At least 280 million people globally are affected by depression. Yet, it is among the most misunderstood, stigmatized, and misperceived conditions. Unfortunately, the misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding depression can prevent people from getting the help they need. Take a look at the most common misconceptions about depression below.
1. “Depressed people simply need to be cheered up.”
The innate desire to help when someone seems depressed may come from a good place. However, efforts to cheer up a depressed individual may actually worsen the situation despite your good intentions. Often, attempts to cheer up someone with depression will heighten feelings of shame, guilt, or helplessness.
2. “Only people with some kind of trauma have depression.”
Some traumatic events can lead to depression. For example, being exposed to abuse as a child or facing the sudden death of a loved one can be traumatizing. Individuals exposed to severe trauma may develop depression. However, depression can occur without a known trigger or traumatic past.
3. “Depression is not an actual illness.”
Depression is a genuine, multifaceted mental health disorder. The condition has been studied by doctors and researchers and is shown to have noteworthy psychological and physical manifestations. Depression can have multiple underlying causes and be treated in several ways. Unfortunately, many avoid seeking treatment due to the misconception that it is not a genuine illness and for fear of being stigmatized.
4. “Depression has nothing to do with family history.”
Over half of people diagnosed with depression have a close relative with the same condition. There is a strong likelihood that depression has a genetic component. However, not everyone with a family history of depression will also experience it.
5. “People with depression simply have a weak mindset.”
Anyone can experience depression. Even the most motivated, strong-willed individuals can be affected. Likewise, people of all character types, mental fortitudes, ethnicities, and socioeconomic classes can be affected.
6. “People who think they’re depressed are just sad.”
Depression goes far beyond ordinary sadness. This serious mental health disorder can have a chronic impact on individuals’ thought processes, how they conduct their lives, and even their physical health and functioning. The overwhelming sense of despair and hopelessness that often accompanies depression rarely goes away entirely without some level of professional assistance, such as therapy or medication.
7. “Taking antidepressants changes your personality.”
Antidepressants work by adjusting chemicals in the brain to support mood regulation. While this can make individuals feel more at ease, these medications do not change their underlying personality. If an antidepressant makes you feel uneasy or not like yourself, speak to your doctor about adjusting the medication.
8. “If you start depression medication, you’ll be on it forever.”
While antidepressants are designed to be a safe, long-term treatment option, the duration of treatment varies. The severity of depression and your individual treatment plan will determine how long you take medication. Many people only need antidepressants for a short period, especially when medication is combined with depression therapy. Therapy arms you with skills and mechanisms to cope, which may reduce the need for medication over time.
9. “Depression doesn’t affect men.”
Depression is often assumed to affect women primarily. However, men also experience high rates of depression. Research shows that more women have been diagnosed with depression than men. This higher rate of diagnoses may be skewed by the fact that many men don’t report their symptoms. Depression symptoms can also differ between men and women.
10. “Depression will go away in time.”
Depression should be treated as a serious mental health condition. For some individuals, the condition can worsen, cause physical health complications, and even be life-threatening if left untreated.
Know the Facts About Depression
When a serious mental health condition like depression is clouded by falsehoods and misconceptions, the problem is even harder to manage. Getting much-needed help is essential, but the stigma brought about by untruths and misunderstandings can get in the way. If you believe you are suffering from depression, talk to a mental health professional to get the facts and treatment you may need to restore your well-being.
Infographic provided by Vanguard Behavioral Health, a mental health recovery facility in Tucson
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
About the Author: Jake Posso is Admissions Director at Vanguard Behavioral Health. Posso is an Arizona native who battled addiction a number of years ago and went to treatment himself. Upon cleaning his life up, he acquired a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Arizona State University and has continued to give back to the recovery community. He has worked in every position possible in the treatment industry over the last 10 years.
Photo by Gustavo Almeida: https://www.pexels.com/photo/lonely-man-lying-in-bathtub-7990715/
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