5 Common Misconceptions About Depression
Although an increasing population suffers from mental and mood disorders like depression, many people simply do not understand what depression truly is or what it looks like. In fact, many people who suffer from chronic depression do not even realize themselves why they are struggling to live a normal life. Fortunately, there are a few basic misconceptions that once understood may just help you or a loved one achieve an improved quality of life.
1. It's All In Your Head
Possibly the most prevalent misconception about depression is that it is not a "real" medical diagnosis. However, the truth is that depression is just as serious and life threatening as any major illness. In fact, depression can cause a number of physical health problems in addition to mental and emotional deterioration.
2. What Happened?
This is an all-too-common question that many people ask their friends and family members who struggle with depression. The common misconception among those who ask such things is that they believe something major or significant must have occurred to cause the depression. Although everyone experiences a number of ups and downs throughout their lives, depression does not always coincide with any particular event in one's daily life. Prolonged periods of hopelessness and a general lack of interest in things they once enjoyed may arise suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere.
3. You're Just Not Strong Enough
Sadly, depression is an illness that can come suddenly and without any real known cause. However, many people believe that if you are strong enough, you can overcome it. The idea that one can simply "snap out of it" at will is not only incorrect but can be quite harmful when used as an attempt to help a loved one feel better. Most depressed people would give just about anything to be able to "get over it."
4. Keep It To Yourself
Although health care professionals understand the benefits of talking about problems, many people feel that if they talk about their struggle with depression, it will make it worse. Friends and family of those struggling with depression often advise against and avoid any discussion of the issues in hopes that they will resolve on their own. Anyone struggling with depression should stay away from those who refuse to listen, and instead reach out to someone they can trust to help them talk through their feelings.
5. Stay Away From Antidepressants
As the third leading cause of death for people ages 18 to 24 years, depression usually does not resolve on its own. For many people, their depression will continue to last for weeks, months, and even years without a proper diagnosis and medication regimen. Contrary to what some people believe, antidepressants do not change your personality, but rather they are designed to help you feel like your old self again. Depression is a serious illness and should be treated as such. If you struggle with depression, the most important thing to do is to reach out to someone who can help. Whatever you do, do not buy into the common misconceptions that often only hurt those in need.
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