6 Common Myths About Depression

 
depressedDepression affects more than 10 million Americans each year. It is so common in our society that it is estimated that one in 9 people will be diagnosed with it at one point in their life. Unlike other psychological disorders, depression can affect all areas of your life from your personal relationships to your work performance and self-esteem.

It is important to remember that depression is a complex psychological disorder or mental illness that can wreak havoc on your life. If you experience chronic and persistent sadness, mood swings, irritability and/or feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, then it is important that you seek treatment for depression. This article helps debunk common myths associated with depression so you can get the help that you need to manage your condition.

Here are six common myths about depression:

Myth #1

It is normal for adolescents, especially teenagers, to suffer from erratic mood swings. “Everyone” knows that mood swings are just a normal part of growing up.

Fact: If you experience inconsistent changes in mood, it can be a sign of a serious psychological condition like depression. In addition, depression can affect people of all ages, including children and teenagers. If you experience frequent and extreme mood swings, it is important that you contact a qualified mental health professional.

Myth #2

Telling a friend’s loved one (spouse, parent or sibling) that you suspect that your friend is depressed is a blatant betrayal of trust. It is your friend’s responsibly to share his/her problems with loved ones and it is his/her responsibility to seek help.

Fact: Depression can drain you both emotionally and physically causing chronic fatigue and interfering with your daily functioning. It can also distort your thinking and prevent you from seeking the help you so desperately need.

If you notice that your friend is exhibiting the signs of depression, it is important that you share your concerns with your friend’s loved ones. Even if you promised your friend that you would not tell anyone what is going on with him/her, you must remember that your friend’s life is more important than any promises you made him/her.

Myth #3

Discussing your depression with others will only worsen your symptoms.

Fact: A counselor, therapist, psychiatrist, social worker or psychologist can help you get to the root of your depression, process your feelings, resolve your issues, provide support and manage and/or reduce your depression symptoms.

If you do not feel comfortable talking to a mental health professional, a close friend can also help you problem-solve, communicate and manage your depression. A friend can also provide you with the support you need to seek therapy.

Myth #4

If you are depressed, you are really “crazy” and/or weak.

Fact: It is true that depression is a serious psychological disorder, but it is no different than other psychological disorders such as: manic depression, anxiety, phobias, etc. Just because you have a psychological disorder does not mean you are “crazy, deranged or abnormal,” it just means that you have a condition that is negatively affecting your quality of life.

If your fear prevents you from getting the help you need, you may never find the happiness, peace and relief you are searching for. It is important to remember that depression can affect anyone, regardless of age, socio-economic status, religion or race.

Myth #5

Depression is just another form of the “blues.”

Fact: Depression is not just the “blues.” If depression was just “the blues” then millions of people would not be diagnosed with the condition each year. Depression does not go away on its own. You can have all of the willpower in the world, but that will not make your depression symptoms go away.

It is important to remember that depression consists of persistent feelings of despair, helplessness and hopelessness that occur most days. If you are depressed, you have little to no interest in performing daily routines or socializing. You may spend most of you time voluntarily sequestered in your home. These feelings do not last for a day or a couple of weeks, these feelings last for months and/or years.

Myth #6

If you seek treatment for your depression, you will be put on medications for the rest of your life.

Fact: While it is true, that some psychiatrists and mental health professionals (counselors, therapists, psychologists and/or social workers) believe that psychotropic medications are the most effective long-term solution for depression, the truth is that most depressed people recover from the condition. In other words, many people with depression are able to get to the root of their depression, work through their issues, complete therapy and gradually get weaned off their psychotropic medications.

The amount of time that you will be on medications will vary depending on the severity of your condition and how well you adjust to the medications. It is important to remember that many people who have depression are not in treatment or medicated for the rest of their life. In fact, research suggests that you can be treated for depression in as little as 24 weeks, when psychotropic medications are combined with therapy (Grohol, 2009).

Click Here For Article References:

Photo Credit: Piotr Zurek, http://www.flickr.com/photos/97251982@N00/472037342

Grohol, J. (2009). 7 Myths of Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/10/18/7-myths-of-depression

Teens Health. (2012). Depression. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/mental_health/depression.html

 

Dr. R. Y. Langham served as an editor-in-chief for “The Herald” magazine from 1996-99. She holds a B.A. in English from Fisk University, M.M.F.T in marriage and family therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University and a Ph.D in family psychology from Capella University. Dr. Langham has a wealth of experience writing and editing medical, health & wellness, dating, marriage, love and psychological articles for a variety of popular magazines, newspapers and websites. She published her first novel, Fallen Apple, in September 2011.

Comments

  1. Hello Dr. Langham,
    Thank you for sharing these insights. I see stigma of mental illness and misunderstanding of what constitutes depression frequently in my practice. I encourage you to recognize psychiatric nurse practitioners as mental health professionals from whom one could seed a holistic approach to diagnosis, treatment and follow up for those suffering from this debilitating illness.