Depression is a common and serious mental health problem in the United States. Yet, there is a stigma associated with depression and those it affects.
Here are 12 common myths surrounding depression. When more people have a better understanding of depression, that stigma may eventually disappear.
1) Myth: Depression is not a legitimate illness.
Clinical depression is a chronic medical condition that can have a powerful effect on a person's mood and thoughts.
2) Myth: It's all in your head.
HuffingtonPost.com wrote that, “according to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression goes beyond someone’s mood. It can manifest as fatigue, insomnia, chronic muscle aches and chest pains.”
3) Myth: Depression is a sign of personal weakness.
Depression is a serious brain disorder. It can result from problems with brain chemicals, genetic makeup, and from life experiences, or a combination of these.
4) Myth: There is no cure for depression.
The National Institute of Mental Health conducted a large study on depression and treatment. It found that 70 percent of people found freedom from depression through medications, wrote WebMD.com.
5) Myth: Once you are diagnosed with depression, it lasts forever.
Many people with mild-to-moderate clinical depression have no problems when they stop taking antidepressant medication. And many never experience another episode of depression, wrote EverydayHealth.com.
6) Myth: Depression is simply feeling blue or sad.
There’s a huge difference between clinical depression and feeling blue or sad. Depression is a chronic medical condition that can lasts from a few weeks to more than a year. Depression doesn’t quickly go away.
7) Myth: The best treatment for depression is antidepressant medication.
Antidepressants are usually the first thing people think of as treatment for depression. But in truth, the most helpful treatment for depression may be a combination of medication and talk therapy, stated West Virginia University Health Center.
8) Myth: You'll need to take medication forever.
Some depressed people temporarily take antidepressant medication, while others need it for a lifetime. However, many people choose not to take drugs at all for depression. Around 40 percent of depressed people find that psychotherapy, or talk therapy, works better than antidepressants.
9) Myth: Depression isn’t dangerous.
According to EverydayHealth.com, estimates say that two-thirds of all U.S. suicides are directly related to depression. It added that “depression is the leading cause of disability in people aged 15 to 44.”
10) Myth: If there is family history of depression, you will get it.
Family medical history does matter when it comes to depression. However the risk is small. Only 10 to 15 percent will be affected by a family history of depression, according to HuffPost.
11) Myth: Depression only affects women.
It’s true that twice as many women suffer from depression as men. But men aren’t in the clear. Clinical depression is often underreported in men. Some believe that is because many men are wary of asking for help or showing any weakness, wrote HealthCentral.com.
12) Myth: Young people are not affected by depression.
According to different studies, when sadness is prolonged — meaning when it lasts longer than two weeks — it can be a sign of depression in young people. WebMD.com reported that 1 in 11 teens can be diagnosed with depression.
“Depression Myths: Overwork, Recklessness and More in Pictures." WebMD. WebMD. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.
"Eight Common Myths About Depression | Wellwvu | West Virginia University." Eight Common Myths About Depression | Wellwvu | West Virginia University. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
Gray, Deborah. "The First 48 Hours: Top 10 Depression Myths Debunked." The First 48 Hours: Top 10 Depression Myths Debunked. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
Hall, Alena. "10 Depression Myths We Need To Stop Believing." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
Iliades, MD, Chris. "5 Biggest Myths About Major Depression." EverydayHealth.com. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
Reviewed October 30, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith