Depression is often associated with a mental health condition which is in turn viewed as a stigma across all cultures and societies. Like the times, people’s perceptions of depression are continuously changing. However, even with increasing research and studies done on depression, there are still many out there who do not understand this condition. As such, there are varying opinions on its legitimacy as a medical condition.
There is no doubt that depression can become a serious medical condition. If left untreated, depression can hurt us or our loved ones with the same severity as an asthma attack or heart failure. It is believed that one in six people suffer from depression at some stage of their lives. Let’s debunk the five most common myths of depression.
Myth 1: Depression Is Not Real
Perhaps the most widespread myth about depression is that it simply doesn’t exist. Some people believe that saying you’re depressed is just an excuse for being lazy. This is untrue because depression is a scientifically proven neurological disease. Furthermore, since it is caused by an imbalance of certain chemicals in your brain, traits of depression are never uniform among any two people.
Myth 2: Depression Goes Away on Its Own
Some believe that the best cure for depression is time and so you must ‘wait out’ depression to be rid of its symptoms. Again, this is proven to be largely inaccurate as most people can’t get over depression by themselves, nor should they have to. Instead, depressed individuals need to have a support system. This usually comprises a treatment plan made up of medical check-ups with a psychiatrist and a weekly consultation with a psychologist. Antidepressants and psychotherapy in tandem have been proven to be one of the most effective methods for curing depression in young adults.
Myth 3: Only Certain Age Groups Can Be Depressed
Contrary to popular belief, anyone can become depressed regardless of race, nationality, and sexual orientation. The belief that only certain age groups or genders suffer from depression is one of the main reasons depression in males is vastly neglected and underreported in our global society. Unfortunately, most men mask their feelings of depression with anger, irritation or even restless behaviors and so their illness often goes unnoticed by family and peers.
Myth 4: Only Trauma Patients Get Depression
It is wrong to assume that you must have experienced a life-altering event before having depression. Many believe that depression can only be triggered by bad events such as losing your job or getting divorced. While these events may certainly increase the likelihood of depression, other factors can also act as triggers such as childbirth, alcohol or drug use, and hormone problems. Dysthymia, for example, is a low-level depression that can go undetected for years as it gradually robs your happiness and reduces you to a state of hopelessness.
Myth 5: If You’re Depressed, You’re Weak
Depression is a medical condition. It has nothing to do with your character and everything to do with your brain chemistry. You can’t make yourself get over it any more than you can push yourself to get over asthma or a heart attack.
Depression Is Treatable
People who are depressed may believe there is no chance for a better life. This sense of hopelessness is a symptom of the condition, not a fact. You can get treated for depression! Some treatments can help you manage your symptoms. Seek professional help and let your doctor come up with a suitable treatment plan for you.