Myths About Depression – 7 Myths You Need to Know
Depression: what it is and isn’t.
It is a complex concoction of social, personal, and biological factors that build up psychologically to produce the resulting illness that is known as depression. According to a study, every third of Pakistani is suspected to be suffering from depression (Naqvi, 2007). The illness is dominantly considered to be a persistent sad mood, with the addition of other associated symptoms, that continues for more than 2 weeks and impacts the quality of life and daily functioning. However, there are many assumptions and myths regarding the condition that lead to the invalidation and dismissal of the disease’s gravity.
Myths about depression
1. It is not a real illness.
The prevalent notion is that depression is not a real illness since it is not a physical ailment. The truth is that depression is a psychological manifestation of alteration of brain chemistry. The emotional turbulence, social impact, and psychological impact are either a result or the cause of the biological alterations. It is associated with an increase and decrease in various neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Furthermore, depression will impact your life the exact same way any other physical ailment might (Thomas, 2001). The interference of the illness in the quality of life is the source of it being characterized as a disorder.
2. It’s all in your head.
The illness is not a choice or does not come from a weak spot in anyone. It is literally happening in your head. Not only are you social and psychologically affected but the biological processes seem to be the source of endurance. Depression does not simply turn on and off like dismissing a negative thought. it requires proper treatment and takes time to heal.
3. Anti-depressants are the only cure.
Depression is curable; however, the treatment is a combination of multiple methods. the most common misconception is that anti-depressants are a must in order to be better. However, that is not the case for many people. Therapy and counseling are essential for the betterment of the condition. In some cases, anti-depressants are not even required and for those who are prescribed, it is not a lifelong commitment.
4. Depression is just sadness and always because of a sad situation.
The illness is a list of multiple symptoms that are in addition to the constant sadness. Sadness can be triggered by various traumatic or severely emotional incidents, however, that is not necessary for the development of the disorder. The illness can happen to anyone and at any time. On many occasions, people who are experiencing depression had nothing happen to them at the time of the onset. Sometimes everything in life is seemingly perfect and you can still experience depression.
5. Depression is the same for everyone.
The manifestation of symptoms is not necessarily the same for everyone who goes through depression. While sadness is the dominant sign of depression, it does not have to be displayed in the same way as most people. For some people, sadness may not be seen at all, but angry outbursts or irritability would be common. In other people, they might seemingly seem fine however they struggle with sleep, appetite, feelings of worthlessness, exhaustion, and eventually, these symptoms bring them towards suicide.
6. Depression means suicide is inevitable.
The people who go through this illness do not simply jump towards taking their life. Instead, their symptoms gradually build up over time due to invalidation, negligence, and are left untreated, which are the cause of suicidal thoughts and attempts. The constant feelings of worthlessness and emptiness push people towards suicide, however with the right interventions and treatment many people recover.
7. Depression is a sign of weak faith.
Depression is an illness like any other and as such it has nothing to do with faith. It is a calamity that comes upon a person and the only faith there should be is that with the right treatment this will get better. Someone who experiences depression will easily feel guilty for anything and most of all being called weak. The illness develops when sadness persists and to an overwhelming extent, however, sadness is a normal emotion and feeling is not a sign of weakness nor of weak faith.
These are some of the few myths that people have carried about depression. It is essential to break the stereotypes about people suffering from mental health illnesses, especially depression. In order to help and reach out to more people, we need to destigmatize depression and the first step is towards educating yourself about the topic.
- Godil, A., Mallick, M., Adam, A. M., Haq, A., Khetpal, A., Afzal, R., Salim, M., & Shahid, N. (2017). Prevalence and Severity of Depression in a Pakistani Population with at least One Major Chronic Disease. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR, 11(8), OC05–OC10. https://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2017/27519.10329
- Gieselman, H. (2017, April 26). Myths Of Depression. Angelo State Library. https://asu-ir.tdl.org/handle/2346.1/30629
- Haigh, E. A. P., Bogucki, O. E., Sigmon, S. T., & Blazer, D. G. (2018). Depression Among Older Adults: A 20-Year Update on Five Common Myths and Misconceptions. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 26(1), 107–122. doi:10.1016/j.jagp.2017.06.011
- Huizen, J. (2019, December 5). 16 myths about depression. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327222
- Madu, N. F. (2021, January 28). 18 Myths Of Depression Revealed. 360 Psyche. https://www.360psyche.com/18-myths-of-depression-revealed/
- Myths and Facts About Depression | Michigan Medicine. (2020, September 23). University of Michigan Health. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ug4843
- Naqvi, H. (2007). Depression in Pakistan: An epidemiological Critique. Journal of Pakistan Psychiatric Society 4(1). 10. Retrieved from: http://jpps.com.pk/article/depressioninpakistananepidemiolgicalcritique_2294.html
- Porter, E. (2017, November 22). 9 Depression Myths. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/9-myths-depression#it-isnt-a-real-illness
- Thomas, S. P. (2001). Dispelling Myths about depression. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 22(1), 1–3. doi:10.1080/01612840116798
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