5 MYTHS ABOUT PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS
Mental illness and psychological disorders are often mistakenly interpreted and represented to the public. It's hard to find the culprit for these myths, but the fact is that they are there, and most people believe in them, and thus unwittingly harm the people who really suffer from these mental states.
Although there is a huge amount of myths about psychological disorders, I will write about only five which are very popular.
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1. ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY
Myth: Someone who avoids social interaction is ''antisocial''
Antisocial personality is a diagnosis of people who ignore the rights of people around them, so they behave violently, lying, stealing, or generally acting recklessly without being concerned for the safety of themselves or the safety of those around them. These people are often more extrowerted and actually they are completely opposite types of people the society calls ''ASOCIAL'' - an introvert who cares about others' feelings more than they should.
Antisocial personality is often wrongly attributed to people who are just shy, or have some form of autism, depression, social anxiety disorder, or an anxiety reaction. Anxiety reaction is diagnosed with people who avoid social interaction because of an intense fear of rejection. Antisocial personality is not someone who avoids social interaction - but someone who constantly violates the ''social rules''. This behavior is often criminal.
The symptoms of antisocial personality disorder - The symptoms of antisocial personality disorder may include:
- Failure of good and bad
- Persistent lying or deceit
- Using charm or wit to manipulate others
- Recurring problems with the law
- Repeated violations of the rights of others
- Child abuse or neglect
- Intimidation of others
- Aggressive or violent behavior
- Lack of remorse
- Impulsive behavior
- Poor or abusive relationship
- Irresponsible behavior
THE CAUSES OF ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER
Personality is a combination of thoughts, emotions and behaviors that make us unique. That's the way people look, understand and relate to the outside world. Personality is formed in childhood by the interaction of two factors :
- Inherited factors or genes - these are aspects of personality that we inherit from our parents, such as shyness or optimism. This is sometimes called temperament.
- Environment and life situation - it is an environment in which someone grows up, the events that have taken place and relationships with family members and others. Includes things such as the type of parents who educated us, whether it was love or environment problems.
It is believed that personality disorders are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences. Some people may have a genetic predisposition for the development of antisocial personality disorder and life situation may trigger its actual development. Also, it is considered that there may be a link between the early lack of empathy, understanding, perspective and other problems, and the eventual emergence of antisocial personality disorder. This personal problems can be detected earlier, and it can improve the chances of their treatment. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if the symptoms point to antisocial personality disorder or some other disorder, as some symptoms overlap with more than one disorder. A key factor in the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder is the way a person relates to others.
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2. DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER / MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER / MPD
Myth : People who suffer from dissociative identity disorder radically change their behavior and are not aware of what is happening at the moment when they are '' passing '' from one personality to another.
People suffering from MPD may have two or even up to hundreds of different identities ( personalities ), which in turn take their bodies. These alternate personalities are usually, but not always, caused by childhood trauma. In most cases, personality changes may go completely unnoticed to a plain observer.
Many people who are suffering from MPD know very good all of their personalities, and it is possible that sometimes one person doesn't know what happened, because she wasn't actively taking part in the event - which creates a sense of amnesia - even though the person is still aware of all the details. Alters can usually communicate - to a certain extent. and sometimes even work together in order to hide the fact that there are more of them. Some people who suffer from this disorder even refuse treatment - because they feel perfectly good functioning as a team.
To diagnose dissociative identity disorder, DID (or multiple personality disorder, MPD) requires that the person has at least two distinct ego states (alter-ego, the double), with different modes of being and feeling, and they act as completely independent of each other, appearing and directing consciousness at different times. Gaps in memory are also common, and are caused by the fact that at least one alter-ego has no contact with others. Each double is fully integrated and complex, with its own behaviors, memories and relationships: each determines the nature and action of a person, when he is "in power." Usually twins are completely different personalities, even mutual contradiction (one can be left-handed and one right-handed, one can wear glasses and can be allergic to different things). Original and subordinate personalities are all aware of lost time periods, and the voices of others can sometimes resonate in their minds, though they don't know whose voice it is.
MPD usually begins in early childhood, but it is rarely diagnosed before adolescence. It is a chronic and more serious disorder than other dissociative disorders, and recovery may be incomplete. This disorder is much more common in women than in men, and usually is accompanied by other diagnoses - particular depression, borderline personality disorder and somatization. It is usually accompanied by headaches, substance abuse, phobias, suicidal ideas and behavior directed against himself. Cases of dissociative identity is often incorrectly described as schizophrenic reactions. Although the disorder is formally accepted by being included in the official diagnostic manual, its existence contradicts the firmly held belief that every body is "inhabited" with only one person.
Myth : People who suffer from schizophrenia hear voices in their head
We are all familiar with schizophrenia and we've all heard the phrase '' voices in his head '' . But contrary to what many people believe, people who suffer from this mental illness, in most cases don't hear '' voices in the head ''.
Auditory hallucinations are very common with people who suffer from schizophrenia, and there is a greater chance that the person who experiences them, will hear voices from an object out of his/her body then inside his/her head.
