Date of the last update: 30.03.2022
It is estimated that as many as 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Unfortunately, this number is expected to increase in the coming years. Despite this high prevalence, there are still many myths about depression. It also doesn’t help that some people equate depression with a simple case of the blues. It is time to distinguish between facts and misconceptions about this condition. What should be treated as truth and what as myth? Here are some popular beliefs.
Table of Contents:
- Depression isn’t an illness
- Depression only affects women
- Depression is linked to trauma
- Depression should be treated with medication
- Antidepressants change personality
- Depression can affect anyone
- When depressed, you need to see a mental health specialist
You can read this article in 3 minutes.
Depression isn’t an illness
Some say that depression is not an actual illness. It is often perceived as a figment, a performance slump and an excuse. People who say that don’t realise how serious a condition depression is. The fact is that in the medical world, it has a status of an actual illness, while its symptoms are observed at both biological and neuronal levels. Unfortunately, it is sometimes fatal – some patients make suicide attempts, and some are successful.
Depression only affects women
You can often hear that depression is a typically female disease. Indeed, if you look into the statistics, you will find that a higher incidence is recorded among the female population. But this is not because women get ill more often, but because they are more likely to seek help. Cultural norms allow women to express their feelings and depressive symptoms, while men hide them and sometimes are unable to notice them.
Depression is linked to trauma
Many people believe that depression is correlated with a traumatic life event. This may be the case in some situations, but not always. Depression may be caused by many factors, including genetic and biological ones. It is difficult to pinpoint what triggers depression, but it doesn’t always occur due to a difficult or painful experience.
Depression should be treated with medication
Depression can vary in intensity and course. So it’s hard to say that absolutely everyone diagnosed with depression requires pharmacological treatment. In most cases, however, taking medication is advised. Medications help to restore normal brain function and relieve bothersome symptoms. It is best to combine treatment with psychotherapy, as it gives the person the possibility of causal treatment. That, however, requires time and motivation from the patient.
Antidepressants change personality
Antidepressants affect the biochemistry of a person’s brain by increasing serotonin levels. But they do not impact a person’s personality or change their character traits. Remember that medicines need to be taken until the symptoms disappear and the mood stabilises. After that, the treatment should be discontinued.
Depression can affect anyone
When does depression occur? Myths point to a painful moment in your life or a life crisis. However, it is a combination of several factors. Although some people seem to be genetically more predisposed to depressive disorders, there is no rule. Depression affects people of different ages, education and economic status. It can occur in people who seem to have a perfectly happy life and those who experienced many hardships. Depression can happen to anyone.
When depressed, you need to see a mental health specialist
If you suspect that you are suffering from depression, it may be a good idea to speak to a psychiatrist who will give you a full mental health assessment. Only a specialist can determine that it is depression. Another thing is that the symptoms may become more severe with time. So do not wait for your condition to worsen, but ask for help. It is also a good idea to seek psychological care.
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Depression is a disease that affects individuals and their relatives and friends. Unfortunately, some people still perpetuate harmful myths about this illness. Thus, it is worth raising awareness of what depression is. The myths can be sorted from the facts.
Hull M., 12 common myths about depression, [in:] The Recovery Village [online]. Available online: https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/depression/related/depression-myths/ (05.08.2021).