Mental illness is a common disorder among Americans and around the world, but it is still misunderstood and therefore there are still a lot of myths surrounding the topic. Millions of children, teenagers, and adults battle mental health issues, some in secret for many years. While the discussion surrounding mental health has progressed over the years, there is still a long way to go in fully understanding and de-stigmatizing mental illness. One way to open up the conversation is to talk about the facts in order to dispel myths and rumors and better perceive what mental illness looks like, who it affects, and how it needs to be treated.
Here are three key facts that everyone should know and understand about mental illnesses.
- Mental illness can begin as early as 13 years old
Mental illness does not just affect adults. About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14 across all cultures around the world, not just in the United States. Unfortunately, at a young age, there are not enough resources to help adolescents manage and heal from their mental health issues, and it is still heavily stigmatized in some parts of the world, further reducing the amount of help a young victim can get. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents aged 15 to 24, so it’s apparent that more resources are needed to help treat these symptoms and illnesses.
- Eating disorders are a type of mental illness
Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating are classified as a type of mental illness and should be acknowledged as disorders that require treatment to heal from, rather than a fad, phase, or type of diet. Treatment centers like edentreatment.com can help those who are suffering from eating disorders and get them back to their healthy, productive lives.
Furthermore, eating disorders are often co-diagnosed with other mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and self-harm. Eating disorders are sometimes caused by other mental disorders because the victim feels they have no control but can have control over their food or body image. It can go the other way as well, as ED can also cause other kinds of mental illness to become more prevalent in a person’s life. It’s important to recognize the symptoms and understand the relationship between the co-occurring disorders in order to have successful treatment.
- Psychiatric medication is helpful, but it’s not the only treatment
The phrase ‘it takes a village’ rings true when it comes to healing from mental illness. While medication is part of a treatment plan for some, for others it may not be useful or viable, and it certainly isn’t a miracle cure. Depending on the mental illness, different professionals can help, like a dietician for eating disorders, and a therapist for depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Therapy, either one-on-one with a therapist or in a group setting, is a highly effective method of treatment for both managing symptoms and fully healing. Other healing methods can include practicing self-help and implementing wellness strategies like meditation and art therapy. Holistic and alternative medicine treatments can also be beneficial. It’s important to remember that no one treatment can do it all – a combination of treatments as part of an overall strategy and a personalized plan is recommended for each patient.