Conspiracy theorists have their own version of every situation. Often, conspiracy theorists say that governments have a role to play in unfortunate incidents. For example, in the 9-11 attack, they made a very detailed narrative of how the US government may have rigged the situation to their advantage. Conspiracy theorists are arguing that an unfortunate event is an “inside job.” Their side of the story borders on typical storylines of science fiction movies and tv series.
In your lifetime, you may have heard from your loved one some extraordinary stories they experienced. These stories can be the landing on the moon being merely orchestrated by NASA, that the 9-11 attack came from the White House itself, that there’s a secret group controlling the entire world, or that aliens are always in contact with us. These are called conspiracy theories.
We all do something, ranging from quirky to self-destructive, that seem on the surface to have no benefit at all. — Teri Woods Ph.D.
Throughout our lives, some things would entirely shake us to our core, those unexpected chilling moments that cannot be explained even by modern science. It is how supernatural beliefs were formed because not everything is explainable by a rational explanation.
Mental illness is a serious and complex issue. Thus, this is not always easy to explain or to understand, even to those who suffered from different disorders for many years. It is true for those who have loved ones dealing with problems such as depression, paranoia and the like.
Superstitions are said to be created as a long-established form of coping mechanism during uncertainties or out-of-control circumstances. Superstitions about certain things in life provide a comforting feeling for believers amidst chaos and confusion.
It is a questionable postulation that superstitious behavior that implicates largely mental action, as opposed physical behavior, could even be considered behavior because it is not observable. — Ann Olson Psy.D.
While others find no harm believing in superstitions, there have been concerns from medical experts especially those who are mainly concentrated on mental health that these beliefs would affect how believers understand and accept therapy or counseling.
Superstitious Belief Is Rampant
Do you find yourself knocking on wood when you said something foreboding, and you want to reverse or counteract what was spoken? Or are you spooked by seeing 13 falling on a Friday or a black cat crossing your path? Are you that person who does not walk under a ladder and instead go around it? These are just some of the usual superstitions we grew up knowing, and some are still advocating up to this day.
According to a poll made by Gallup, it was found that about 25% of Americans are quite superstitious; that’s about one in four people living in the country. That number says a lot about following certain beliefs that usually have no scientific basis.
Thoroughly confused, I was informed that knocking on wood ensures that you don’t “jinx” something you really want to happen. Rather than question the logic of this deeply illogical practice, I latched on. — Emily Green Psy.D.
Where Superstitions Originated
One would wonder – where did all these superstitious beliefs originate? Somehow, whoever invented these notions must have some foundation, right? Psychologists explained that superstitions commenced from certain traditions around the world and ended up in households all over the world, which have, by some means, made quite an impact on people’s behavior towards certain things. Much of these also come from life’s uncertainties, wherein if you yearn for something, you’ll find comfort and control in superstitious behaviors.
When people are faced with chaos and uneasiness, it makes them feel like they are losing traction and control; therefore, the tendency is to find solutions for the lack of oversight from outside sources such as superstitions.
What About Rational Thinking?
Reality is, being overly superstitious significantly affects a person’s state of mind and behavior, influencing everything related to mental health issues and therapy. From a person’s performance and preparation for a specific challenge to the responsiveness to given placebos, the effectiveness of specific psychological illness treatments is wholly dependent on the patient’s responsiveness and positive thinking. Therefore, when superstitions are getting in the way of treatment, it’s time to take it down a notch or completely disregard the belief. This should be done to make way for scientific approach when dealing with mental health conditions.
Every behavior we repeat offers a reward. It doesn’t matter if the reward isn’t obvious. — Teri Woods Ph.D.
What’s disconcerting about being superstitious, especially if it concerns mental health, is the way people would understand and accept the diagnosis thinking that it’s just some sort of supernatural event in a person’s life which can be eluded or conquered easily. People’s performance to achieve goals that are elicited from superstitious behavior disregards the process of learning how goals should be met.
Superstition And Therapy
In therapy, if a superstitious patient’s uncertainty for obtaining mental health goals is heightened, there is a possibility that the superstitions are also increased. However, if provided with a lucky charm, they will become more positive in the outcomes, and their performance in conquering their conditions becomes more pronounced.
