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9 Depression Myths

  • Get the facts about depression

    Get the facts about depression

    Depression
    is one of the leading causes of disease around the world. Nonetheless, many
    myths and misconceptions about it persist. People who experience depression
    often face prejudice due to the stigma attached to mental health disorders. To
    help combat this prejudice and stigma, it’s important to learn the facts about
    depression.

    Learn
    about some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding depression, as
    well as the realities of this disease.

  • “Depression isn’t a real illness”

    “Depression isn’t a real illness”

    Many
    people mistakenly believe that depression is mere sadness or even a weakness of
    character. But in fact, depression is a complex mental health disorder. It
    has social, psychological, and biological origins, and it can be treated in
    a variety of ways.

    If
    you think you may be experiencing depression, don’t write it off as normal.
    Instead, talk to your doctor. They can help you get the support you need to
    manage your condition. 

  • “Antidepressants always cure depression”

    “Antidepressants always cure depression”

    Depression is treatable. Among other interventions, your
    doctor may prescribe antidepressant medications. These drugs alter your brain
    chemistry. They can help address deep-rooted biological issues that may be
    contributing to your condition.

    But
    for many people, antidepressants alone aren’t enough. Your doctor may also
    recommend psychotherapy or talk therapy. Combining medications with talk
    therapy is a common treatment strategy.

  • “You can simply ‘snap out of it’”

    “You can simply ‘snap out of it’”

    No
    one chooses to be depressed. Some people mistakenly believe that it happens
    when you allow yourself to wallow in your grief or sadness. They may think it
    can be cured with positive thoughts or a change in attitude.

    In
    reality, depression isn’t a sign of self-pity, weakness, or laziness. It’s a
    medical condition in which your brain chemistry, function, and structure are
    negatively affected by environmental or biological factors. If you suspect
    you’re experiencing it, make an appointment with your doctor.

  • “It happens because of a sad situation”

    “It happens because of a sad situation”

    Everyone
    experiences sad thoughts or unhappiness sometimes. For example, you may feel
    upset following the death of a loved one or the end of a relationship. Events like
    these can raise your risk of depression. But depression isn’t always caused by
    a negative incident.

    Depression
    can cause unexplained periods of hopelessness, sadness, and lethargy. You may
    also experience suicidal tendencies. These episodes can last for prolonged
    periods. They may arise suddenly and inexplicably, even when things in your life
    seems to be going well.

  • “If your parents have depression, so will you”

    “If your parents have depression, so will you”

    If you have a history of depression in your family, you’re
    more likely to develop it yourself, warns the Mayo Clinic. But experts aren’t sure how
    significant genetics are in determining your risk of depression. Just
    because your parents or other family members have experienced it doesn’t mean that
    you will too. 

    It’s
    wise to be aware of your family history. But try not to worry too much about
    risk factors you can’t control. Instead, focus on factors that you can manage.
    For example, avoid abusing alcohol or drugs to help lower your risk of
    depression.

  • “Antidepressants will change your personality”

    “Antidepressants will change your personality”

    Antidepressants
    change your brain chemistry. This might seem scary. You might worry that
    you’ll feel like an entirely different person when you’re taking them.

    It’s
    helpful to recognize that antidepressants are designed to change only certain
    chemicals in your brain. They may help relieve your symptoms of depression
    without changing your underlying personality. After taking them, many
    people with depression begin to feel like themselves again. If you don’t like
    how you feel while taking antidepressants, talk to your doctor about your
    treatment options. 

  • “You’ll have to be on antidepressants forever”

    “You’ll have to be on antidepressants forever”

    Antidepressants
    provide a long-term treatment option for many people with depression. But the
    length of time that you’re advised to take them can vary based on the severity
    of your condition and your prescribed treatment plan.

    You
    may not need to take antidepressants for the rest of your life. In many cases,
    your doctor may prescribe psychotherapy along with medication. This therapy can
    help you learn new ways of coping with life challenges and may lessen your need
    for medication over time. In other cases, taking antidepressants for longer
    periods may be the best choice for you.

  • “Depression only affects women”

    “Depression only affects women”

    Due to social pressures, many men aren’t comfortable discussing
    their feelings or asking for help. As a result, some people mistakenly believe
    that depression is a disease that only affects women.

    That’s
    simply untrue. Women more commonly report symptoms of depression, but it can affect
    men as well. In fact, it can have serious consequences for men. They’re
    more likely to commit suicide than women. That’s why it’s so important to get
    help.

  • “Talking about it only makes things worse”

    “Talking about it only makes things worse”

    It’s a common misconception that discussing depression
    merely reinforces destructive feelings and keeps you focused on negative
    experiences in life. But for many people, being alone with your thoughts is
    much more harmful than hashing them out. 

    It
    may help to talk to a supportive, reliable, and nonjudgmental listener about
    your feelings. Your loved ones may be willing to provide a sympathetic ear. But
    in many cases, a certified therapist is better equipped to provide the support
    you need.

  • Just the facts

    Just the facts

    Depression is a serious illness that’s shrouded in many misconceptions.
    Some of these myths contribute to the stigma around depression, as well
    antidepressants and therapy. But recognizing when you have depression and
    getting help is important.

    If
    you’re diagnosed with depression, your doctor may prescribe a variety of
    treatments. For example, they may recommend a combination of:

    • medication
    • psychotherapy
    • medical procedures
    • alternative therapies
    • lifestyle changes

     

    If
    you suspect you have depression, call your doctor today to make an appointment.
    Ask them for more information about your treatment options.

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References:

  • Depression.
    (2016, March 30). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/basics/mental-illness/depression.htm
  • Depression.
    (2016, May). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml
  • Mayo
    Clinic Staff. (2016, July 7). Depression (major depressive disorder). Retrieved
    from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/basics/risk-factors/con-20032977

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