Get the Facts About Depression
Although an illness affecting over ten percent of the population, there are many misconceptions and myths about depression. Prejudices arise against people who suffer from depression because of the stigma attached to mental disorders. The following are some of the common myths about depression, and the facts that really lie behind them. In order to conquer depression, it’s important to be educated about certain truths regarding the disease.
1. Depression is not a real medical illness
Many people mistakenly believe that depression is defined as a weakness of character or mere sadness. However, depression is a complex disorder that has psychological, social, and biological origins. Depression is a mental illness that can be treated in multiple ways, including medication and psychotherapy, and should not be considered conventional unhappiness and thus ignored.
2. Antidepressants alone can always cure depression
Luckily, depression is a treatable disorder, but antidepressants alone are not typically enough. While these drugs have the ability to alter brain chemistry and fix the deep-rooted biological problems, the most affective treatment for depression also includes psychotherapy. The solution to depression is not as easy as popping a pill, which sometimes take as long as six weeks to kick in. In order to properly treat depression and keep it away for good, a combination of talk therapy and medication is usually the most effective method of treatment.
3. You can ‘snap out’ of depression
Depression is a serious health condition, and no one chooses to be depressed. People mistakenly think that depression is merely a result of a person wallowing in his or her grief or sadness and can be cured by thinking positively and making a change in ones attitude. Depression is not a sign of weakness, laziness, or self-pity. Rather, it is a medical condition, arising from errors in brain chemistry, function, and structure due to environmental or biological factors.
4. Depression is a result of a specific situation or sad event
Depression is more than the occasional sad thought or unhappiness due to a death, breakup, or disappointment, although these events can lead to depression. Everyone experiences highs and lows in their lifetimes, but depression does always not arise due to a specific negative event. Depression is marked by unexplained periods of hopelessness, sadness, lethargy, and suicidal tendencies. These episodes last for prolonged periods and can arise suddenly and inexplicably, even when things in life appear positive.
5. If your parents or grandparents have depression, so will you
Although there has been research to suggest that depression is hereditary, recent studies have called into question how significant genetics really is in determining your risk for inheriting depression. While having a grandparent or parent with the disease does increase your risk by ten to fifteen percent, this is only a marginal increase. It’s wise to be wary of your risk factors, but by no means does a parent with depression guarantee that you will suffer from it as well.
6. Antidepressants will change your personality
Antidepressants work by changing brain chemistry and alleviating mood disorders. The thought of altering your brain chemistry can seem scary, but antidepressants are designed to change only certain chemicals in the brain. Antidepressants affect the symptoms of depression, and do not actually change your personality. In fact, most people who suffer from depression describe it as an alteration in their normal mood. Most people who take antidepressants finally begin to feel like themselves again, rather than feeling like a different person.
7. If I start taking antidepressants, I will have to be on them for the rest of my life
Antidepressants work as a long-term solution for people with depression. Although the length of time for treatment varies from person to person based on the severity of the disorder and the specific treatments prescribed, many people with depression don’t have to be on medication for the rest of their lives. This is why psychotherapy is often suggested as a treatment of choice along with medication: the depressed person learns new and healthy ways of coping, with the goal of eliminating the need for medication.
8. Depression only affects women
Although women reportedly suffer from depression twice as much as men, depression does affect men as well. In fact, men have a higher successful suicide rate than women do. Because certain cultures discourage men from discussing their feelings, asking for help, or showing weakness, people mistakenly believe that depression is a disease only affecting women.
9. Talking about depression only makes it worse
It’s a common misconception that discussing depression merely reinforces destructive feelings and keeps a person focused on the negative. However, being alone with your thoughts is much more harmful. Having a supportive, reliable, and non-judgmental listener is critical in the treatment of depression.
Get the Facts
Depression is not only a serious illness, but it is also one shrouded in misconceptions. Two of the major roadblocks for people to get help include the myths around therapy and medication, two of the most common ways to treat depression. There are more therapy options than those two. Depression therapies include: