Anne Heche’s Death Shows How Conflicted We Are About Mental Health

Words "mental health" over a brown background with twigs
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Actress Anne Heche’s recent passing has raised questions about society’s attitudes toward drugs, alcohol and mental illness. As this article points out, an outpouring of support is notably lacking for Heche, who struck the garage of a home with her Mini Cooper. Before succumbing to her injuries, Heche was under investigation for a misdemeanor DUI and hit and run.

Heche has been open regarding her struggle with drugs and alcohol. She used these substances to escape the trauma of sexual abuse she suffered as a child. Heche’s family also dealt with homelessness. Sadly, Heche’s mental health crisis in 2002 was largely treated as a joke, though thankfully, those jokes would not be tolerated today.

While we have made strides in our understanding of mental health disorders, mental illness is still stigmatized. And part of the reason why it’s stigmatized is because of the myths and misconceptions that people believe. Unfortunately, these misconceptions can stop a person from accessing drug or alcohol rehab in Arizona.

Let’s look at some of the most common myths regarding mental illness and the truths behind them.

Mental illness is overdiagnosed.

Since there are higher rates of depression and anxiety, some people believe that doctors are overdiagnosing these conditions. There is some truth to this. We know more about mental health disorders than ever before, making it easier for doctors to identify symptoms earlier.

The diagnostic criteria also continues to change, which means someone who may not have been diagnosed with depression a few decades ago would today. Finally, there is a growing acceptance of mental illness, allowing TV personalities, social media influencers and others to share their stories.

However, there is very little evidence that mental health disorders are being overdiagnosed. The best way to ensure that you or a loved one is not being overdiagnosed is to meet with a trusted provider and share all of your symptoms.

Time heals mental health problems.

While it’s true that time heals many things, it does not heal a mental health disorder. In fact, as time goes on without treatment, the mental illness can worsen and put you at risk for additional complications like substance use, eating disorders and risky behavior.

Another thing that time doesn’t heal is psychological wounds. Many people who struggle with substance use or mental illness have suffered past trauma, and time doesn’t erase the pain. Instead, healing comes from acknowledging the pain and processing it in a safe space.

Antidepressants are not effective.

A common myth is that antidepressant drugs do not work. But this is not true. Antidepressants are effective at treating certain mental health conditions like moderate, severe and chronic depression. They also have other benefits, such as reducing inflammation, a contributor to depression.

However, it is important to note that these medications may help in certain situations and not others. This is why medication is only a part of the solution. People with mental illness also benefit from therapy with a licensed mental health professional.

Accessing Support from a Treatment Center in AZ

Will we ever get away from the stigmatizations of mental health? Maybe not, but we can continue to educate people on the reality of mental health disorders and the best ways to treat them. In doing so, we can give people support and compassion, as well as encourage them to find the best rehabs in Arizona.

To speak with one of our admissions specialists, contact Wolf Creek Recovery today. Many of our staff members have dealt with substance use and mental health problems and are working on their recoveries. We strive to be an inspiration to anyone who walks through our doors.