Whatever the setting may be, superstitions become precarious when they start to interfere with wellness and activities of daily living.
Debunking common myths related to mental health problems are encountered during counseling. The things you hear during counseling about assumptions on psychological illness will surprise and worry you.
It’s quite startling and disheartening that in this modern age, people still believe in myths concerning mental illnesses. At this point, the majority are expected to be at least oriented about the existence of mental health issues regardless of location or race.
Mental illness is real, and it affects everybody in some random way. However, there are still a lot of negative attitudes towards mental health issues that fuel discrimination and stigma, making it harder for people to reach out and subject themselves to counseling, and for therapists to efficiently promote healing.
Exposing Mental Health Myths
To completely eradicate unsubstantial and problematic beliefs regarding issues on psychological well-being, here are three of the most common myths that people until now still believe.
On the low end are individuals afflicted with severe and persistent mental illness like schizophrenia in which life experiences tend to be profoundly and concretely limited. On the opposite end are individuals known as the worried well – high functioning individuals who possess an acute awareness of consistent though tolerable difficulties. — Jeremy Clyman Psy.D.
Psychological Illness Is Not Real
Mental illness is as real as cancer or the flu or whatever physical condition that you can think of. Until this day, there are still those who believe that mental health problems are just a “state of mind” which people can easily “get over.” Mental illnesses, if not addressed appropriately, create distress and don’t immediately disappear when someone utters the magic words, “shrug it off.”
The pain felt in certain parts of the body will not quickly subside without proper treatment, and no matter how many rituals or chants you’ve done to call out your gods for a reprieve, physical manifestations don’t go away. This is precisely the same with mental illness.
Mentally Ill Individuals Are Dangerous
No thanks to inaccurate media portrayals, other people see mentally ill persons as violent and potentially dangerous. A lot of people are intolerant of mental illness due to what they see on their screens. Prediction of violence is mostly overrated that whenever someone is recognized as mentally ill, the first thing that comes to mind is intensity and assault. Though the previous attacks seen in the news are committed by personalities who were diagnosed with a specific psychological illness, the scope and nature of violence are more complicated and is not entirely linked with mental issues.
Sadly, there are some mental health professionals who still advocate for the removal or mental/emotional amputation of certain human aspects because they are destructive or self-destructive. — Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC
Mental illness and violence are not exclusive; in fact, researchers disagree that mental illness is a definitive predictor for doing violent acts. Looking at a particular psychological illness, it is concluded that people who struggle with mental illness are no more violent than those without mental illness. Countless reports excluding mentally ill people from certain communities are in itself, already an act of violence; unfortunately, people who suffer from mental diseases are the ones who are usually excluded. Furthermore, it is also essential to note that those who struggle with mental illnesses are more likely to become victims of violence rather than being the purveyors of violence.
There Is No Escape From Mental Illness
Here’s some good news for you non-believers. People do and can recover from psychological conditions. In the advent of modern medicine, different kinds of effective psychotherapeutic treatments, medications, and services are materializing. By now, people should be aware that with proper psychological care, individuals who are mentally ill can survive their condition and go back living their lives productively and healthily.
The benevolent view would be that there will be more access to treatment for everyone. A more cynical view suggests an increase in pathologizing normal experience (e.g., converting shyness into social anxiety disorder) . — Bruce Poulsen Ph.D.
People have this habit of immediately jumping to conclusions without prior research or proper information-gathering. Though it may take some time and more convincing for the majority to take mental health seriously, changing behaviors and perception can be possible.
The thing is, President Trump is not the only one who is fond of jumping into conspiracy theories whenever there is a need to explain some complicated issue that is happening around the world. What he doesn’t (or does) realize is that coming from his position of influence and power, touting conspiracies like it was just some piece of unimportant information is damaging.
Why Conspiracy Theories Are Ruinous
The pain and suffering brought about conspiracy theories can tremendously hurt especially the people who are involved within the context of the story. Say, for example, the parents of the murdered Sandy Hook children, who, until this day, are still being charged by a lot of people of making up stories. Even if the shooting was all over the media, there are still those who believed that the parents of these slain kids who suffered an insurmountable amount of loss and grief are actually lying.