In addition, not all experience the same symptoms. People suffering from schizophrenia may have hallucinations( seeing or hearing things that are not there ), delusions( believing in unrealistic ideas ), disordered thoughts, or even in cases of catatonic schizophrenia, lack of desire to move at all. Schizophrenia is a complex disorder with a wide range of possible symptoms - the voices in the head are only one, rare form.
People with schizophrenia may complain to experience hallucinations (or can be seen to respond to them), or they may express views that have nothing to do with reality. Social work disability with a range of other symptoms, and lack of apparent organic cause of symptoms can confirm the diagnosis. Studies reveal that the biological and social cultural factors influence the occurrence of disease, and recent studies reveal the biochemical and genetic causes of brain neurobiology.
There is currently no objective biological test for schizophrenia, the diagnosis is based on the testimony of the patient combined with the observation of a psychiatrist or other responsible person. Despite its name, schizophrenia doesn't include split personality disorder, and it should not be confused with the collapse disorder (dissociation) identity (which is often portrayed in films and other forms of popular culture). Schizophrenia and aggressive behavior aren't linked also. Schizophrenia is treated over the years more as a psychological term, but there is always a connection with a life story and certain problems.
About 1% of the population develop schizophrenia during their lifetime. Although schizophrenia affects both men and women, the disorder usually appears earlier in men, usually in the period when the person is a teenager or in their early twenties. Whereas in women occurs in the twenties or early thirties. There is no single cause of schizophrenia. Many diseases occur as a result of the interaction of genetic, environmental and other factors. This may be the case with schizophrenia. Scientists still haven't found all the factors that can lead to schizophrenia.
It has long been known that schizophrenia occurs in families. People who have a close relative who suffers from schizophrenia are more prone to it to develop this disorder, than those who have no such relatives. For example, identical twins, descendants of people who have schizophrenia are at greatest risk for disease and that from 40 - 50%, while a child who has a parent with schizophrenia has a 10% chance to get sick. But in addition to genetic defects there are other factors that also may have a significant impact on the development and the general appearance of schizophrenia. Such factors are difficult prenatal, intrauterine starvation or viral infections or various nonspecific stressors.
4. SELF - INJURY
Myth : People who intentionally hurt themselves are trying to kill themselves or they want attention
Many people, especially young people, who are suffering from various mental disorders, cope with their inner pain by inflicting physical harm to themselves, often by cutting. No matter how it looks, self-injury is not a failed suicide attempt. Many people who are self-injuring them are actually trying to avoid suicide by letting their emotions out on ( somewhat ) safer way.
Many people think that those who are self-injuring are just looking for attention. While this may be true in some(rare cases), most people who are doing self-injuring are actually trying to hide their injuries wearing long sleeves or pants, or they hurt themselves on a place that is usually covered by clothes.
This is very dangerous behavior, no matter how bizarre it seems, it isn't as rare as it is generally supposed. However, the fact that it is starting to appear very often shouldn't diminish the importance and seriousness of this problem, which, if not detected in time, can lead to fatal consequences. In some cases person self injures themselves hoping to awake any kind of feelings in themselves. Feeling of numbness and lethargy can be just as unbearable as swamped with feelings, and physical pain for that person in this case is salvation.
Besides, even if someone decided to hurt themselves just for the attention, do not turn your head. There is a great chance that the person who did it simply doesn't know any other way to ask for help.
Myth : People who hurt themselves have some mental disorder
Myth : Self injury is just trying to get some attention
Some mental disorders can be followed by self injury, but it doesn't mean that all people who are hurting themselves necessarily suffer from some kind of disorder. Often after a trauma, overwhelmed by feelings that they don't know how to cope with, people get relief through self injury.
This attitude is very common, but also very dangerous because it downplays the problems standing in the background of self- injury. Although it is possible, especially in teenagers, to inflict injury, to attract attention, self-injury happens more often in secret, because a person is ashamed of this behavior and wants to hide it as better as possible.
5. OBSESSIVE - COMPULSIVE DISORDER/ OCD
Myth : People with OCD are always obsessed with dangers of bacteria, and they are always too tidy
Most of us think that people with OCD are very tidy or germaphobes, not realizing that the OCD is far more complex than that. OCD is an anxiety disorder with two main features.
First of all, people with OCD have unwanted thoughts ( obsessions ), usually about something they find disturbing or something more general in their character. Usually they have an obsession about germs, or that they didn't lock the doors, but it is also common that they think that something terrible is happening to their family when they are not there.
Second, people suffering with OCD think that a repetition of a certain ritual frees them from danger. That could be washing their hands, keeping the house in perfect order, checking that the door is locked, avoiding certain numbers... After the completion of an action, thoughts still remain the same - the ritual repeats.
Not all persons with OCD care about bacteria, and they don't perform rituals that we usually hear about. Most likely is that you won't even notice most of these rituals. While some people with OCD are perfectionists, perfectionism is more connected to one another disorder : an OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE PERSONALITY DISORDER, and it's quite a different thing from OCD's. One major difference is that people with obsessive-compulsive disorder develop habits that become part of them and they consider those habits desirable, while people with OCD are often upset with their obsessions.