Getting Past the Stigma Behind Meds and Mental Illness

A great many men and women are stigmatized and categorized by mental problems effectively out of their control. Labeled as “downers” and “negative influences” by many who have yet to understand the depth behind mental illnesses, Generation Y is now a group that shows significant growths in many serious mental diagnoses, like depression and anxiety. We have come to a point where we are even being referred to as “the new Lost Generation” by sources like Psychology Today.

So prescriptions designed to prevent those illnesses from dictating one’s life are also on the rise. From Prozac to Clonazepam, people are pursuing psychiatric orders more and more often, as opposed to a steady regimen of weekly therapy.

What has yet to change, however, is the stigma behind those medical practices. Some still view these practices as illegitimate because positive emotional results are artificially brought about. It in incomprehensive that something that causes real relief be branded so harshly that it deters people worldwide from its use.

Simply put, many feel it is a sign of weakness, when, in reality, mental illness should be treated with the same respect as any physical illness. It is dangerous—and in some cases fatal for people to be scared to ask for help. By perpetuating the idea that all mental deficiencies are treatable with a mere diet modification, new workout routine, or forced positive outlook, people then perpetuate the idea that it is unbecoming—shameful, even—to admit to their internal struggles and emotional shortcoming, and seek help.

According to Lennard Davis, New York Times journalist and author, “We’re an over-medicated society, and the goal of drug companies and a compliant and harried medical establishment is ultimately to have some drug coursing through every individuals’ bloodstream.”

While it is proven that so-called “head meds” are on the rise, the clear improvements in the standard of living, alongside an ever-modernizing nation, should confirm that societal evolution requires some degree of help from sources outside of us. Excluding our scientific knowledge to create a pill that calms the nervous mind from these outside resources would be neither economical nor practical.

Nevertheless, the lack of support for medical treatments is surprisingly common in such a progressive day and age. But what is not voiced often enough are the clear benefits of its use.

I personally struggled from a young age with the effects of hereditary dissociative disorders and major anxiety. While some instances of depression and anxiety are situational, mine will remain with me forever, in the same way a family trait might. I will always be fighting an upward battle with my disorders. It was not until I was prescribed Wellbutrin that I was able to truly function or interact with people outside of my established circle of friends and family without fits of panic or fear.

As one of many Americans who rely on meds to stabilize the mind’s chemical imbalances, it is undoubtedly true that these diseases exist along with their respective cures. But, because American culture has a preconceived notion that illness is weakness and controllable without the aids of medication, many choose to let their minds fester.

Problems caused by mental illness are real, and so are their solutions. Do not favor ignorance or what society perceives as “strength” over scientifically proven truths that show just how positive the result are among medicated patients. Instead, support the use of medication where medication is due and uphold an environment where anyone is safe to seek personal or medical guidance.

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