5 Sep by HPA/LiveWell Clinical Psychology

With the growing number of people being diagnosed with depression, there is also unfortunately, a growing number of myths about depression. At HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY we work hard to educate the public on depression, and differentiate between depression myths vs. facts.

Myth: Depression isn’t a real illness.

The assumption that depression is not a real illness is hugely inaccurate. This myth may have originated because of the varied symptoms individuals suffering from depression experience. Regardless, depression is a mental illness backed by scientific evidence. Those who are diagnosed with depression (of which there are different types of depression) have neurotransmitter and hormone imbalances of the brain.  Characterizing depression as anything less than a serious mental illness invalidates the experience of those who struggle with it.

Myth: Depression only affects mood.

Depression is often characterized by the resulting emotional symptoms. And while the emotional aspect can be significant, the symptoms of depression do not end there. Many individuals who are depressed suffer from physical symptoms as well. Depression can cause fatigue, lethargy, insomnia, muscle aches, and appetite and weight changes.

Myth: Medication is the only effective treatment.

One of the more common myths about depression surrounds the use of medication. There is no doubt antidepressants can be a valuable, long-term option for the treatment of depression. Yet, medication is certainly not the only treatment approach. Often, antidepressants are prescribed in conjunction with psychotherapy. In some cases, depending on the severity of depression and/or the individual’s feelings regarding medication, psychotherapy is the sole intervention used to effectively treat the symptoms of depression.

Myth: If your parents have depression, so will you.

Researchers are uncertain about the level of significance genetics play in the development of depression. While a family history of depression can increase your chances of developing this mental illness, it is not a guarantee. Still, it is important to educate yourself on the history of mental illness throughout your family.

Myth: Depression only affects women.

This is one of the most common myths and negative stereotypes of depression. Men suffer from depression just as women. Perhaps because of social pressure, men are less likely to discuss their depression, and less likely to seek treatment, therefore creating the false assumption depression only affects women.

Depression is a serious mental illness that has the potential to affect anyone. Although there is quite a bit of misinformation, with increased education and awareness, the myths about depression can be dispelled.

Depression is treatable. If you or someone you know suffers from depression contact HPA/LiveWell, in Albany, NY to find out more about treatment options.