There are an alarming number of myths and misconceptions about depression that seem to have seeped into the national consciousness, regardless of the clinical evidence to the contrary.
It’s partly due to the fact that the brain is an incredibly complex organ, and it’s understandable that most people do not have any real insight into the way it interacts with the rest of the body. Another reason for the general lack of understanding is the way in which the term is flippantly used in everyday language; it’s a common way to describe feeling a bit down.
These myths and misconceptions don’t just foster ignorance, they can be dangerous too. If the misunderstandings are accepted as truth they might deter someone with signs of depression from seeking medical help. Or they could convince family and friends that a sufferer does not deserve their support.
Here are three of the most widespread beliefs about depression, and the reasons why they are false.
It’s just a bad case of the blues
There is a world of difference between feeling sad and suffering from depression. Although sadness can be overwhelming, especially when caused by grief, it will eventually fade. But time alone will not treat genuine depression. Clinicians use a number of proven indicators to tell the difference between the two.
Only weak people suffer from it
Poll after poll rates Winston Churchill as one of the country’s strongest and most admired leaders, yet he was also a man who suffered from depression. Depression is not linked to strength of personality; it’s a complex mental disorder related to the chemistry of the brain and nervous system. It’s generally agreed that the causes are psychological, biological and social.
There is no treatment
Depression is highly treatable with medication or therapy, or both. It’s true that a significant number of people do suffer relapses before full recovery, or recurrences later on, but this does not mean their whole lives have to be blighted. A good treatment plan, which is strictly followed, will lessen the likelihood of another episode.