You are not alone if you or a loved one suffers from depression. Depression is one of the most common but misunderstood mental health illnesses in the U.S. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that over 21 million people in the U.S. experienced a depressive episode in 2020. This number has increased dramatically because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the widespread reality of depression, countless stigmas and misconceptions exist. Mental illnesses like depression often lead people to engage in substance abuse. Individuals recovering from addiction and a depressive disorder should be educated on both conditions and how they interact. This helps them stay on the path of recovery. Combatting myths about depression is also part of harm reduction and a successful recovery process.
Myth #1: Depression Is Not Real Because It Is Subjective Perception
Many people hold to the understanding that there is no such thing as depression. These people believe it’s just a temporary moodiness or sadness. They consider people who claim to have depression to be imagining things or feel they need to “snap out of it.”
The fact is that depression is a clinically diagnosed condition caused by a combination of biological, environmental, and social factors. It is a mood disorder, meaning people’s feelings during depressive episodes should be taken seriously. Stigmatizing the issue may lead to delayed treatment or worsened symptoms.
Myth #2: Antidepressants Will Make You Dependent on Medication
Some people with depression hesitate to seek help because they fear taking prescription antidepressant medications. While antidepressants are designed to alter the chemicals in your brain, this does not mean that you will become a different person under their influence.
Many people who take antidepressants report that medication helps them feel more like themselves in everyday life. Depression is the factor that has changed your personality and life quality. The antidepressants rebalance the chemicals in your body and restore you to yourself.
Myth #3: Talking About Depression Will Not Make It Better
People who suffer from depression may not want to burden others with their feelings. They may have been neglected or even discriminated against by others who hold onto misconceptions about depression. However, talk therapy with mental health experts or sympathetic family members is proven to provide relief.
The benefits that come from psychotherapy may take time to observe. Combatting depression is not a sprint but a marathon. You need to work patiently with mental health professionals who can monitor your progress and adjust your therapy as needed.
Myth #4: Depression Will Go Away If You Pull Through
Sometimes depression comes as a result of a traumatic event. This trigger may combine with other biological and social factors to make depression stay longer than the event itself. Take the loss of a loved one, for example. The loss is momentary, but the resulting grief may not heal for a long time. Certain things may remind you of your loved one, or you may no longer be able to do something because they aren’t there to help you. These factors compound and prolong the emotional effects.
This is why it is essential to seek help from mental health professionals if you are suffering from depression. Time may not heal it, and you may need a higher level of care to return to normal emotional functioning.
Myth #5: All People With Depression Feel the Same
People who acknowledge that depression is an actual mental illness may still over-simplify or stereotype this experience. Depression does not feel the same for everyone. Just because you have observed the thoughts and behaviors of a family member with depression does not mean that others with depression experience it the same way.
Respecting every individual’s lived experience is essential. Embodying this perspective can make you sympathetic toward different family histories, seasonal effects, or hormonal changes at different points in life. Every individual with depression deserves personalized treatment.
Myth #6: Women Tend to Have Depression More Than Men
Sometimes depression may become a sexist label for women when they experience significant hormonal changes, such as following pregnancy or during menopause. Science simply does not support this stereotypical thinking. Men often don’t talk about depression as much as women. There tends to be more denial and delayed treatment among men.
Behind this gendered myth is a misguided understanding that admitting to being depressed is a sign of weakness. Having a mental illness does not make you weak. On the contrary, no matter who you are, you deserve healing.
To conclude, depressive disorders are multifaceted clinical conditions. Much research has gone into depression and its treatment which has opened our eyes to many common factors and influences. However, depression is a personalized experience requiring a customized treatment approach.
Those supporting a loved one with depression should get informed and be proactive in understanding this complex condition. You may also need to dispel these myths for the person dealing with depression. Emotional support founded on knowledge about depression can be conducive to recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with chronic depression, it may be time to seek help from mental health professionals. Depression is a complex but treatable condition. Laguna Shores Recovery helps you understand depression and find healing. At Laguna Shores, we have experienced mental health professionals and compassionate staff who know the value of mental health awareness. We treat those with substance addictions, including those who experience dual diagnoses with conditions like depression. Our medical team is capable of providing personalized care and will walk alongside you or your loved one to offer support and guidance. Laguna Shores provides both residential and outpatient treatment. We embrace a holistic approach to treatment and recovery, utilizing strategies like trauma-informed care, experiential therapies, and more alongside our clinical, evidence-based practices. You cannot find a better treatment center than Laguna Shores Recovery. Call us today at (954) 329-1118.