of mental illness, you need to stay strong and not let others influence your behavior. Do what is best for you.

For more information on how we can help you manage your mental health, visit our website.

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