Depression is one of the world’s primary causes of illness. Despite this, there are many misconceptions about it. People who suffer from depression are frequently subjected to the stigma associated with mental illnesses. To help fight this prejudice, let us look at what depressive disorders are and three myths we may encounter.
Depressive disorders are a group of illnesses featuring the presence of a sad, empty, or irritated mood, as well as physical and cognitive abnormalities that have a major impact on an individual’s ability to function. Loss of enjoyment, changes in weight and sleeping patterns, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, and suicidal thoughts are all common symptoms.
The classic condition in this group of illnesses is major depressive disorder (MDD), which is defined by abnormalities in mood and cognitive skills lasting at least two weeks. Dysthymia, a more chronic form of MDD, is diagnosed when mood disturbances last for at least two years in adults or one year in children.
Myth 1 – Depression results from a sad situation
Everyone has sad thoughts or feelings of unhappiness at times. For example, upon the death of a loved one or the ending of a relationship, one may feel sad. These types of events can increase your risk of depression, although sadness is not necessarily triggered by a traumatic event. Depression can create feelings of hopelessness and lethargy for no apparent reason. Even when things in one’s life appear to be going well, such feelings may arise abruptly and without warning. Depression can be brought on by a variety of factors, including the upbringing, prior events, and current circumstances.
Myth 2 – Antidepressants have to be taken long term
Many persons with depression benefit from antidepressants as a long-term therapeutic option. However, the amount of time advised to take medication depends on the severity of the condition and the treatment one has been given. Antidepressants may not be required for the remainder of one’s life. Psychotherapy and medications are frequently prescribed alongside each other by doctors. Therapy can assist an individual in learning new methods to cope with life’s stresses, potentially reducing the need for long term medication. Antidepressants may be required for the long term in other circumstances.
Myth 3 – Talking about depression makes it worse
It is a common misconception that talking about depression encourages harmful feelings and maintains one’s attention on negative experiences. For many people, though, being alone with their ideas is more destructive than talking about them. Talking about your feelings with a supportive, trustworthy, and non-judgmental listener, can be really beneficial. Although family members may be prepared to offer a sympathetic ear, a qualified professional is often better suited to provide such support.
Above, we looked at three myths concerning depressive disorders. These disorders are a prominent cause of illness, and they are associated with a number of beliefs resulting from misinformation and lack of awareness. Despite the challenges people with depressive disorders face, they can nevertheless have meaningful and healthy lives with a good quality of life.
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Charlot Cauchi is a Gestalt Psychotherapist at Willingness. He has experience with adult clients with mental health difficulties, anxiety, depression, loss, trauma, stress and relational issues.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Association.National Institutes of Health. (2021). What is depression? Retrieved May 12, 2022, from nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml