Mental Health Awareness Week: Myths about Depression DEBUNKED by Psychologist

Mental Health Awareness Week: Sahana Tantry, Psychologist & Outreach Associate, Mpower The Centre - Bengaluru, has debunked some of the common myths related to Depression.

Updated on May 19, 2020   |  08:40 PM IST  |  335.5K
Mental Health Awareness Week: Myths about Depression DEBUNKED by Psychologist
Mental Health Awareness Week: Myths about Depression DEBUNKED by Psychologist

Depression is one of the common mental disorders. As per WHO, more than 264 million people suffer from depression around the world. When a person suffers from the same, he or she functions poorly at work, at school and in the family. Although there are several effective psychological and pharmacological treatment is available, barriers such as lack of resources and social stigma, inaccurate assessment, are only compounding the issue. In the low- and middle-income countries, treatment and support services for depression and other mental health issues are almost absent or underdeveloped. 

Speaking of the causes, the same could be due to complex interactions between social, psychological and biological factors. Lack of knowledge and awareness of depression is a major issue that we have to tackle. Till date, many people don't know that depression is a health issue and if a person has the signs of it then he or she may require medical diagnosis and treatment. As mental health awareness week is being observed, we asked Sahana Tantry, Psychologist & Outreach Associate, Mpower The Centre - Bengaluru to debunk the common myths associated with depression. 

#1 Myth: Depression is a sign of weakness 

Fact: Depression is a mood disorder that affects almost 1 in 6 people in the world. It is not a sign of weakness where people indulge in self-pity. Before jumping to conclusions, people should know the symptoms of depression: 

Sad mood or a sense of dullness most of the time in a day.

The feeling of lack of motivation and loss of interest in activities that were previously pleasurable to you. 

A sense of fatigability. 

Increased negative thoughts. 

Disturbed sleep and appetite (either increases or decreases). 

Suicidal ideas or death wishes (wishing that their life would end).

The above symptoms should last for at least 2 weeks before one can diagnose themselves with depression.

#2 Myth: You can simply snap out of it. But people just want to seek attention 

Fact: Depression can be a disorder that could handicap a person. One cannot simply “Snap out of it”. The negative thoughts and emotions will increase to such an extent that people usually tend to get sucked into it. I usually compare depression to that of quicksand, where people step into without knowing and they feel like they have no other option now but to drown. Since they begin to look at the world through the lenses of depression, the world might seem like a dark place. 

#3 Myth: Depression can only happen in response to a traumatic event. 

Fact: There are a lot of factors that can cause depression in a person like a loss of a loved one, an accident, etc. A traumatic event is something that increases the chances of depression, but that need not necessarily be the cause of depression. Often times people feel that they are depressed only if they feel suicidal. Depression can also occur in a person whose life is seemingly ok. It depends on the circumstances, one’s upbringing, the personality of a person, the coping skills of a person, etc. 

#4 Myth: Medications are the only form of treatment for depression. 

Fact: The manifestation of symptoms of depression for each person is unique on its own based on the individual’s biological attributes, life experiences, ability to cope vs the demand posed by specific life circumstances. This being the case, medications are not the only form of treatment for depression. Medications are important to bring back the balance of chemicals in the brain, which helps to uplift the mood of a person. The choice of medication, the particular dosage that would be required for each person is determined based on each individual’s physiological attributes. 

Along with medications, therapy helps people understand the influence of their emotional sensitivity and ability to cope with their depression. Negative emotions are not something that can be completely eradicated from us. It is human to feel sad or any other negative emotions when we face many of life’s challenges. Therapy helps people to process this and help each individual redesign their mechanisms to cope in such situations and help them build psychological immunity for further mental illness.

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May 20, 2020
Antidepressants are worse than depression. They work, if at all, only short term and they can ruin your physical health. Been there, done that.