Depression is a serious mental illness that demands medical intervention to help a person regain control of his/her life. Many people believe that sadness and depression are the same. However, that is not the case. Sadness lasts for a short duration but clinical depression is characterized by prolonged sadness and feeling of hopelessness, which affects how an individual performs daily activities. While occasional sadness or low mood may not lead to other health complications, depression has a significant impact on physiological and emotional health.
People with mental illness including depression usually face discrimination because of their condition since these are not that well understood. In fact, there are a lot of misconceptions about such disorders. These negatively affect those suffering from them. Some of the common myths surrounding depression are:
- Depression is all in the mind
Depression is a mental disorder and not a way of thinking. No one chooses to be depressed. People often ignore depression, thinking it to be an exaggerated response or hypersensitivity exhibited by those who are emotionally weak.
- Depression can arise only due to personal loss
Apart from a personal loss or a traumatic experience, depression can be triggered by excessive stress, an underlying medical condition, side effects of a medication or genes. It is wrong to assume that only those can be depressive who may have undergone a disturbing experience.
- Depression means mental instability
A depressed person is not “unstable.” He/she is suffering from an ailment, which needs treatment. Post recovery, a person can lead a life as “normal” and independent as anybody else.
- Depression is seeking attention
Some people think that depression is a way to seek attention. On the contrary, patients with depression isolate themselves, retreat into their shell and disconnect from others. They want to shun all social contact and run away from situations and/or people.
Depressed patients need a lot of support and care as they are vulnerable to exhibit extreme behavior even at the slightest disregard by their families and friends. It is better to be more informed about how mental illnesses affect an individual rather than live with assumptions. A person with depressive symptoms should be encouraged to approach a psychiatrist to get proper treatment. An early diagnosis improves the chances of leading a fulfilling and productive life.