Each year, millions of Americans are affected by depression. Despite this, people have their own mythical perceptions about depression and its occurrence. Very few people seem to understand the suffering of going through an entire period of numbness, where sadness becomes the norm and suicidal thoughts hover in the mind incessantly.

It is time to learn that depression is not “just a sad day” due to “some terrible occurrence” or “just experiencing Monday blues”. Depression is beyond any kind of stereotypical myths; it is serious and needs treatment. Here is a list of five common myths about depression:

  1. Depression is synonymous to sadness: Sadness is a symptom of depression and not the same thing. Sadness is momentary, mostly caused by some tragic events or stressful memories. Depression, on the other hand, is chronic and can be life-threatening. Depressed people have feelings beyond sadness, in the form of anxiousness, uneasiness, tension, nervousness, etc.
  2. Depression emerges from tough situations: Traumatic or tough situations can trigger depression, such as the death of a loved one, a bad relationship, loss of a job, etc. It does not require any particular situation after which it will surface. Depression can be diagnosed by prolonged episodes of hopelessness, agitation, apathy or emptiness with no specific cause.
  3. Depression is all in the head: Of course not! Depression is beyond emotional upheavals and can have physical manifestations too. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has listed some of the physical symptoms of depression, including loss of energy, fatigue, headache, indigestion, breathlessness, stomach aches, etc. People generally tend to overlook these symptoms thinking that depression can be diagnosed only with emotional signs.
  4. Antidepressants are the best treatment for depression: It is not about popping a pill today and getting better tomorrow. Prescription of antidepressants are done on a case-by-case basis and it depends on the condition of a patient. If a person is suffering from a mild to moderate depression, he may get better through psychotherapies. However, if a person is suffering from a major depression, a doctor may prescribe antidepressants, or both. Everything depends on what suits the patient best and helps to curb the depressive symptoms.
  5. One can not “snap out” of depression: As physical ailments need treatment, people with depression also can not “snap out of it” as it is a serious mental condition requiring proper diagnostic treatment. Depression can make people feel utterly helpless and telling them “to start feeling happy” will only make things worse. What they need is medical attention, and not remorseful comments.

Depression-free future is achievable

People with depression can certainly come out of their mental woes if they seek proper treatment. A comprehensive treatment procedure consisting of psychotherapy and pharmacological treatments can help a person get better. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a useful tool in treating depression. A therapist helps a patient solve current problems and deal with mental insurances during counseling sessions.

The irony is that most sufferers do not realize that they are suffering from depression and abstain from discussing their mental issues with family and friends, mainly because of the prevailing prejudices. However, it is extremely important to seek medical assistance if there are any signs of depressive symptoms. One should not wait for it engulf one's life.