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Coronavirus Pandemic: Read 8 Myths About Depression

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Depression is among the most challenging issues during the coronavirus pandemic. More than 4 in 10 Americans admitted pandemic-related stress has taken a toll on their mental health. While many people are seeking depression treatment and counseling, many depression myths and misconceptions often make finding help more challenging for patients. Read more about some of the most common depression myths and the efforts to debunk them.

Myth 1: Depression Is Not A Real Illness.

Depression is not a condition that a person can recover from easily. Depression has emotional and physical symptoms, stemming from many biochemical, psychological, and social elements. It is not as simple as neurotransmitter imbalances, as experts once thought. In 2017, about 63.8% of adults with at least one episode of major depression have suffered severe impairment.

Myth 2: Depression And Sadness Are The Same.

Depression is a diagnosable illness, not a feeling or emotion. Depressive periods, unlike sadness, trigger signs that persist for at least 2 weeks. It can affect how an individual believes, feels, and behaves significantly. Although a depressive mood will make anyone sad, not everyone is depressive in the same way or has the same symptoms.

Men with depression, for example, might seem more aggressive or angrier than sad. Many people, especially men, try to disguise or hide their symptoms. In contrast, children and teenagers with depression can be anxious and irritable instead of in a less humorous mood.

Myth 3: Depression Is Something You Can Just Get Out Of.

No one chooses depression. The relationships between brain chemistry, function and environment are complex and reciprocal. Neurological factors are outside the control of humans. People can be vulnerable to depression regardless of their economic and income statuses.

Myth 4: Staying Busy Treats Depression.

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Getting enough exercise and staying connected with loved ones can help ease some symptoms of depression. However, it does not cure it. A common myth that many people believe is that if a person keeps busy with their careers, side hustles, or passion projects, they can reduce their depression. Rather, people can break any long-term projects into smaller tasks and put off any important decisions during a depressive episode, so they can manage their lives better.

Myth 5: Depression Develops Because Of A Lack Of Willpower.

Studies show that people who are depressed and anxious cannot suppress negative emotions. The more they tried to repress their depression, the more they activated the amygdala – the fear component in the brain – that gave more negative messages. With strength and a renewed appreciation for life, one can emerge from the depths of mental pain. Many who have been fighting and clawing their way out of depression can deeply appreciate the feeling of being freed from their grip. Among those who fought with depression were Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill.

Myth 6: Depression Always Comes From A Traumatic Event.

Not everyone who goes through traumatic events develops depression. Medicines, hormonal disorders, pregnancy, and alcohol usage can contribute to depression, but they are not the chief causes. Depression can develop at any point in someone’s lifetime especially during coronavirus pandemic and major social injustices that we are facing currently.

Myth 7: Women Are The Only Ones Who Get Depression.

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According to the National Mental Health Institute, approximately one in eight women should expect to experience severe depression over their lifetime. Many factors, such as hormone fluctuations and family responsibilities, contribute to women’s depression. However, about six million men are depressed every year in the US. Men are also less likely to recognize and report depression. While men and women may have different causes of depression, depression does not discriminate against anyone.

Myth 8: If A Family Member Had Depression, Then A Person Will Likely Develop Depression.

Just because a family member had depression does not mean you will develop depression. Genetics play a part in depression growth but typically with other influences. People who develop depression may find additional comfort and guidance when speaking with family members.

These myths are fading with more research on depression and changing political, social, and medical attitudes. With growing cultural acceptance, more people are sharing their stories through therapy for depression.

During these challenging times, our therapists can help people navigate their thoughts and feelings. It is important to remember, therapy is not only for people struggling with severe mental health illness, it is also equally helpful overcoming daily life challenges. To schedule an appointment with one of our therapists, visit our Depression Counseling page or call 919-647-4600

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