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Ten Misconceptions about the Depressive Disorder

July 26, 2017 Psychology Enakshi Dasgupta

"The sooner we can understand the truths behind depression, the sooner we can find ways to help those who need it most." - Alena Hall

Depression is clinically described as a mental health disorder that is characterized by a persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities that causes significant impairment in the daily life of the individual.

Depression can be caused by any combination of behavioural, physiological or social causes. According to research, these causes changes in brain functions and alter certain neutral circuits in the brain.

In recent years, research and study of mental disorders including Depressive Disorders has increased and so have misconceptions about said disorder. Here are 10 Misconceptions about Depressive Disorder that everyone needs to stop believing:

1. Depression is a Single Entity
A lot of people believe that there is only one kind of Depression. However, currently, there are at least 9 known times of Depression. These include major depressive disorder, dysthymia, postpartum depression, atypical depression, psychotic depression,seasonal affective disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, bipolar disorder and situational depression.
Usually when people think there is only one kind of Depressive disorder, they are thinking of Major Depressive Disorder.
"Just like with anxiety, there are different types of depression from a diagnostic level," says Matthew Goldfine, Ph.D.

2. Depression = Sadness
Many people believe that Depressive disorders are the same as Sadness. However, this is not correct as sadness is an emotion that lasts for a small period of time, whereas Depression is a disorder/Illness that includes behavioural, physical and cognitive symptoms. Emotional symptoms include desperation, defencelessness, insignificance, low self-esteem and others. Behavioural symptoms include sluggish movement, inability to enjoy routine activities and withdrawal. Cognitive aspects include having difficulty concentrating, lack of concentration and suicidal thoughts.

3. Brought on by Traumatic events.
Depression is categorised as a disorder if the symptoms last more than two weeks. While depression can be brought on by traumatic events, that is not always case. Sadness, desperation and other feelings caused by loss can only cause depression if it lasts more than two weeks.

4. It’s all in your head
Every person with depressive disorder has heard this sentence at least once. However, as everybody with a depressive disorder will know that this completely inaccurate. Saying depression is all in a person’s head is like saying diarrhoea is in a person’s stomach. Depression also brings with it a host of physical problems like fatigue and insomnia.

5. Cures Itself.
Depression cannot cure itself. It cannot go away by itself. Depression is a mental illness and like all illnesses requires medication and medical attention to be cured. Depression is likely to get worse if left untreated. Depression needs to be treated and dealt with for the person to be cured.

6. Anti-Depressants always cures Depression
While depression is curable, anti-depressants aren’t always effective by themselves. Psychiatrics generally prescribe medicines, drugs and advice psychotherapy along with it. Drugs affect the brain chemistry and address deep-rooted biological issues.

7. “Snap out of it!”
Depression is not a decision or a choice. It is not something that can be controlled. People believe that it happens when a person lets themselves wallow in self-pity. It is not a sign of weakness. It is the result of brain chemistry, structure and function that is affected by social and biological fctors.

8. Depression is genetic
Though certain studies have shown that if one’s parents have depression then the offspring is generally more likely to have it too, opinions of experts are divided on this one. Just because one’s parents have depression does not mean that the offspring will have it too.

9. Depression only affects women
Due to social pressures and acceptability, women are generally more comfortable expressing and discussing their emotions than men and asking for help. Because of this many people believe that depression only affect women. However studies show that men are generally more likely to commit suicide.

10. Talking makes it worseIt’s a common misconception that talking about depression only reinforces the feelings of inadequateness and sadness. But that is generally not the case. Usually talking about these emotions with a supportive family member, friend or expert helps to have support and get rid of these feelings.

Depression is a serious illness that is subject to many misconceptions and social stereotypes. If an individual feels like they are suffering from depression then they should immediately seek help from a professional.




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