People usually misuse the word “Depression”. You may have heard people say they are depressed because they are sad, unhappy, or tired. But does the feeling of sadness, unhappiness, and tiredness equate to depression? There are different notions of what depression is, but the issue is, are those beliefs facts or myths about depression?
Although feelings of grief, unhappiness and tiredness are symptoms of depression, depression goes way beyond feelings; it is more complicated. Depression can be life-threatening, especially when left untreated. It may result in suicide. Hence, to save lives, it is important to understand the facts and fiction about depression.
What Is Depression?
Depression is one of the most common mood disorders. It is a mental health condition that negatively affects how one feels, thinks or acts. It is a condition that negatively affects the brain’s chemistry, structure, and function. It causes a persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest. These feelings may last for an extended period and may affect one’s normal day-to-day activities.
Some of the symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent grief or sadness that lasts longer than two weeks
- Unexplained body aches and pains
- Eating disorder
- Sleeping disorder
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Easily Angry and frustrated over even small matters
- Losing or gaining weight unintentionally
- Constant thoughts of death and suicide
- Loss of interest in typical day-to-day activities and activities one once derived pleasure in
- Struggling to concentrate, think, make decisions or remember things.
Types of Depression
Types of depression include:
- Major depressive disorder
- Postpartum depression
- Persistent depressive disorder
- Seasonal affective disorder
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Causes of Depression
Depression is a disorder of the brain that is caused by various factors such as;
- Genetic factors: a family history of depression can increase one’s risk.
- Biochemical factors: the imbalance in brain chemistry or neurotransmitters can affect mood regulation and result in depression. Depression can also be caused by fluctuations in the production or function of hormones – menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, or thyroid.
- Environmental factors such as seasonal change can disrupt sleep, mood and make one depressed.
- Psychological factors such as stress, abuse, trauma and grief can contribute to depression.
Depression: Some Facts and Fictions You Should Know
Here are some facts everyone should know about depression and depressive disorders.
Fiction #1: The feeling of sadness or grief is the same as Depression.
Fact: All of us at one point or the other in our lives feel sad, especially when we experience a painful situation such as breakups, loss of a job or a dear one, but the feeling fades with time. However, depression is a health condition that has more than sadness as a symptom, and these symptoms can last from weeks to months and in some cases, years.
Fiction #2: The impact of Depression is the same for everyone.
Fact: The effects and symptoms of depression in individuals vary depending on the type of depression, the situation, age and gender.
Fiction #3: Experiencing something terrible is the only cause of depression.
Fact: Negative thoughts and bad experiences such as divorce, loss of a dear one, and unemployment may trigger depression, but it is not the only cause of depression. You may develop depression if you have a family history of depression. Depression can also be triggered by childbirth, hormonal flux, or side effects of some drugs or substance abuse. You may even develop depression if you have serious health issues like cancer or heart disease.
Fiction #4: Depression and anxiety mean the same thing.
Fact: Both conditions can be connected as both conditions can occur as a reaction to the other. Also, both conditions have similar symptoms, such as lack of sleep disorder, eating disorder and irritability. But these are two different health problems with different causes.
Fiction #5: Depression doesn’t affect physical health.
Fact: People who are depressed are less likely to take care of themselves and their health. Most of them either overeat, are malnourished, don’t get enough sleep, lack interest in any physical exercise, and some don’t even have the will to continue living. These can worsen or increase one’s risk of other physical health conditions such as backache, migraine, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Fiction #6: Depression only affects adults.
Fact: Depression is not an age-related condition. Although most people who have depression are mostly adults, in reality, depression can affect people of any age – children, youths, and the elderly. Children and teens can get depressed due to bullying and peer pressure.
Fiction #7: Depression can go away on its own. All you need to do is just snap out of it and think positively.
Fact: Depression is not simply fluctuations in mood that people regularly experience as a normal part of life. It is not just something that one needs determination to snap out of, and it automatically gets better. Most times, depression may require medical attention. Ignoring the symptoms of depression with the expectation that it will get better can worsen the condition and result in serious health issues such as drug abuse, alcoholism, sleeping, and eating disorders. In some cases, it may lead to suicidal actions. To avoid any complications, it is important to Speak with a Healthcare Professional about your symptoms
Fiction #8: Depression is just a mood swing and not an actual “sickness.”
Fact: Depression is a complicated mental health condition. It can be caused by biological, psychological, and social factors and can be treated in different ways.
Fiction #9: Only women and people who are Weak Get Depressed
Fact: It may seem that the only people who suffer from depression are women, but in reality, a lot of men also get depressed. The problem is that most men feel uncomfortable or find it difficult to talk about how they feel because that may be erroneously perceived as a sign of weakness. But, this is simply not true.
Depression is unrelated to gender, age, financial status or living situation. Nobody is immune to depression. So, anyone – both men and women can become depressed.
Fiction #10: There is No Cure for Depression. You will have to be on antidepressants for life.
Fact: One of the long-term treatment options for people with depression is the use of antidepressants. It is a fact that you may need to continue treating depression for the rest of your life if you are suffering from a severe recurrent depressive disorder. That notwithstanding, there are lots of cases where depression has been successfully treated with medication and therapy.
In a nutshell…
Sadness and grief tend to fade with time, but depression lasts for weeks, months, or even years. Depression is a severe mental health condition that many people have a lot of different misconceptions about. But knowing the facts, recognising the symptoms and knowing when to Get Help is very important.
It is important not to ignore it or see it as a normal situation; therefore, if you have been feeling blue for a while, it may be helpful for you to Speak with a Doctor today.