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Not A Psycho: Things That People With Mental Health Problems Want You To Know

Dr. Nyla Shafiq Chaudhry

2 min read

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The brain is a highly impressionable organ; it adapts to whatever it is exposed to over the long term. Just as Pavlov’s conditioned dogs were trained to relate the sound of a bell with mealtimes-a training mechanism that has since been passed down through generations of dog owners.

Years of mass media misrepresentation and our own flawed ideas have led us to believe that people struggling with mental health issues are abnormal, cruel, erratic beings who must be avoided at all costs; effectively isolating a large section of the population.

The following points might help you clear up some misconceptions pertaining to a few well-known mental health disorders:

1- Panic and Anxiety:

Panic attacks can strike at any given moment with the slightest of triggers in people suffering from anxiety. They know their fears are irrational and unfounded; but since they have no control over it, telling someone to calm down will not stop a panic wave.

Moreover, some people tend to talk in harsh and loud tones when faced with a stressful situation, which might be perceived as rudeness and attitude issues on their part, when in fact, they are being guided by yet another anxious episode.

2- Violence and Schizophrenia:

Characterized by delusional and contrasting behavior, schizophrenics are often portrayed as psychotic murderers. Far from it, people with this condition aren’t violent or angry on a regular basis, and their violent episodes are not directed towards others, but themselves. In fact, most people lead normal lives alongside their condition.

3- Focus and ADHD/ADD:

Due to their inability to concentrate and pay attention to something that disinterests them, yet being hyper-focused for extended periods of time on tasks and matters of interest, people with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD) are often labelled as ‘slackers’ and ‘procrastinators’ who simply have issues with time management and prioritizing; when that is not the case. The extreme focus is, in fact, a symptom of their condition.

4- Cleanliness and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD):

By referring to everyone with an organised or hygiene-obsessed personality as a patient of OCD, the actual implications of this serious condition have been greatly undermined. Not every person with this anxiety disorder is a ‘neat-freak’; obsessions and thoughts are often unwanted, unenjoyable, and can be over anything, from something as mundane as obsessively collecting favorite items, or even violent or sexual thoughts.

Which is why most OCD sufferers remain quiet about their actual thoughts to avoid being ‘shamed’ by those around them.

5- Eating and Anorexia:

Anorexics are not underweight and have an aversion to eating because they like being dangerously thin, it is the result of distorted ideas of beauty and social acceptance (planted by the very society that later shames them), which mutilate into an uncontrollable obsession despite their best efforts.

And if you do see them eating properly, know that it is the tremendous amount of peer pressure that is forcing them to, causing further stress and anxiety, and not recovery.

6- Mood Swings and Bipolar Disorder:

Bipolar individuals do not alternate between extreme rage and elation like a clock pendulum, as various films would have you believe. Either one of these mood shifts can last for varying lengths of time; from one day to many months.

7- Sadness and Depression:

Depressed people are not just sad. Their depressive symptoms, unlike sadness, can last from a few weeks to years, coupled with hopelessness, severe self-doubt, and apathy that completely changes their outlook on life.

Also, while many do try hard to continue their daily lives as normally as possible, the effort is often not enough, and results in them becoming distant and isolated, which most people mistake for laziness and vanity.

Note: Many of these mental disorders, if left ignored and untreated, can escalate and accumulate into suicidal thoughts and tendencies; and voicing such thoughts is often their way of reaching out for help.

So, instead of preaching to, stereotyping, or avoiding these conversations, openly talk to them, support them, and get the appropriate help, if needed. It might save a life.

Compassion and support, along with the required medical attention, are key in helping people struggling with mental health issues. If you or someone else around you display signs of a mental health disorder, do not hesitate to consult a professional.

Here at oladoc, you can you find the best Psychologist in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad, and book confirmed appointments. Moreover, you can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 and seek an appointment with the psychologist near you.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Nyla Shafiq Chaudhry - Author Dr. Nyla Shafiq Chaudhry is a Psychiatrist practicing in Lahore. Dr. Nyla Shafiq Chaudhry has the following degrees: MBBS, MCPS (Psychiatry), DMP, MD (USA) and has 24 years of experience.
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