Misconceptions About Psychiatric Treatment: People go to the psychiatrists for many reasons. Problems that start suddenly like seeing things that others don’t see or hearing invisible voices, panic attacks, feeling suicidal, etc. They can be problems that have been part of your life for a longer time: feelings of worry, hopelessness and sadness that don’t seem to go away. Don’t forget to check out myths about bipolar order or schizophrenia.
Entering the world of psychiatric treatment can be a really scary experience. Many people don’t understand why it is important to consult a good psychiatrist. They might judge you for it. They are wrong!
Sometimes the mental health concern is very painful and it is hard to make decisions that help you get better. But mental illnesses like other illnesses get treated better if you get early help.
So, today, we will discuss the many common misconceptions about psychiatric treatments. Hopefully, they’ll help you or your loved ones seek the best mental healthcare possible.
Here are the 15 common misconception about psychiatry treatment:
- “Psychiatrists are not real doctors” – Actually, psychiatrists are double doctors. Not only do they have their MBBS degree like regular doctors. They also have an M.D. degree in Psychiatry, which is specialization that requires two more years of study and dedicated practice after the five years of medical school.
- “Psychiatrists are for rich people” – This is not completely false. You do require money to avail the services of a private psychiatrist but government hospitals have free medical care for mental health concerns. However, because of the huge amount of people that visit government hospitals, getting an appointment and the uninterrupted attention of a qualified, experienced doctor can be hard. But not all private psychiatrists charge a bomb. Rates can also be negotiated on site.
- “Only weak people meet psychiatrists” – That is not true at all. Mental illness can happen to any of us according to scientific research. Presidents of countries, CEOs, scientists, homemakers, etc have all visited a psychiatrist when they needed the help to get their lives back on track. Just like you wouldn’t leave an infected cut on your body unattended, you should be taking care of your mind as well.
- “It’s a complete waste of money” – I won’t deny that some psychiatrists are bad. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that mental health concerns left untreated only end up growing bigger and lead to breakdowns. It is, thus, very important to prioritize our mental wellbeing. We easily spend 500 rupees on eating out with friends. Why can’t this money be used to get you peace of mind?
- “It’s only for ‘crazy’ people” – Mentally ill people are in pain. The intensity of this pain can vary and so, some people can look more ill than others. When you call someone ‘crazy’ or ‘mad’ you are saying that it’s not okay for someone to have emotional pain. You are saying that their serious mental illness is something they must be ashamed of. When you do this, you also take away permission from yourself to be in emotional pain. You are hurting yourself and others in this process. If you had some physical pain, you would go to a doctor. A psychiatrist is a doctor for emotional pain.
- “The same psychiatrist can help me and my friend” – In an office, two of your colleagues working the same job might have different strengths. You would depend on them for different purposes or you might feel closer to one than the other. Different psychiatrists are experts in different areas. Your psychiatrist might work for you but might not be the best person for your friend’s equally unique problem.
- “There are no second opinions in psychiatry” – You have the right to get a second opinion for any medical decision you make. In psychiatry, recovery is better if a doctor figures out your problem early and begins treating you for it. So, if you think that you disagree what your doctor tells you or you don’t like how he responds after you have told them the complete truth about your problem, it’s completely okay to go to someone else.
- ”Psychiatric medicines are all addictive” – Majority of all psychiatric medicines are not addictive. Some medicines that are used for anxiety and panic disorders, ADHD and psychotic disorders can be addictive. You can ask your psychiatrist for information about this and any side-effects that the medication that you are taking can have.
- “If a psychiatric medicine works for me, it will work for someone else too” – Never do that! We all have different blood chemistry and we will react differently to the same medicines. So, psychiatrists make a lot of calculations before assigning medicines and their doses to clients. In fact, some medicines are required to be monitored through periodic blood tests to make sure that the client’s body can handle the drug. So, everyone should consult their own doctor for their own medicines!
- “If the first medicine doesn’t work, nothing will work on me” – Like we said, everybody’s body responds differently to the same medicine. It’s might take a few tries to figure out what medicine and what dosage is the best fit for you. That is why it is important to let the psychiatrist know how your body is reacting to any new medicine all the time.
Also different medicines start working at different times. Some take up to six weeks to begin showing effects. So, when will my medicines start working is a good question to ask your psychiatrist.
- “I can stop taking my meds once I start feeling better” – That is a big mistake that people make. Psychiatric medicines are like anti-biotics, you have to complete your entire course of medicines to make sure that your body feels better for the long term. If you leave your medicines midway, your problems might return and then you’ll have to go through the same pain all over again. Sometimes, stopping medicines suddenly might also cause really bad side-effects.
- “I should take meds only when I feel like I need it” – All medicines must be taken as prescribed by your doctor. A medicine might not have the effect you want if you don’t take it the way it is meant to be taken. It is very important to listen and follow their instructions about it. They will tell you if a medicine needs to be taken only when needed.
- “Psychiatrists tell you what to do and think” – Psychiatrists are doctors who are there to help you through your emotional pain and behavioural problems. It is very important to have an honest discussion with your doctor about your problems. The doctor is ethically bound to explain what he thinks your diagnosis (the name and characteristics of your problem) is and his plans for your treatment. Post this, you have every right to continue with the treatment or decline his services.
- “Everyone with a mental health problem needs to see a psychiatrist only” – That is not true. Depending on the nature of your problem, your doctor will transfer or refer you to one of the different mental health professionals. But first, your doctor must make sure that your mental health concern is not caused by any bodily conditions you might have. For that he may ask you to visit a psychiatrist first.
- “I’ll just go to my regular doctor about my mental health problems” – A psychiatrist is a doctor who is a trained expert in mental health. He will know a whole lot more about the nature of your problem than your regular doctor. Just like if you have heart problems you would visit a cardiologist, it is better to go to a psychiatrist for your mental health troubles for best care.
Beginning psychiatric treatment can seem like a big task with many decisions. You will need to have an honest relationship with your psychiatrist for it to work out well. Tell him/her if things aren’t working out for you even after 2-3 visits. Tell him/her if your medicines are making you feel strange. The two of you need to work as a team for best results.
If you guys have any doubt left then, feel free to comment below. Don’t forget to share this post “15 Common Misconceptions About Psychiatric Treatment” with your friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus.