7 Myths About Depression that Just aren’t True

Depression is kind of a taboo topic. Yes, we need to talk about it, but it’s never an easy thing to bring up. It can be tremendously tough for those suffering from depression to feel comfortable enough to seek help.

According to the World Health Organization, over 300 million people suffer from depression globally, including almost 7 percent of the American population. Every one of those people deserves support and treatment, and that means we need to start by dispelling the myths that surround depression. Here are seven commonly held myths about depression that simply aren’t true.

Myth #1: Depression is just a form of sadness.   

Depression and sadness are two entirely different things, so don’t conflate them. Suffering from depression isn’t the same thing as being really sad. One of those things is a situational emotion. The other is a mental illness that persists over time.

People who are sad can be consoled. Things they’ve always enjoyed can still manage to lift their spirits.

Those suffering from depression can find it almost impossible to enjoy things that used to make them happy. No amount of flowers or hugs can change that.

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Myth #2: Depression and anxiety are interchangeable.

While these two can often go hand-in-hand and share many of the same symptoms, they are by no means the same thing.

Those with anxiety disorders tend towards excessive worry, extreme muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, trouble sleeping, and irritability. Moderate depression tends to manifest as significant changes in appetite, lack of interest in hobbies, powerful lack of energy, feelings of guilt and unworthiness, and difficulty concentrating.

Depression and anxiety require different treatments, so it’s important to understand the difference between them.

Myth #3: You can get rid of depression with a bit of positivity. 

Chin up. Just look on the bright side. Sorry, but saying these things to a person suffering from depression only makes them feel worse.

No amount of positive thinking is going to change what is chemically going on in the brain. Rather than trying to force your loved one to be positive when they simply can’t, be someone nonjudgemental that they can talk to. And if you think they need help, make sure they get the help they need.

Depression is a lot to deal with, and it can be tough for a depressed person to know when they really need support.

Myth#4: All you need is anti-depressants.

There is no simple fix for depression. While some people respond to anti-depressants, many people don’t. For some, incorporating more exercise and making significant diet and lifestyle changes can make a huge difference, and therapy can also be another useful tool.

Having depression doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go on anti-depressants. There are lots of treatment options available, and your doctor should work with you to find the treatment best suited to you and your needs.

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Myth #5: Medication will change your personality.

It’s a common fear. No one wants to lose themselves. But numerous studies have been conducted to prove that anti-depressants do not significantly change your personality.

However, some research suggests that personality traits in neuroticism and extroversion may shift with medication. An imbalance in neuroticism is generally associated with addiction and depression, so a subtle shift in the other direction can be a good thing.

As for mild shifts in increased tendencies towards extroversion, whether this is actually from the medication directly or from the improvement in mood from depression lifting is unclear.

That said, there are lots of natural treatment and therapy options for those unwilling to take pharmaceutical anti-depressants, so no one should go without treatment.

Myth #6: Depression is a sign of mental weakness.   

There are a lot of people out there who are embarrassed by their depression, who think it is a sign of weakness. This is absolutely not true. It is a medical condition that requires treatment, no different from diabetes or high cholesterol.

Be open with loved ones about depression. It’s not something to be ashamed of. Those with depression just need support.

Myth #7: If you’re functioning, you’re not depressed.

If you’re living life and handling social situations, you can’t possibly be depressed, right? Wrong. There is such a thing as high-functioning depression, and it can be the most dangerous form of the disorder, simply because it’s less obvious that a person needs help.

A high-functioning depressed person could be active, successful at work and popular with friends but still find themselves tired and lacking energy behind the scenes. They might feel inclined to just lie in bed all day, if they have nothing to do.

This type of mild depression can persist for years, leading to more serious issues like suicidal thoughts. So, even if someone doesn’t seem depressed on the outside, it’s important to listen to what they are saying and use your intuition.

Depression is a serious mental illness and deserves support and treatment. Have an open dialogue with your loved ones about depression, and make sure no one has to suffer alone.

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181 comments

Albert Wrzesinski
Albert Wrzesinski2 months ago

I've been living with depression for almost 15 years now. It never went away, but therapy and medication helped me fight it, and the only thing I regret is that I didn't start them sooner. If you suspect you might be suffering from depression, please seek professional help.

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berny p
berny p2 months ago

Depression can be cure!

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Marge F
Marge F2 months ago

Thank you for posting this informative article.

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Renata B
Renata B2 months ago

Good article. Thanks.

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Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowman2 months ago

excellent AND SO NEEDED.

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Julia S
Julia S2 months ago

Thank you!

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Lindi Smith
Lindi Smith2 months ago

Most enlightening! Thank you. :)

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Sandra V
Sandra Vito2 months ago

Thanks

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Sandra V
Sandra Vito2 months ago

Thanks

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Janis K
Janis K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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