According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 264 million people suffer from depression. Despite how common depression is within our societies, there are lots of myths and misconceptions surrounding it. This false information can often further affect the mental state of a person suffering from depression.
We’re going to highlight a few of the most common myths and misconceptions about depression
1. Depression isn’t a real illness
Most people tend to write off depression as feelings of sadness or frustration. However, it is in fact a chemical imbalance in the brain that can be treated. It stems from psychological, social and biological factors that could severely affect your mental health if left untreated. In essence, depression is a real illness and you should consult a doctor if you feel like you may be suffering from it.
2. Depression only affects women
This gender-based misconception about depression is absolutely false and can be very harmful to men who have depression. In fact, since society looks down upon men who discuss their feelings, many of them choose to suffer in silence for years, leading to worsened mental health conditions. We should normalise expression of emotions amongst men so that they are comfortable seeking help for depression.
3. Talking about your feelings will make it worse
“Why should I worsen the situation by talking about my sadness?” This misconception is extremely harmful as most people choose to bury their depressive episodes, resulting in harmful effects that could prevent recovery. Talking about it does in fact help. Speak to a professional or someone you’re comfortable with about what you’re going through. You’re more than likely to feel a little better after talking about it.
4. Antidepressants will change me
It is important to understand that antidepressants only alter certain chemicals in your brain. They don’t affect your entire personality. In fact, antidepressants help reduce the effects of depression, making you feel more like yourself! However, you should constantly communicate with your doctor about any negative side effects you might feel after taking antidepressants
5. Depression cannot be treated
This is completely untrue! Studies have shown that many people suffering from depression respond positively to treatments consisting of medication and psychotherapy. The exact duration of recovery varies according to each person but it can in fact be treated. However, don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than expected. Sometimes, the stages of treatment affect your recovery duration. But you will get there eventually!
We hope that these explanations have cleared the misconceptions you may have had about depression, as well as removed your doubts about seeking treatment. Depression can be very harmful if not treated properly, with the right methods. So, don’t let these misconceptions hold you back from living a depression-free life!