World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year. As per the World Health Organisation, the day aims to raise awareness around mental health issues around the world and to mobilise efforts to support mental health.
Good mental health is not just about being free from a mental illness. It involves the ability to better handle everything life throws at you and fulfill one’s full potential. A lot of people associate mental health with emotional well being. Either way, good mental health is as important as good physical health, if not more.
Therapy is one way to deal with mental health issues. However, just like any topic associated with mental health, therapy has a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes attached to it. Most people hesitate to go for therapy because they think it is not worth the time or effort and they can deal with the issues themselves. However, an experienced therapist would not only help you better understand your own issues but will also guide you in resolving these issues and the symptoms of your condition, if you have one.
This Mental Health Day, let us discuss three of the most common misconceptions associated with therapy.
1. “My problems are not serious enough to seek therapy and only weak people go to therapy”
A lot of people believe that therapy is only for mentally ill people and that their problems and symptoms are not serious enough to need therapy. In some cases, this leads to exacerbation of symptoms until the person is struggling enough that he/she has to seek therapy.
Truth is, there would always be someone who has got it worse than you but that does not mean you can’t seek therapy for everyday problems like self-doubt, stress, anxiety and relationship problems. It does not make you any less of a person to deal with your issues before they start interfering with your everyday life. On the contrary, it makes you stronger for it.
2. “Once I begin therapy, I will be in it forever”
Therapy will be what you make of it. Most people go to therapy for a short term and take somewhere between eight to 20 sessions, with one session a week. How many sessions you need and how often you need them will be decided between you and your therapist, depending on your goals and reason you went for therapy.
You can also opt for long term therapy, which may then last for a few months to a year or more. This may help you understand how your family history and your personality are affecting the behaviour you are trying to improve or change.
3. “I will be forced to take medications and will get addicted to them”
Not all types of therapy include medication. For some conditions, talk therapy is enough. However, if you are going to a psychiatrist and have extreme forms of conditions like anxiety, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, medications may be needed. An experienced doctor takes into account a person’s prior history of substance abuse and their family history before prescribing any medication. Even then, the patient is constantly monitored. You can only become dependant if you abuse the medications instead of taking them in the prescribed doses or if you take medications prescribed to someone else without asking a doctor first.
For more information, read our article on Mental health.
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