Debunking Common Misconceptions of Depression

What was once considered a disorder that only affected older generations, depression has become increasingly prevalent in youth and young adults. Celebrities, such as rapper Kid Cudi, actor Owen Wilson, and recently singer Selena Gomez, have come forward about their personal battles with depression. As more and more people are coming forward, sharing their stories of depression, it is becoming more noticeable how little people truly know about the disease.  With an alarming amount of myths and misinformation floating around, Stuart MacFarlane, Jungian Analyst, thought it was important to comprise and debunk a few of the most common myths surrounding depression.

“Depression isn’t a real disease”
According to the Office of National Statistics, depression affects one in every five adults in the UK. This means that you are bound to know someone who is suffering from depression – this is a very real disease. People often believe depression is just an extreme case of sadness or worse, a character weakness. On the contrary, depression is a complicated mental health disorder that affects the social, psychological and biological aspects of the person who is suffering from it.

“Once they snap out of it, they’ll be fine”
The belief that someone can just snap out of depression is one of the worst misconceptions about the disease. No one who is depressed chooses to be depressed. Depression occurs when a person’s brain reacts negatively to an environmental or biological factor. Simply telling someone to think positively or change their attitude is not helping them, but only preventing them from getting the help they may need.

“Depression only affects women.”
Men are constantly told to control their emotions; that showing emotion is a sign of weakness. Depression is also falsely correlated with being emotionally weak. Because of these misconceptions, it is commonly believed that only women suffer from depression and men are just being weak and emotional. That is not the case. Due to social pressures, unfortunately, a great number of men are uncomfortable talking openly about their battles with depression. Yes, women are more prone to suffering from depression, but it affects men as well.

If we continue to give in to and perpetuate these common misconceptions about depression, then we are doing more harm than good. Not arming ourselves with the proper knowledge could be preventing a loved one from getting the necessary help they need. If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering from depression, talk to your doctor or an experienced psychotherapist immediately.

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