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Combating the Mental Illness Stigma for a Better Life

Psychiatric stigmatization is an erroneous and inappropriate approach, associated with building shameful and disgraceful feelings in those suffering from mental illness. Such stigma carries a hidden burden and ends up creating barriers to healthcare, including mental reluctance to receiving appropriate care, delay in returning towards well-being and discrimination in resource allocation.

The attitude of stigmatization is however, universally found and is deeply entrenched. For instance, in some Asian countries, the belief of being attacked by supernatural powers leads to hazardous and negative responses towards a person who is mentally ill.

Factors to combat the stigma attached to mental illnesses:

There are basically two factors which help in tackling the stigma of mental illnesses. These include:

  • Mental illness awareness
  • Availability of appropriate and effective treatment

For most psychological problems, we now have various effective treatments, but the key to altering established attitudes is through awareness and education. It is crucial to define knowledge and baseline attitudes to understand what exactly requires change and the ways in which this can be successfully achieved along with monitoring. And all of this must be done before embarking on public campaigns at a large scale.

Recent Advances to tackle the stigma of mental illness

Here are some recent advances to combat this stigma.

  • Neurophysiologic abnormalities are constantly being examined for post-traumatic stress disorder which should help in differentiating it from many other conditions and can lead to better treatments.
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is nonetheless, the most promising treatment to cure depression.
  • Many studies are still under the research and development phase to ensure cost effectiveness in terms of atypical antipsychotic drugs.
  • Characterization and identification of the enzymes responsible for cutting β amyloid from the precursor protein – amyloid has established the chances of better treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

On the whole, mental health care professionals and psychiatrists are generally in a unique position to effectively challenge stigmatizing representation of mental illnesses by the media.

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