- Mental Health
Dispelling Myths About Depression
What Is Depression?
Before I can begin to tell you myths about depression, you must know what depression is. The clinical definition of depression is, "feelings of intense sadness or feeling helpless, hopeless and worthless." Source: WebMD
Of course, it is usual to feel depressed for a short time if a major tragedy has happened in your life like death of a loved one, but if depression plays a role in most of your daily activities and won't go away, then you might have clinical depression.
But depression is much more than just it's definition. It takes over your life. It changes your relationships with people, and can make you suceptable to other mental illnesses like anxiety.
Many people don't understand depression or think that it is something that can be controlled. Have you ever heard someone say, "All you have to do is choose to be happy", or "Depression isn't real, it's all in your head." The sad truth is that it does reside in your head. Not metaphorically, but real and physically.
Myth: Depression Isn't Real
Depression has made great strides in the medical society lately. In the past it was rarely talked about because no one really knew how it worked. Because of this lack of information many people believed depression wasn't a real medical problem. This led to the people who had depression staying quiet for the fear they would be ridiculed. But as the medical community continued to research the subject and find what causes depression, they came to the conclusion that there is no doubt that depression is an actual physical illness. It is a psychological, biological and social disorder.
Myth: Anti-Depressants Always Cure Depression
When people hear "Depression" most picture someone guzzling down a host of pills. While Anti-Depressants are prescribed to people suffering with depression, pills are not the only option. Therapy gives people coping skills on how to live with their depression. While therapy works for a number of people, it doesn't work for all. Some people combine therapy and Anti-depressants, others just take medication with no therapy. The Anti-depressant route can be very hard. Some meds work for some people, others don't. It takes time and effort for people and their doctors to find what medication works best.
Myth: Only Women Get Depression
While twice as many women suffer from depression than men, it is still possible for men to have it. A lot of men don't like to address it because in society it is thought to be a weakness. Men need to become more adamant to see a doctor if they think they have depression because they are more likely to commit suicide than women.
Myth: It's Genetic
While having a parent or grandparent who has depression can increase your risk of getting it, it is only a small risk. Not all children of people with depression get the disease. While there are still studies to learn more about the role genetics play in depression, there are also studies to see if it is environmental. Studies have found that people who live in darker and colder climates tend to be more at risk of getting depression than people who don't.
Myth: People With Depression Look Depressed
While many people aren't the picture of health while depressed, this does not mean that they can't look happy. Many people outwardly look fine, but underneath they can be struggling with something. It helps if friends and family know if you are depressed. That way they know to ask more than just the obvious questions to see how you are feeling.
Truth: You Can Beat Depression
While it may take a short or long time, depending on who you are, you can beat depression. There have been medical breakthroughs about depression and there will be more to come. If you suspect you might have depression, please tell your doctor. Use your family and friends as a support system. Often people you love see the signs before you do. Find people who are struggling also. It always helps to have support and helping others is a great way to feel better. Most importantly, have hope and look forward to a brighter day.