Depression is a mental health condition that’s one of the most common mental health conditions across the United States. Unfortunately, it’s also misunderstood and under-treated.
Because almost everybody feels depressed, sad, or blue from time to time, clinical depression isn’t always recognized as a serious health issue. You may dismiss your own symptoms or, conversely, mistakenly believe that you have clinical depression when you’re struggling with a short-term issue.
At The Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling, our caring counselors diagnose and treat clinical depression at our offices in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City. We also seek to increase awareness of this common mental health condition and dispel the myths surrounding it.
Do you believe the myths about depression? Here are five common ones, as well as the facts that contradict them.
1. Depression is rare
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, 14.8 million women and men as well as 4.1 million adolescents had at least one major depressive episode in 2020. Depression rates are highest among young people, aged 18-29. Prevalence among children and adolescents has increased recently, perhaps because of long-term effects of the pandemic.
About 40% of adults and 60% of adolescents with depression never receive treatment. Many more go undiagnosed and unrecognized in the first place.
2. There’s only one type of depression
Depression comes in a number of forms. It may also manifest in various ways, depending on the individual, which may make it difficult to recognize in yourself or in others. The main types of depression include:
The most common type of depression, major depression, is marked by a dark mood, lack of interest in activities, and feelings of worthlessness.
Persistent depressive disorder
Joylessness or moodiness are the hallmarks of persistent depressive disorder, and those symptoms can persist for more than two years.
Psychotic depression is a severe depression in which you also have negative hallucinations, delusions, or false beliefs.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Feeling listless or sad during gloomy seasons, such as winter, is a hallmark of SAD.
Alternating episodes of depression and mania characterize bipolar disorder.
Depression and a feeling of disconnection that sometimes occurs in women after childbirth.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that consists of extreme mood changes as well as physical discomfort.
3. Depressed people always act “sad”
Just as there are different types of depression, different individuals may manifest symptoms differently. In addition to sadness or anxiousness, symptoms of depression may include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Sleeping too much
- Physical aches and pains
- Unplanned weight changes
- Changes in appetite
- Lack of interest in activities
- Social withdrawal or isolation
- Substance abuse
A depressed person may suddenly shirk their responsibilities. They may also experience a decrease in libido and withdraw from their romantic partners. Depression can negatively affect work and school performance, too.
4. Depression isn’t serious
If you’ve never been depressed yourself, you may be tempted to tell someone who is acting listless and sad they should “just get over” their feelings. But depression isn’t about a mood that can be shifted; it’s a mental condition that has physiological as well as psychological roots. Depression isn’t just feeling “blue” or “feeling sorry for yourself.”
Untreated, uncontrolled depression isn’t just serious, it can be life-threatening. When in the midst of a depressive episode, or when suffering from chronic depression, you may have thoughts or even take actions that are suicidal in nature. If you or anyone you love has thoughts of self-harm or suicide, call the suicide prevention lifeline.
Women with postpartum depression may not only feel suicidal themselves, they may harm or kill their babies, too. Adolescents and men often express depression in angry, even violent actions.
5, Nobody can help you if you have depression
One of the complications of being depressed is that you may have a sense of hopelessness that you’ll ever feel better again. However, that sense of hopelessness is a symptom of depression itself. In fact, depression is one of the most easily and effectively treated of all the mental health disorders.
The American Psychiatric Association estimates that up to 90% of women, men, and teens treated for depression respond well to treatment. Almost all go on to have full or partial relief of their symptoms.
If you or someone you love is depressed, get the help you need by contacting our caring and sensitive team by phone or using our online form for depression diagnosis and treatment today. We also offer telehealth counseling sessions.