Five Things You Need To Know About Mental Health

By Dr. Pradeep K. Chadha MBBS. DCP. DPM. PG Diploma Psychotherapy Studies on January 23, 2018

Having worked in mental health for more than two decades has made me aware of a lot of misunderstandings that people tend to have about mental health. Mental health practice is like any other profession. The more you are in it, the more you know about its limitations. Here are five points that I would like to share about mental health.

1.Mental health is not a lottery:

Just because you are hearing stories about someone having depression or alcohol problems or suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease does not mean that you need to be scared of these conditions. There are many factors that cause psychiatric illnesses. Lack of physical exercise, poor eating habits, too much of physical or mental stress, not taking proper rest or sleep in time and creating an imbalance in life in any form are common to all mental health problems. 

2.Psychiatrists do not have all the answers on mental health:

Psychiatrists are not Gods. They do not know everything about mental health. If they would, they would not have as much problems as many of us have. Psychiatrists do suffer with depression and alcohol addiction like you or me. According to Kaplan’s Text Book of Psychiatry, doctors have 3-5 times higher rate of suicide than general population. Psychiatrists have the highest rate among doctors. A recent report published on medscatpe.com ,however, suggest that the picture may be changing.

3.Meditation does not help immediately in every condition:

Meditation is a relaxing activity for the nervous system and for the body. There are times when meditation is not the answer to address stress related issues. At those times psychotherapy and medication are needed. When you cannot do meditation, even when you try to, it is a sign that you need to take more help with your issues.

4.Sleep disturbance needs to be taken seriously:

According to various researches published on line, about 10% of the population has chronic sleep problems. About 60% of the population has sleep problems at a given moment in time. Sleep problems are very common in mental illnesses. Many times a person suffering with mental illness initially has complaints of sleep problems. If someone around you is having difficulty in sleeping regularly, they need help right now. This can be given in various forms. This may include herbs or nutritional supplements, if the problem is mild, or exercise or simply looking at sleep habits. If nothing works, they may need medication for a short while to get it right. Sorting out sleep issues is of immense help in these situations.

5.Having genes for depression or schizophrenia are no guarantees to have the illnesses:

Mary, a middle aged lady once attended me with the belief that because her father had schizophrenia, she was going to have it anyway. She was so much engrossed in this thought that she had put herself under pressure. This had started to distort her thinking and behavior. Psychotherapy helped her feel differently that changed her way of thinking about herself. If there is a family history or any mental illness, it makes you more vulnerable to have the illness but does not guarantee that you will have it. 

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