As more people start to learn and be aware about what depression really is, it is also important to be aware of some myths that may seem true. Here’s a list I prepared of some common misconceptions on depression that people may have.
Anti-depressants cure depression
Anti-depressants are not a cure for depression, it is merely a substance used to elevate depression temporarily. In other words, anti-depression cures the symptoms but does not cure the underlying issue that is causing you to be depressed.
According to research, the reason that anti-depressants don’t permanently cure depression is in the way they work. When taken, anti-depressants will allow the neurotransmitters that regulate our mood to be more available in our brain, which will eventually elevate our mood. However, this effect is temporary as the brain will return to its previous state.
A person may also chose to take these anti-depressants regularly but that may cause some complications in the future. Although their symptoms are relieved, once again the root of the problem is not solved. In addition to that, some withdrawal symptoms from long time use include muscle aches, fatigue and nausea.
Depression is caused by a life event
Even though some people may have situational affective depression, it is untrue to claim that all forms of depression are caused by a traumatic event. Some other causes of depression, according to recent studies, include:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Substance abuse
- Brain structure
- Medical conditions
It is usually impossible to fully determine the cause of one’s depression because in reality, it may be due to several factors. Therefore, depression is not exclusively for people who have just experienced some form of tragedy.
Only women get depressed
One of the main reasons why many people think so is because many men who suffer from depression tend to bottle up their feelings. They tend to be less willing to discuss certain insecurities and may not seek help as often due to the fear of social judgement.
However, research has shown that there is approximately more than 6 million men in the U.S. that suffer from clinical depression each year. Some of these cases also go unnoticed because men tend to show depression differently compared to women. Instead of feeling down and dwelling on negative emotions, men tend to depend on alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and other vices. They also have a higher tendency to resort to suicide.
Although the number of women who are diagnosed as depressed is still higher than men, that does not make any one of them more significant than the other. Everyone has the chance of facing depression and everyone deserves the chance to get better.
Depression is only in rich, developed countries
As previously mentioned, everyone can face depression regardless of gender or societal status. This is proven by a mental health study conducted by Vikram Patel, a psychiatrists from London who studied about depression in Zimbabwe.
Upon reaching the capital of Zimbabwe, Patel began to ask his patients what was the most common mental illness that was around in which they answered kufungisisa. The word kufungisisa translates to “excessive worry about a problem”. Patel also found out that these people would share with him the symptoms that they felt and it would be almost identical to signs of clinical depression. He says,
“They were identifying the same symptoms as people I would treat in a clinic in South London,”
“The basic nature of emotional pain is no different than physical pain. The way they seek help may be different but human beings feel it in the same way.”
This result was a revelation to many doctors in the mental health field. To make matters worse, poorer countries do not spend any money to improve their mental health facilities. There is also a massive lack of mental health practitioners in such places, estimating about 10 therapists for a whole country.
Talking about it in therapy makes it real
Just like any physical disease, talking about a mental health illness would not make it any worse. In fact, the danger comes when we ignore it. Depression is no exception as unraveling the core of the problem is a necessary part for the treatment.
Friends and families are always great confidants as they are often people that we trust and have known for a long time. These are some of the people who knows us best and would at most times know what is best for us. However, there are times where we may need a more professional and unbias opinion and there is where professional help comes in. If you are in that scenario, do not be afraid to seek out for a counselor or a therapist for guidance. If you are unsure if you need treatment or not, you can always seek them out for a professional opinion and be better safe than sorry.