And about 7.1%, in 2017, of all adults in the United States had at least one episode of major depression. This makes it one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States.
Depression is still surrounded by many myths, due mostly to ancient science and cultural, social and medical concepts to it.
According to “Mediacl News Today”, here are some of the most common myths about depression, why they are misleading, and facts that should be known.
Depression is not a real condition
A person with depression can have both psychological and physical symptoms.
Some people demonize depression by claiming that it is not a true medical condition and that it is a type of choice or personality trait instead. this is not true.
Depression is a well-established condition that causes both psychological and physical symptoms. In fact, about 63.8% of adults who experienced at least one episode of major depression in 2017 were severely impaired by this condition.
Doctors have also linked depression to a combination of biological, environmental and psychological factors.
Medicines are always the best way to treat depression
Antidepressants can improve the way the brain uses chemicals that control mood and stress, and doctors often prescribe them to help treat depression.
However, antidepressants are not a universal treatment for depression, and they do not work for everyone or for all situations. In fact, doctors usually prescribe antidepressants along with psychotherapy and lifestyle changes to help treat depression.
Depression is always caused by a traumatic event
A combination of factors can increase your risk of developing depression, including traumatic events such as major life changes, grief and accidents.
However, traumatic events are a risk factor or potential trigger for depression, rather than the root cause of it.
Also, not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will become depressed. The condition can also develop when everything in someone’s life seems to be going well.
Depression is a normal part of growing up
Adolescence can be a difficult time emotionally, socially, and physiologically. Symptoms of depression can be similar to the effects of adolescence, and these include oversleeping, irritability, pessimism and anxiety.
Teens also appear to have higher rates of depression, with an estimated 13.3% of American teens ages 12-17 experiencing at least one major depressive episode during 2017.
However, depression is not a rite of passage or a biological event that a person must go through to reach adulthood.
Teens who exhibit “typical teenage signs,” especially persistently low mood and difficulty adjusting to school requirements, should seek help as quickly as possible by speaking to a trusted adult or doctor or by texting TXT 4 HELP.
All women experience depression after giving birth
Many women experience “baby blues” for a week or two after childbirth, the effects of which usually include mild anxiety, fatigue, and a relatively low mood.
About 15% of all women in the United States experience a type of depression called postpartum depression, or major depressive disorder with prenatal, postpartum onset. This condition can cause major depressive episodes.
Researchers believe that postpartum depression develops for a number of reasons, including sudden changes to estrogen and progesterone levels, lack of sleep, and a history of depression.
Women with postpartum depression may feel so exhausted and sad that it is difficult for them to care for themselves and their babies.
They may need treatment to prevent long-term complications. In extreme cases, without proper treatment, postpartum depression can cause some women to harm themselves or their babies.
Men do not become depressed
Cultural and societal stereotypes maintain the myth that men do not or should not become depressed. As a result, many people have ignored male depression for a long time.
Although depression affects women more than men, men suffer from it, even if some symptoms are different.
Men may appear angry or aggressive rather than sad, and they may also engage in high-risk activities. Men also tend to be less open to talking about their feelings, and thus they may be less likely to seek help.
Men who experience symptoms of depression should speak to a doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible to prevent serious complications. Men are also more likely than women to die from suicide associated with depression.
A person will become depressed if a family member suffers from it
A risk factor for this condition is a family history of depression, but it does not guarantee that someone will have it.
Genetics certainly play a role in developing depression, but usually they go along with a host of other environmental, psychological and biological factors so, just because a person’s relatives may have experienced depression, this is not a sure sign that they will develop it themselves.
However, people who develop depression may find more comfort and direction than talking with family members who personally understand the condition.
Taking an antidepressant is a lifelong commitment
It is true that some people with depression take antidepressants for many years in order to control their symptoms, but doctors rarely prescribe antidepressants for life.
It usually takes 2 to 4 weeks for an antidepressant to start working. It is important to note that it is not safe for people taking antidepressants to suddenly stop taking them, due to the risk of withdrawal side effects associated with some medicines.
Most people make a plan with their doctor or mental health professional to start slowly reducing their doses. This method of minimizing is a common practice once a person’s symptoms have resolved.
Usually, this is 6 to 12 months after the medication has been taken.
Everyone experiences depression the same way
People are used to identifying depression with some specific symptom. These included predominant depressed moods, excessive sleep, and decreased interest or pleasure in daily activities.
However, studies now show that people can experience a wide range of psychological, emotional and physical symptoms during bouts of depression. This means that not everyone with depression experiences all of the symptoms associated with it.
People may also experience depression or express it differently depending on factors such as age and gender.
This can also affect the best treatment. It usually takes someone some time to find out which medication or other treatment options will suit them best.
Depression and sadness or self-pity are the same
Some people used to view depression as a form of extreme sadness or self-pity. This is not the case.
Depression is a condition that can be diagnosed, not a specific emotion or feeling. Unlike sadness or self-pity, episodes of depression cause symptoms that last for at least two weeks and can drastically change how a person thinks, feels, and acts.
Staying busy treats depression
Getting the recommended amount of exercise and spending time with family and friends may help reduce some symptoms of depression.
However, it is a myth that if someone throws themselves at their work, starts a project, or finds a new hobby, it will help relieve their depression.
Instead, people may want to focus on a few of their usual tasks during an episode of depression. They should try to break any large tasks into smaller, manageable tasks and avoid doing too many things at once.
People should also put off making any important decisions or commitments during bouts of depression, until they can make more clear and objective choices.
Depression develops at a certain age
Many people have their first bout of depression in adulthood, often somewhere in their 20s or 30s. However, depression can develop at any age.
Researchers now know that even teenagers and children may experience depression, although symptoms may be very different. In children, for example, depression may manifest itself through symptoms such as irritability and extreme anxiety.