By Cathy Neville, LPC
Depression doesn’t fade away on it’s own.
Yet, according to recent studies, half of Americans suffering from depression do not receive adequate care.
Men, women, children, teens, college students, and the elderly.
Across the country, depression is growing in numbers.
And still, vast numbers stay away from therapists’ doors.
Why? What keeps people away from help and hope?
It seems that misinformation and the stigma of mental health problems are getting in the way. Let’s look at the following 7 common myths about depression:
Myth #1. Depression is Just Sadness on Steroids. Sad people aren’t necessarily depressed people and vice versa. Deep sadness may very well be present in a depressed person, but so might apathy, anger, anxiety, and a mind-numbing emptiness.
Myth #2. Depression Stems From Mental Weakness. You may think a stronger person just “snaps out of it.” You may believe that depression is some sort of character flaw or spiritual void. Not true. Depression is not a contest of mental toughness. You can’t think depression away.
Myth #3. Depression isn’t Real. Depression shouldn’t be dismissed. Depression deserves your attention and then it needs to de dismantled. With appropriate therapies and the non-judgmental support of people who understand your suffering, you can manage your symptoms and receive treatment.
Myth #4. Depression Doesn’t Affect Real Men. While it’s true that women are twice as likely to suffer from depression, men are much more successful at committing suicide. Men hold depression in. Too often, they die, discouraged by society from sharing their pain, seeking out help, or receiving treatment.
Myth #5. Depression is Just for Grown-ups. Depression is no stranger to children. Unfortunately, child or adolescent depression may be mistaken for normal childhood moodiness. When moods change and persist, adults in a child’s life must investigate. The sobering truth is that 1 in 8 children suffer from depression.
Myth #6. Depression Treated with Drugs Never Ends. Pharmaceutical therapies are an important option for some depression sufferers. Antidepressants alleviate depression by altering problematic brain chemistry. The goal is to deal with the sufferer’s symptoms and restore them to a more normal mood. Antidepressant treatment varies. When meds are combined with psychotherapy, many patients find that increased coping skills reduce the need for medication.
Myth #7. Depression Treated with Talk Therapy Doesn’t Work. Depression wants to do all the talking. It tells you to withdraw. To isolate. It tells you that talking only exacerbates the pain and reinforces negativity. Actually, ruminating alone on negative thoughts just worsens depression. Sessions with a compassionate and experienced professional provides support and perspective.
Myth # 8. Depression Symptoms Stay in Your Head. Depression symptoms may be mental and physical. Sadness, irritability, disorder, emptiness, and even suicidal thoughts commonly affect the mind. But physical symptoms of depression can work their way into your body as well. Typical ailments include exhaustion, changes in sleeping patterns, disrupted appetite, fluctuations in weight, headaches, digestive trouble, and muscle aches. Prolonged symptoms lasting more than two weeks could signal depression.
Myth #9. Depression is a Result of Sad Circumstances. Depression needn’t always be triggered by a crisis or negative situation. While trying times can lead to psychological upheaval and a rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs, this does not necessarily culminate in depression. In fact, the telltale markers of depression, like inexplicable episodes of hopelessness, listlessness, and detachment, may occur during the most positive of times.
Enlist the help of a therapist soon if you or a loved one is depressed.
Reach out to someone who can help relieve you of persistent hopelessness, isolation, and anger.
Don’t let misconceptions about depression and therapies steal your joy.
I am a therapist in San Antonio, Texas, who can help you or a loved one with depression. Call or text for an appointment at 210-286-0810.