Mental disorders deserve the same attention as physical ailments

There is a stigma that surrounds eating and mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, bulimia, anorexia and OCD. In most cases, physical ailments are taken more seriously than mental disorders, because the problems and declines in health are more obvious.

This difference does not mean that they are any less serious than physical problems, but are often treated as such, and sometimes viewed as the sufferer’s own fault. A lack of education and attention to mental problems in public school and in general is a main reason for these misconceptions.

People often overlook the fact that depression and anxiety are linked with many long term diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma.

They are also linked to coronary artery disease (CAD), which increases the chance of death from heart disease. In the case that physical repercussions are recognized, mental disorders are more likely to be taken into account.

But the fact that we need another medical issue that sounds “legitimate” to justify mental illness already says enough about how mental illness lacks legitimacy in our society.

Shouldn’t mental illness alone be enough to be taken seriously?

What is oftentimes argued is that people who have mental disorders can easily overcome their mental disorders at any given moment in time. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Skeptics often fail to realize that, throughout the years, the effects of mental illness accumulate.

Having one bad day, for example, can put a slight hindrance in your week. Now imagine having fourteen bad days in a row. Now imagine those bad days stretching into bad months, and imagine them scattered throughout the course of the year for several years.

When people question the reality of these problems, they’re just adding to feelings of guilt, isolation and low self worth, leading to a spiral of self-doubt and questioning. It’s easy to develop a completely distorted perception of oneself and the surrounding world when facing these mental illness alone.

Medication for mental disorders is often over prescribed because the negative stigma around mental illness makes people look for an “easy route” when, oftentimes, cognitive behavioral therapy is necessary.

CBT is the identification of specific muddled and cluttered feelings that help the patient confront the underlying problem, making recovery easier.

Mental health education is also not nearly stressed enough in American school systems. This results in people being misdiagnosed or over-diagnosed, as well as stereotypes and misinformation becoming more prevalent.