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5 Reasons Not to Use Mental Disorders as Adjectives

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Mental disorders are not adjectives, so I’d prefer if you’d stop using them as such. You know what I mean. When names of disorders are tossed around as part of everyday conversation: “I’m so OCD, I just have to have a clean bedroom.” “The weather is so bipolar lately, it doesn’t know what it’s doing.” “Last night’s episode of *insert TV show* was so depressing.” Yes, phrases like that. We’re all guilty of them, even me, and it’s got to stop. Here’s why:

1. It’s stigmatizing. By using mental illness in this way you are adding to the various stereotypes these disorders carry, which for the most part are untrue. Depression is more than just being sad, OCD is more complex than just being a tidy person, anxiety is more than just being a little stressed.

2. It makes the conditions sound less serious than they really are. There are many different mental illnesses, and they are all complex and present themselves in different ways in different people. By using mental illness in this way, you are breaking the illness down to its simplest form, which more often than not wrong anyway.

3. It discourages people from being open about their illness and may even stop them seeking treatment. If people hear their condition being treated like a joke they can feel invalidated and may be less likely to talk and be open about it for fear of being ridiculed.

4. The people with these illnesses are people, not their diagnosis. They deserve to be treated with the same respect you would show anyone else, without having their condition being treated like a joke.

5. It spreads misinformation. Mental illness is already a fairly misunderstood topic, and that needs to change. Let’s start by not using mental illnesses inaccurately in everyday conversation.

Follow this journey here.

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Thinkstock photo by Soul

Originally published: November 14, 2016
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