Wednesday, 12 December 2012


No Me Mireis!
Sadness (Photo credit: El Hermano Pila)
Depression is the leading cause of medical disability in the United States and it affects roughly 5 to 8 percent of American adults every year. 

It is a commonly known disorder which has propagated numerous depression myths. The fact that these myths still exist is that stigmas has been tied to it when it comes to depression and mental illness.

It is not unusual for people who suffer from depression to feel ashamed and they try to hid it from others for fear that others who have no experience with such a condition may think that depression is a sign of weakness.

Myth: Being Sad Leads to Depression

Depression can be caused by feelings of sadness, but a much more common cause is anger.  And if the anger is not addressed, it can escalate into depression.

Since women who are still considered the weaker sex in some societies, they are not expected to be angry, so, they often rephrase the word 'anger' as 'feeling frustrated."

Loss or disappointment is a normal sadness that rarely leads to depression.  The ability to feel sadness shows that you are mentally healthy and in touch with your feelings.

Myth: If You Aren't Sad, You Aren't Depressed

When a person is  feeling down that is caused by depression may not be detected as sadness.

Symptoms of depression can last for a few weeks and it disrupts your ability to function at work or you can't sleep well, and it's most certain that if you are thinking about suicide, it is time to ask for help.

Myth: Depression Symptoms Are All Mental

Symptoms of depression can include mental symptoms such as sadness, anger, anxiety, confusion, hopelessness, emptiness, loss of interest, and thoughts of suicide.  But physical symptoms are also common and can include a lack of energy, changes in sleeping and eating habits, slowed movement, headaches, stomach problems, and body aches. 

If you have several of these symptoms that last for two weeks or more and interfere with your ability to function normally, you could have depression.

Angry Talk (Comic Style)
Angry Talk (Comic Style) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Myth: Only Women Get Depressed

'Real men do not get depressed' is a myth.  Assuming that they should just tough out the  symptoms of depression, is particularly damaging.  Both women and men have the potential risk of suffering depression.

In fact, depression may be more dangerous in men than in women. Men are more likely to avoid treatment, complicate depression with substance abuse, and be successful at suicide.

Myth: It's Just PMS, Not Depression

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) affects up to 75 percent of women and is not the same as true depression.  But a related condition, called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), is a real type of depression that affects women during the second half of their menstrual cycle.  

PMDD affects about 5 percent of women and can be quite severe.  Treatment may include a combination of medication, talk therapy, and changes in nutrition.

Myth: Depression Is Untreatable

This is a dangerous depression myth that treatment doesn't work and that you should just wait till you snap out of depression. The truth is that depression treatment usually works really well, and untreated depression can be really dangerous. 

About 80 to 90 percent of people with major depression are successfully treated and are able to return to the normal activities of living. Untreated depression is the No. 1 cause of suicide.

Myth: The Only Way to Treat Depression Is by Taking Antidepressants

Only severe form of depression requires taking antidepressants.  In fact, studies show that many people on antidepressants do not need them.  Talk therapy, called psychotherapy, may be the best treatment for mild or moderate depression. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common psychotherapy for depression that teaches you to replace depression-related thoughts and behaviors with positive ones. Antidepressants may be added to CBT in some cases
Depression 6
Depression 6 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Depression Myth: You'll Be on Antidepressants Forever

This is false.  If you are doing well on antidepressants for nine months to a year, you can start to be tapered off.  While some people may need longer therapy, this is not the norm.
Remember, depression is a real disease, and there’s no reason for anyone to hide in the depression closet any longer. If you have symptoms of depression, you need to seek help just as you would for any other disease. It's time to leave depression myths in the past where they belong.

My next topic for discussion is, "Does Diet Soda Make You Fat?"

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Philo Yan

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.
Until the next time,

Here's To Your Health!

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  1. Hi there Philo.

    An interesting read. As a manic depressive who experiences life threatening depressions I can agree on most of what you have said. Interestingly most people (including doctors) do not pay nearly enough attention to the awful physical symptoms of depression. I know when depression is about to hit because I can feel it in my body first.

    I also like what you said about women repressing feelings of anger. I think this is very true in many cultures; certainly in my own case I was oppressed for many years and held all that in...misery will out! Interesting too how in some cultures depression is not a recognised illness at all - it is experienced as somatization.

    1. My dad had depression but it was well controlled with medication. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject more so because you have gone through it and have a much better understanding about what is really going on in one's mind.


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