Depression is a serious illness. Depressive illnesses, including major depressive disorder, affect about 18.8 million people in the United States annually, as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health.
Interestingly enough, although depressive illnesses are so prevalent, many common myths about depression flourish. It’s important to separate depression myths from depression facts.
Top Ten Myths on Depression
The top ten myths about depression, also known as major depressive disorder, are:
- Depression isn’t a real medical illness.
- Nothing can really be done about depression.
- Depression is a normal part of life.
- Depression will just go away.
- Kids don’t get depressed.
- Depression is genetic.
- Teens get moody, not really depressed.
- Talking about depression makes it worse.
- Only emotionally troubled individuals get depressed.
- Seeking help for depression shows mental weakness.
None of these common myths about depression are true. Major depressive disorder is more than a mood you can shake off with willpower. Depression is considered a medical disease, and with so many treatment options, even the most severe depression is treatable.
In addition to traditional psychotherapy and antidepressants, patients can now consider NeuroStar TMS TherapyÂ¨, a non-invasive therapy that stimulates nerve cells in the brain. You can also integrate alternative therapies, including acupuncture and herbal supplements, to treat major depressive illness. However, because many herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA, talk to your doctor if you plan to use them, especially due to potential drug interactions.
Depression Facts and Life
Depression doesn’t have to be a normal part of life. Sufferers of all age groups can treat depression, even children and teens.
Although depression facts prove that genetics do play a role in major depressive illness, other causes, such as behavioral, can be changed with treatment. In combination with other therapies, doctors may recommend the following lifestyle changes to help alleviate symptoms:
- Eating a healthier diet
- Establishing a regular exercise regimen
- Getting adequate sleep
- Obtaining social support
- Using stress reduction techniques.
Talking about depression doesn’t make it worse. In fact, talking has been proven beneficial to sufferers. Although depression myths may suggest otherwise, anyone can be affected by major depressive disorder, not just those with a history of emotional problems. Seeking medical help isn’t a sign of mental weakness; it’s an important part of self-care.
Acting on Depression Facts
If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, research different treatment methods. Educate yourself about depression myths versus depression facts. These top ten myths are widely believed and pop up again and again in conversations and the media. Unfortunately, these depression myths can keep individuals from seeking the treatment they need.
Don’t let outdated ideas or common myths about depression keep you from enjoying good mental health. If you think you may be suffering from major depressive disorder, see your family physician or a counselor.
If you have been diagnosed with depression, and you’ve been unsuccessfully treated in the past, new therapies are available. Everyone is different, so you may want to try more than one method to find the best treatment for you.
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Murray, B. and Fortinberry, A. (2008). Depression facts and stats. Retrieved May 5, 2010, from the Uplift Program website: www.upliftprogram.com/depression_stats.html.
Neuronetics Staff. (2009). Neuronetics offers the new way back. Retrieved May 5, 2010, from the Neuronetics website: neuronetics.com/Home.aspx.
Saisan, J. and Smith, M. (2009). Depression treatment. Retrieved May 5, 2010, from the Help Guide website: www.helpguide.org/mental/treatment_strategies_depression.htm.