7 Myths You Might Believe About Antipsychotic Medications

When mental illness is depicted on TV shows and movies, it’s not always kind. While Crazy Ex-Girlfriend got a lot right, for instance, 13 Reasons Why, not so much. And when it comes to medications, like antipsychotics or antidepressants, realistic depictions are often lacking. For instance, they may show a character whose antipsychotics make them act like an entirely different person (not the case), or they’ll show someone who is immediately “cured” after a day on antidepressants (also not the case).

These media stereotypes—mixed with the lack of quality information online—contribute to misinformation and myths about mental illnesses and the drugs used to manage them, particularly antipsychotics, David Brendel, M.D., PhD, a psychiatrist based in Boston, tells SELF. “Many of these mental health conditions have been treated as problems with people’s personalities rather than as medical conditions, and so there’s been a lot of resistance and judgement about many of these medications,” he says.  more

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These are the most common misconceptions of bipolar disorder, according to someone who lives with it

  • Bipolar disorder is characterised by manic and depressive episodes.
  • It shouldn’t be romanticised, said Katherine Ponte, who has lived with bipolar 1 for 15 years.
  • People tend to be in the depressive episodes longer than the manic ones.
  • But it’s the manic episodes that “get you in trouble.”

Mental health disorders can be wrongly portrayed in film and television, often being shown as more romantic, dramatic, or dangerous than they really are. So people can often end up with ideas about them that aren’t accurate.

Bipolar disorder is no different.

Katherine Ponte, founder of ForLikeMinds, spoke to INSIDER about what it’s been like to live with bipolar 1 disorder for the past 15 years — and the most common misconceptions that exist around bipoar.

Bipolar 1 is characterised by manic episodes, depressive episodes, and potentially some psychosis. Bipolar 2 is a different disorder where the episodes of mania are less severe, often called hypomania.  more

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Unsane: how film’s portrayal of mental illness is (slowly) improving

Steven Soderbergh: Unretired. The director announced in 2013 that he was quitting because “movies don’t matter any more”. But he has continued to work steadily since – in television and, since last year, film again. The film he made before announcing his “retirement” was Side Effects, a psychological thriller exploring big pharma, that followed a young woman (Rooney Mara) detained in a psychiatric hospital against her will. His new film, Unsane, is a psychological thriller that follows a young woman (Claire Foy) detained in a psychiatric hospital against her will. It is clear, then, that Soderbergh finds mental illness and psychiatry interesting topics to explore.

He’s not alone. But how has the onscreen treatment of mental illness evolved over the years?

One of the screen characters we most associate with mental illness is Jack Nicholson’s Mac McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest who, lest we forget, was not insane, just hoping to avoid a prison sentence. Miloš Forman’s film, based on the Ken Kesey novel, was praised at the time for a sympathetic treatment of the inpatients, its “battle against the system” narrative and the more-or-less accurate portrayals of the often inhumane treatments routine at the time (lobotomies and electroconvulsive therapy without muscle relaxants).  more

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Mental health event brings stories of help, hope

STOCKTON — Marsha Posner Williams is a successful television producer, winner of two Emmy and three Golden Globe awards for “The Golden Girls.”

Yael Deynes, who survived a suicide attempt, physical and mental abuse by his biological mother in his native Puerto Rico and controlling, mental abuse at the hands of his former gay lover, has made an award-winning short film and is seeking funding for his first feature-length motion picture.

The two will share their stories of success and offer encouragement Friday when they speak on “Curing The Stigma” from 1:30-3 p.m. in the Tillie Lewis Theatre as San Joaquin Delta College concludes its observance of Mental Health Awareness Week.  more

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5 Things Movies Don’t Tell You About Mental Institutions

Everyone knows that mental hospitals are horror movie prisons for crazy people, with padded walls, flickering lights, and evil nurses wearing tiny hats. Well, everyone might want to get their head checked, because psychiatric hospitals are nowhere near as exciting as all that. Most look more like college dorms with extra locks on the doors. I should know: I’ve been in six psychiatric facilities in three states, from the fancy McLean Hospital (aka the Girl, Interrupted place) to crappier state-run facilities. I’ve been diagnosed and misdiagnosed with everything from major depressive disorder to borderline personality disorder to schizophrenia. But I’m better now, and I swear that all this shit is true.  more

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How Good Is Hollywood at Portraying Mental Illness?

Not great, says psychologist and film buff Danny Wedding.

Look at any classic horror film—Nightmare on Elm StreetFriday the 13thThe Shining—and you’re likely to find mental illness. It’s a convenient, if inaccurate, explanation for the maniacal violence that makes up the backbone of these stories. But in most films portraying mental illness, especially violent and bloody horror films, real life pathology is willfully abandoned in favor of melodramatic storytelling. At best, it’s lazy; at worst, it publicly and repeatedly demonizes the people who need the most help. In a recent article I wrote about the mentally ill being killed in disproportionate numbers by police, many people commented along the lines of “Well, of course, they’re much more dangerous,” which anybody working in mental health can tell you is not only untrue, but is the direct result of the media’s focus on a fictitious link between mental illness and violence.

I spoke with Dr. Danny Wedding, a former director of the Missouri Institute of Mental Health and co-author of Movies and Mental Illness: Using Films to Understand Psychopathology, to learn more about some of the more common movie myths.  more

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