Alex Jones, who is a vocal Trump supporter and the host of Infowars has been generously throwing a lot of conspiracy theories – from the infamous hoaxed global warming to Sesame Street normalizing autism and so much more. But even with the existence of reliable scientific evidence, there are still people who would rather believe someone who is endlessly ranting about conspiracy theories on television. Why?
Conspiracy theories arise surrounding many different events and issues, from assassinations to suicides, terrorist attacks to wars, and scientific theories to medical treatments. — Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic Ph.D.
The Appealing Characteristics Of Conspiracy Theories
Psychiatry explains why people are drawn to conspiracy theories to the point of relinquishing the truth and believing the lie altogether.
The Definition.Conspiracy theory, in the most straightforward sense, is the assumption that there are influential people who are secretly conspiring to create plans or schemes that are exponentially malevolent. These theories have become quite convincing because of the fact that they are used as a tool to expound peculiarities or baffling realities.
The Dilemma.Things are occurring in the world at this very moment that cannot be elucidated clearly. Often, when individuals are unsure when it comes to change — when they got fired, or when terrorism or a natural disaster has happened — they are inclined to the tendency of wanting to figure out what’s going on. With this also comes the propensity to consider the worst. The combination of figuring out what in the world is happening and considering the worst usually leads to the creation of conspiracy theories.
The Beginning. Conspiracy theories are particularly conceivable to flourish during times of increasing uncertainty in a specific society, most likely after a notorious incident has happened. These significant, often heart-wrenching incidences would instantaneously imply immediate yet threatening changes in society and reality.
The Susceptibility. When one person is more susceptible to conspiracy theories than others, there are a few reasons behind that.
Political Ideology – whether left or right, it is found out that the more a person’s political views become radical, the higher chances of believing conspiracies.
Collective Narcissism –due to their nature (thinking they are superior to others), narcissistic folks would rather believe in the unexplainable than settle with substantial evidence.
In a turbulent, scary world, conspiracy theories are what other people cling to for control and answers. The good news is, everyone’s not predisposed to conspiracies; there are still people who stand out to find truth amidst the liberal lies.
Still, while these conspiracy theories may seem harmless enough, the consequences of these beliefs can be far more damaging than you might realize. — Romeo Vitelli Ph.D.
The things we tell ourselves can help or hinder our efforts to make lasting changes. — SETH J. GILLIHAN, PHD
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a psychological illness that people tend to acquire when the seasons change. Professionals believe that the disease develops due to the gloomy weather and the fact that clouds usually cover the sun. As it is a form of depression, you can also expect the patient to experience bouts of helplessness, apathy, unexplainable exhaustion, and hopelessness.
According to surveys, approximately five percent of the American population deals with SAD on a yearly basis. That’s over 150,000 people – a significant quantity that should allow truths about the disease to come out, frankly speaking. Despite that, the patients with this illness still face misunderstandings after getting diagnosed with the disease.
To offer you more insight, here are some ideas about Seasonal Affective Disorder that aren’t true.
SAD Is Not A Real Illness
The first myth that’s been going around for ages pertains to the notion that it’s a make-believe disorder and that the folks who are going through it have an existing depression. They merely have the “winter blues,” as people call it. This idea came to light as researchers from Auburn University revealed the sun exposure and location have nothing to do with the depressive episodes that their respondents experience during the changing of the seasons.
Although that sounds legitimate, SAD can go on for months and isn’t just curable with exercise and a different sleeping pattern. You’ll most likely need therapy to overcome it; that’s why it’s wrong to claim that it’s unreal until all indications say so.
As she thought more about it, she realized that she had usually felt pretty depressed as the winter went on and would feel better as the spring started. — John Cline Ph.D.
The thing about most disorders is that they don’t choose the affected people based on sex, age, and race. Everyone beyond their 30s is prone to acquiring this particular condition as the hormones that make you dynamic begins to decline around that age. Nonetheless, even children or young adults may also develop Seasonal Affective Disorder.
There’s No Treatment For SAD
It is dismaying to hear that some patients go through the illness without seeing a therapist as they assume that there’s nothing the latter can do to help. That thought can never be real because there are treatments available for SAD.
The most recognized one is the light therapy. The professional will subject the patient to a fluorescent light that’s much brighter compared to other lightings. According to studies, it can improve the mood and disposition of the person significantly.
There’s also psychotherapy wherein the counselor aims to teach the individual to identify their issues and manage it well. It’s more on conversing, and it may allow the patient not to feel lonely.
You can combine both treatments and even get medication in case a single therapy isn’t enough.
What the world needs is for all of us to accept and love ourselves, despite our limitations and difficulties. — Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC
Schizophrenia affects more than 21 million individuals across the globe, according to the latest census of the World Health Organization. We should ideally know enough about the disorder, considering it isn’t a newly discovered mental illness by any means. But other than hearing about its symptoms, e.g., hallucination, movement and thought dysfunctionality, and overall lack of drive to do anything worthwhile, the fact that there are billions of inhabitants in this planet still makes the disease unfamiliar for many people.
For that reason, our aim today is to offer some truth and dispel any baseless belief about schizophrenia. Continue reading below.
Hit: It Is An Actual Mental Illness
The first thing to talk about is the validity of the psychiatric ailment. In the past, a lot of experts who didn’t have faith in psychiatry said that schizophrenia is a make-believe illness. Ronald Laing, in particular, popularized the theory that the condition is practically a sign of sanity. Despite that, schizophrenia remains a real mental disorder.
And, yes, schizophrenia is a psychosis as opposed to a neurosis. The difference is that psychotics see and hear things that aren’t there while neurotics, who can be seriously disabled, at least don’t suffer from hallucinations. — Stephen Mason Ph.D.
Miss: The Disease Is Synonymous With A Multiple Personality Disorder
The belief that schizophrenic people lead a dual life is not based on evidence. Even though they are delusional sometimes and can’t function like a regular human being when an episode happens, these folks are still aware that they have a single identity. That’s what differentiates them from patients with a split personality, so it isn’t acceptable to make both diseases synonymous with each other.
Hit: Schizophrenia Isn’t Entirely Hereditary Or Due To Poor Rearing
Since the illness occurs in the brain, there isn’t a 100% guarantee that a parent can transmit schizophrenia to their children. The probability may increase as the number of schizophrenic folks within the family rises, for sure, but that can’t be the only cause.
Similarly, the disorder isn’t a result of corrupt parenting either. An individual can have the best childhood anyone can ever dream of and still acquire schizophrenia years after because of external influences, such as drugs, trauma, etc.
Miss: Patients Can Never Be Intelligent
This myth has something to do with the conventional notion that a mental disease makes it difficult for sufferers to take regular examinations at school. The same isn’t far off for people who have schizophrenia, of course. Just like the patients with other neurological disorders, however, their smarts lie elsewhere.
To some, it makes no sense to consider why an individual might be hearing voices telling them they are worthless, smelling a poisonous gas in their home, or believing that a government agency has targeted them. If one sees these experiences as mere manifestations of biologic abnormality as opposed to a complex biopsychosocial problem, then psychotic symptoms will appear devoid of any meaning or significance.— Mark L. Ruffalo D.Psa., L.C.S.W.
Most of the time, schizophrenic individuals excel in the creativity field. They can be great at dancing, drawing, painting, or various artistic stuff. Hence, no one can say they aren’t intelligent when they’re gaining accolades through arts, right?
Hit: It Is Treatable
Due to the symptoms not being wholly caused by grief, anger, or fear, schizophrenia may be more treatable – not curable – than depression, anxiety, etc. In reality, half of the patients who receive regular treatment may improve or recover from the illness. The ones who will carry it forever are, not surprisingly, the individuals who won’t accept medical intervention.
Miss: The Disorder Makes Patients Incapable Of Living A Normal Life
Assuming that the person doesn’t deal with severe episodes, it’s not impossible for him or her to have a mundane life wherein they don’t need the assistance of a minder. It is a blessing as well that many organizations are open to hiring employees who suffer from certain mental diseases. Their goal is to bring some regularity in the patient’s life and hopefully become one of the instruments for their recuperation.
For people to live healthy, successful, socially active lives, it is necessary that a person does not “become” their disorder. — Robert T Muller Ph.D.
Last week, five ways to create that dream life of yours which is beautiful were explained. Now, there are five more ideas and probably eye-openers for you so that you will understand that life is what you make of it. If you want beauty, you will reap it as you go forth.