Depression affects an estimated 300 million people of all ages worldwide. It is one of the leading mental disorders around the world. Nonetheless, many myths and misconceptions about it persist. Although lots of people experience depression, many don’t know very much about its symptoms or treatment.
Despite being one of the most common mental disorders, depression is often misunderstood. These myths and misconceptions may contribute to the stigma attached to depression, discouraging those affected to talk about their symptoms or seek help and treatment.
Here is a list of myths and commonly held misconceptions about depression, and the corresponding facts.
Depression isn’t a real illness
Depression is a complex mental health disorder. But many people mistakenly believe that depression isn’t a real mental illness. Depression is a well-established condition that causes both emotional and physical symptoms. It has social, psychological, and biological origins, and it can be treated in a variety of ways.
Depression is a choice.
Depression is an intense feeling of deep sadness and despair that can last for days, weeks, or even months. The symptoms can include feelings of hopelessness, rejection, poor concentration, lack of energy, sleep problems, and sometimes suicidal thoughts. Depression is not a choice; it is an illness.
Depression is about feeling sad.
Depression is not Sadness. Sadness is a normal emotion that people feel at times. Sadness comes and sadness goes. Depression and sadness are linked but are not the same. Sadness is an emotion that everyone experiences, often after stressful or upsetting life events.
Antidepressants always cure depression.
Depression is treatable. Antidepressants are not the same as painkillers or sedatives. Their job is to correct the brain chemistry that is causing your symptoms of depression.
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.
Depression is being lazy.
Depression is NOT “laziness. “Laziness” is a matter of making a choice to not do a particular activity or activities, but depression is a chronic illness. People with depression do not choose to feel the way they do. They often want to be productive and energetic, but they find it impossible to do so. Laziness may be a momentary state or an issue of character, but it is not a psychological disorder.
Depression is just self pity.
People who have clinical depression are not feeling sorry for themselves. Nor can they “will” depression to go away. Depression is a medical illness- a health problem related to changes in the brain. Like other illnesses, it usually improves with appropriate treatment.
Talking about it only makes things worse.
One of the most 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 talking them out. It may help to talk to a supportive, reliable, and nonjudgmental listener about your feelings. But in many cases, a certified therapist is better equipped to provide the support you need.
Despite being a very common recognized condition, there are still many myths and misconceptions surrounding depression. Believing in such myths can so a lot more harm to those around you who are suffering.
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