Busting myths around depression
13 May 2021
Depression is a universal mental health problem, and there are more than a million cases noted every year.
Symptoms of depression are low self-worth, loss of pleasure or interest, feelings of guilt, disturbed sleep and appetite, poor concentration, tiredness.
There are numerous misconceptions about depression: men don’t get depression, require hospitalization and ‘shock therapy’ to treat episodes. In this article, we unveil misinterpretations about depression. Here are few general myths about depression.
Myth 1: Depression isn’t real; it’s in your head.
People think that depression is a weakness rather than a disease, but that’s not true. If one would see the physiology behind depression, one could see the root cause behind it. It has social, biological, and psychological roots. Genes, chemical imbalance in the brain, stressful circumstances are a few reasons for the onset of depression.
Myth 2: Sadness is Not Depression.
Sadness is an emotion triggered by particular life experiences and memories and doesn’t last long. The person can do their daily tasks, and one can easily overcome them. Sadness can risk depression, but it doesn’t necessarily cause it. Depression is quite another matter, sadness is one of its symptoms, but only if it lasts for months. One can’t perform daily tasks; even getting out of bed is an accomplishment. Sadness is a symptom of depression along with lethargy, hopelessness, suicidal tendencies for prolonged periods. Clinical depression occurs not only during sad situations; it can befall even when everything works well.
Myth 3: Stress Causes Depression
Stress and depression are two very different things. Stress occurs because of underlying issues like financial stress, work stress, etc. Over prolonged periods of stress, it leads to reactionary depression but not true clinical depression. True clinical depression can occur when a person isn’t experiencing any stress. The two are often confused as both have similar symptoms like fatigue, difficulty sleeping, aches and pains all over the body, headache, and changes in appetite. However, a psychiatrist or physician will be able to differentiate between the two through clinical examination.
Myth 4: Depression only affects women.
Women are twice more likely to be affected by depression than men, but it’s not rare for men to suffer from depression. The only difference between men and women suffering from depression is that women are more upfront about dealing with it. Due to social pressure, men don’t voice out the symptoms and drown out their sorrows in unhealthy ways. These lead to severe outcomes, as men are more likely to commit suicide than women.
Myth 5: Depression Runs In the Family.
People assume that clinical depression passes through family members; parents suffering from depression will have children suffering from depression. Recent research suggests that the genetic inclination to develop depression is only around 10 to 15%. Henceforth, individuals having a family history of depression should keep an eye out for such traits as they all may fall in that 10 to 15%. If one may fall to the symptoms, then early treatment would nip the bud.
Myth 6: Only Medication can treat depression.
For treating depression, one needs to not only use antidepressants or medication but counseling or psychotherapy. But because of the social stigma attached to psychotherapy/counseling, people suffering from depression tend to avoid it. Counseling, a change in the environment, stopping certain habits, and changing the way an individual approaches an issue are some ways along with medication to treat depression. Antidepressants can only treat the biological aspect of depression. Psychotherapy/counseling can treat the psychological and social perspectives of depression. Combining psychotherapy and medical therapy is the best possible method to treat depression. This process can take weeks or months before any symptoms of depression start.
Myth 7: Antidepressants change your personality.
Antidepressants don’t change your personality; they just change your brain chemistry. This medication only changes certain chemicals in one’s brain without changing who one is. They help to relieve symptoms of depression, and people feel more like themselves after the medication.
Depression is a severe disease with many misapprehensions encircling it. These are some treatments:
● medical procedures
● alternative therapies
● lifestyle changes
If one has depression, then getting treatment is a must.