A cure to mental illness? Here’s why that’s not happening.

Clear your head! Image from Jens Mortensen for The New York Times

Ever heard of the phrase “ignorance is bliss”? That phrase seems like a million-dollar shoe. Especially when you experience an event that traumatizes you for a long time. But what would happen if you could rid yourself of those emotions?

Understanding what “cure” means

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, cure means recovery or relief from disease. To cure something could also mean to restore health, soundness, or normality.

Say, for example, a patient has a broken arm. To treat the broken arm, the doctor will prescribe pain medicine. They’ll use ice to reduce swelling. Finally, they’ll leave you with a cast to stabilize the broken bones. After healing over time, the broken bones will join and a new bone will form.

Even though new bones have formed, full restoration may take much longer.

After being completely healed, the broken arm is cured!

What about curing mental illnesses?

Well, being 100% healed from a mental illness differs from being 100% healed from a broken arm.

When you go to a therapist, instead of mentioning a cure, they mention treatment.

What’s the difference?

Let’s go back to the example of treating a broken arm. After the broken arm has 100% healed, that means it’s cured since it’s restored to normality. But there is no way someone could 100% recover from a mental illness.

Let’s say you’re diagnosed with depression.

You can get treatment to feel better and get better. Eventually, you can perform daily tasks without treatment.

Yet depression will never disappear completely. Depression can come back at any stage of life, and triggers are still obtrusive.

Why are mental health problems still prominent?

The world has suffered an epidemic of mental illnesses for thousands of years. Yet, the problem still hasn’t been solved. The problem is that stigma around mental illness is rooted in history.

Let’s look at the Middle Ages. According to Unite for Sight, the mentally ill were said to be possessed or in need of religion. This belief surrounding mental illnesses created a stigma around mental illnesses. Its effects can still be seen today.

Much like how the effects of World War II put Japan in debt even today, religious beliefs from the Middle Ages still exist today.

These beliefs caused people to fear people with mental illnesses throughout history.

Today’s media also portrays mental health problems negatively. For instance, movies are a big culprit. In movies, they portray people with a psychotic disorder as evil, dangerous, and violent.

News outlets have also given mental illnesses a bad rep. Whenever there is a report of a crime, many news outlets emphasize the fact that mental illness could have been the motive behind the crime.

Image from Medical Express

Even when people talk about their problems, they are shunned. They are often accused of lying and romanticizing mental health issues. Many times, they’re deemed “dramatic” or “sensitive”.

Whenever I scroll through social media, I usually come across someone talking about their mental health issues.

The comments, however, are not exactly the most positive.

The comments under their post can either be uplifting or negative and invalidating. Nobody should have to feel bad about talking about their mental health problems. Negative comments make it much more difficult to talk about mental health problems.

I’ve seen people on social media even record themselves having a depressive episode. Looking at the comments, I also see some people write, “it’s not that deep”. In reality, everyone reacts to certain situations in different ways.

We can never understand someone completely. No matter how much knowledge we have of psychology or neurology, it is impossible. This also means we do not have the right to tell someone that their feelings are invalid.

What would a cure look like?

Let’s say a cure existed. I’m sure our views on what a cure would look like are subjective, but here is what a cure to mental illness would look like:

  • Shutting off the brain’s function to feel any emotion

Yep, that’s it.

You’re probably thinking, “Why would a cure to mental illness mean getting rid of our emotions?”

Image by WordPress from Pinterest

The research on what causes mental illnesses is wonky. There many scientific and environmental factors that may cause mental illness.

A few of these factors include:

  • Substance abuse
  • Severe psychological childhood trauma
  • Genetics
  • Unhealthy relationships

It is difficult to forget traumas and triggers. It is also difficult to remove yourself from situations that may cause anxiety, loneliness, anger, self-esteem issues, etc… So, how do you stop a mental illness from controlling your thoughts?

By obliterating your emotions.

Stressors can appear at any point in life. Without your emotions, those triggers and traumas cannot faze you. You wouldn’t feel any grief or remorse. You would live neither a happy life nor a depressing life.

That doesn’t sound very fun… This means we must rely on the treatments available.

Treatments

The best option is to receive treatment from professionals. Mayo Clinic determined 6 types of treatments:

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy
  • Brain-stimulation treatments
  • Hospital and residential treatment programs
  • Substance misuse treatment
  • Self-care
Image from Medical Daily

Mental illness can go away. However, they can also come back at any time in our life, which is why it is best to learn how to cope with it. Learning how to cope strengthens our ability to deal with situations. Facing our mental health issues also shapes our confidence, mentality, and personality.

Our experiences help us grow, and we should learn from these experiences. A perfect life with no distressing situations means there is nothing we can improve about ourselves. It is impossible to not be able to enhance your capabilities. No matter how old we get, we will always be unrestrained.

So… what’s an alternative?

The treatments that exist for people with mental disorders are amazing. But there will always be a better solution to a problem.

Some treatments take a few months to suspend a mental disorder. Some mental disorder treatments take a lifetime. And some mental disorders go untreated and/or undiagnosed.

First, let’s tackle the problem of mental disorders going untreated.

We could provide mental health care to patients without expenses. This could also be accomplished without needing a person-to-person interaction. By implementing these ideas, more people would feel comfortable in seeking help.

Next, let’s focus on diagnosis.

Diagnosing could also become a problem when a person-to-person interaction is absent. Though, new diagnosis tools could be a possibility. The possibilities are endless.

Now, let’s focus on how long it takes to treat a mental disorder.

During the process of treatment, many factors could worsen the illness. New mental disorders may also form. What if we could speed up the treatment process? This may reduce factors that could affect the patient’s mental health. The patient can be treated before there is an unforeseen negative influence. The patient also won’t have to undergo lifelong treatment.

Now, all we need to figure out is how we can quicken treatment.

Image from TechCrunch

A cure for mental illness sounds like a fantastic idea when you first think about it. Though, in the long run, it won’t be as effective as a treatment. I’d be skeptical if there was a cure that could erase a part of my existence (mental health issues) like that. I’m sure other people feel that same way too.

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Innovator at TKS hoping to revolutionize the science behind treatment for mental health issues.

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Jeffrey Huynh

Jeffrey Huynh

Innovator at TKS hoping to revolutionize the science behind treatment for mental health issues.

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