With the COVID-19 pandemic raging outside, people have been forced to stay put in their safety bubble to avoid contracting the virus. This has effectively cut them off from the company of their loved ones. For a large percentage, the pandemic has forced them to live in unfavorable conditions. As a result of these circumstances, people have developed serious mental health issues and have aggravated those already existing.
Mental illness comes with the baggage of stigma even in this day and age when sensitization camps all around have worked so hard to raise awareness. Often, this stigma is internalized by the patients, who are thus discouraged from seeking medical assistance for their mental health issues. According to the various experts working at suboxone clinics near me, using appropriate language around them can help them overcome this stigma.
Records of mental illness and distress among the youth have reached an all-time high in recent times. This shows that people have been encouraged to come forward with their mental health struggles. Despite that, the alarmingly high rate of self-harm and suicide among this demographic from psychological issues suggests that the stigma around mental illness is far from being reduced. Not only young people and adolescents but the older and mature population avoid seeking treatment for fear of being judged.
In medical terminology, stigma has been defined as a negative and discriminatory attitude toward a person or group with specific distinguishing characteristics. This view of otherness is very harmful and discredits the victim of their natural personhood, says a medical professional from sublocade treatment clinics Providence. They are seen as inferior individuals and shunned away from society just because they don't fit societal norms.
Much of the stigma around mental illness is propagated through the casual use of specific linguistic tendencies. Since communication through language is part and parcel of our daily lifestyle, inappropriate words used deliberately or unintentionally affect the patient, especially when they are in such a sensitive condition.
Commonly used slang terms and problematic language often act as triggers for people who have been verbally abused and bullied in the past because of their differences. Even the media portrayals of mentally ill people often feed the stigma by showing negative stereotypes, and reactions often ignore real victims' lived experiences. Medical terminology that refers to mental illness is often trivialized in these narratives and is imbibed by the general population. The misuse of clinical terms like "schizophrenia," "OCD," and "depression" feed the stigma around them.
Language is a system that keeps on evolving. Some words that would have been fine in their original context might appear outdated and even offensive in the current context. The brain relates these words automatically through "associative activation" to an idea that may trigger other distressing thoughts. From this, emotional, behavioral, and physical responses are produced instantaneously.
According to suboxone treatment doctors Worcester, if the same logic is applied positively, then it can be said that the brain reacts promptly to affirmative words as well. Since language is emotionally charged, a positive lexicon makes mentally unwell patients feel better about themselves, seek medical help, and continue treatment.
At least one out of five people are susceptible to experiencing mental health issues that can also include substance abuse. Therefore, how one talks about mental illness in their immediate social circles is of critical importance.
The COVID-19 virus itself can cause neuropsychiatric illness besides mental challenges that arise from the containment measures. Medical experts at sublocade treatment clinics advise being kind and thoughtful while interacting with others in these trying times.
Each person perceives different words in their way. The meaning of the terms may be profound to some while being insignificant to others. So, it is best to ask the individual how they prefer their illness to be talked about or, more importantly, if they want to talk about their mental health problems at all. Unless it is a healthcare provider, one has no obligation to talk about their mental health.
The suboxone treatment centers strive to raise awareness about how mental illness, especially depression, has become an epidemic across the country and the world. Statistics say that around 40 million Americans are affected every year with anxiety disorders. For this massive percentage of the population to receive a proper diagnosis, the power of language should be realized to reduce the stigma.
Although the opioid crisis was widely reported to raise awareness among the public, only 18% of patients with Opioid Use Disorder had received treatment in 2019. Such is the stigma around treatment for mental illness and substance use. Three effective drugs were available during this time at suboxone treatment centers Natick and elsewhere, yet people were reluctant to seek help.
A recent study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, published in July 2021, addresses language, articulation, and the stigma around mental illness. It was found that using scientifically accurate language and terminology that focuses on the patient's experience proves to be beneficial for the patient as they validate their worth. They can also have a positive impact on how the patient is treated within the healthcare systems and society at large.