Is depression more common in women? Expert busts top myths about depression

Published on Oct 19, 2022 02:10 PM IST

While people have started talking about depression, they haven't wholeheartedly accepted it or perhaps do not understand the mood disorder completely. Here are top depression myths debunked by an expert.

Many people think depression is not a real illness and people can choose to think positive to come out of it. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Many people think depression is not a real illness and people can choose to think positive to come out of it. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
By, Delhi

Depression cases have been on the rise since a past few decades in India and the pandemic stress has added to the number of people coping with mental health issues. Actress Deepika Padukone recently recalled her battle with depression on Meghan Markle's podcast and revealed how some people thought she was doing it for a film promotion or as a part of a collaboration with a pharmaceutical brand. While people have started talking about depression, they haven't wholeheartedly accepted it or perhaps do not understand the mood disorder completely. Many of them think depression is not a real illness and people can choose to think positive to come out of it. People also say - 'I am depressed' when they are actually sad. Clinical depression on the other hand is a serious mental health disorder that can completely change the way how you feel, think, act or sleep. It can be treated with medication and counselling. It is important to get it diagnosed as early as possible. (Also read: 8 positive things to tell a person struggling with depression)

World Health Organization (WHO) reported a 25 per cent increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression after a year of pandemic. This drastic increase in the prevalence is due to the reluctance to consider depression as a condition that needs medical attention. This reluctance stems from the common myths associated with depression.

Dr Shrikant Sharma, Consultant Psychiatrist, Anandam Psychiatry Centre, New Delhi in an interaction with HT Digital debunks common myths about depression.

Myth 1: Depression is not a real illness

Fact: Studies have proved depression is linked with changes in pre-and post-synaptic turnover and function of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Myth 2: Depression is caused by sadness

Fact: Sadness is an emotion that we feel as a natural reaction to situations that causes pain. Sadness goes away on its own and does not impair our lives in the long run. Depression, on the other hand, is a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It is advised that we should consult a doctor if sadness and fatigue persist for more than two weeks.

Myth 3: Depression does not need medical treatment

Fact: As depression involves deviations in neurotransmitter functioning, depression is most cases cannot be managed just talk therapy, lifestyle changes. It needs medical intervention.

Myth 4: Depression is hereditary

Fact: It is true that people with first-degree relative with depression have 2-3 times higher risk of developing depression. However, all people with such family history develop depression. In fact, people with no family history of depression do also develop the condition.

Myth 5: Antidepressants are always needed to cure depression

Fact: Many a time depression can be managed with mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, meditation or a combination.

Myth 6: Herbal supplements can cure depression

Fact: Through research, few herbal supplements are found to be useful, while others are not. The later might pose serious health risks.

Myth 7: Antidepressants are addictive

Fact: Antidepressants are not addictive. It is just that few may experience withdrawal symptoms if they leave the therapy midway or miss taking doses.

Myth 8: Depression in more common in females

Fact: Usually, men talk less about their emotions and hence less likely to seek help.

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