Depression is an extremely complicated mental illness that is often misunderstood. To help you have a better understanding of what depression does and does not consist of, here are six myths explained.
Have you heard facts about depression that don’t seem quite right? In reality, there exist many myths and rumours about this complicated mental illness. Here are some common ones and the actual facts behind them.
1. Depression is Just Mental Weakness
This myth—and the accompanying stigma—is a significant reason why many individuals living with depression don’t seek the help and support that they need. In reality, depression is a complex mental disorder, not simply “weakness.” It affects a person physically, emotionally and mentally and often requires some level of professional support for recovery.
2. Depression is Not a “Real” Illness
This goes along with the idea that depression is just a sign of weakness. In actual fact, depression is a very real illness – it’s just one we won’t see physically as it primarily affects the brain.
3. You Will Need Antidepressants Forever
Some people might fear seeking treatment because of the antidepressant medication that a doctor might prescribe them. Not all individuals living with depression require antidepressant medication and those that do, sometimes only need it for a short period of time. Others may find relief from a change in routine, therapy, mindfulness techniques and even a change in diet.
4. Depression Inevitably Leads to Suicide
Not everyone who is depressed commits suicide. While an extremely tragic number of 41,149 suicides were recorded in America in 2013, over 25 million individuals are reported to be living with depression each year. There are options for treatment and it is important to seek support and assistance from a mental health professional.
5. If Your Parents Have Depression, You Will Get it Too
While genetics may play a part in someone acquiring a depression diagnosis, it isn’t completely hereditary. Psychologists estimate that, if someone in your family lives with depression, then it increases your likelihood of diagnosis by approximately 10-15%. Therefore it’s important to look out for signs and symptoms of depression in yourself and in family members, but a family history does not mean that you will definitely be diagnosed with it.
6. You Can’t Live a “Normal” Life With Depression
While depression may certainly be an ongoing factor in your life if you’re diagnosed with it, it doesn’t have to control it. In fact, with appropriate coping mechanisms many individuals living with depression succeed in school, careers and family life.