There are many misconceptions about this mental illness. Psychologist Kanika Shah of Nimai Healthcare busts some of the common myths about depression, and also shares some facts about it.
Myths about depression
Here’s looking at some of the most common myths and the facts surrounding it.
- Depression is a personal weakness or a character flaw
Depression can stem from biological causes as well as psychosocial factors like work stress, relationship conflicts, loss, and our patterns of thinking. Physical illnesses are not considered a personal fault, the same applies to mental health concerns.
- If you are successful or rich, you can’t suffer from depression
Depression is a mental health concern that can affect anyone, irrespective of their background and level of success. Certain factors can increase the likelihood of depression occurring but these are not necessarily related to success.
- Depression is a mood, so you can easily snap out of it without professional help
Depression can affect not only your mood but also your thoughts, interest and motivation, sleep and general functioning. Therefore the right kind of professional help can be beneficial and even necessary in managing the various symptoms.
- It only affects women
The occurrence of depression has been found higher in females than males. However, this does not mean that men do not experience depression. Biological factors, socio-cultural norms, and other factors can help explain these gender differences. Norms around gender may also prevent identification and treatment of mental health concerns in men.
- Anti-depressants do not help
Depression can likely have underlying biological causes, relating to our brain chemicals. Antidepressants help stabilise these systems. It also reduces symptoms of depression, forming an essential aspect of treatment. (One should consult with a mental health expert before taking any medications. It is vital to be informed about the dosage and any potential side effects.)
Depression happens because you are sad and lonely
There can be multiple factors contributing to depression. Social isolation could be one of these. However, that does not mean all sadness or loneliness immediately equates to depression.
Talking about depression somehow worsens a patient’s mental well-being
Dealing with a mental health concern can be an isolating experience so social support often becomes an essential part of recovery and well-being. It helps to provide individuals with a safe space to open up about their mental health, if they are willing to talk.