As per the survey conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), an estimated 15.7 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States have at least one depressive episode in the past year. This number consists of 6.7% of all U.S. adults.
These numbers are highly alarming, and it is essential to sense the urgency of this situation. It is crucial to have an open discussion about this, so people are made aware of the true nature of depression.
There are lots of misconceptions and wrong understanding attached to depression. So, let us look at some of the facts that will paint a real picture of depression.
- Depression and intense sadness are two different things
We all feel sad occasionally in our routine life. Some things that don’t go our way make us upset too. However, these spells are brief. Depression is a long-lasting spell of dreadfulness. The idea that causes depression hard to assess is that we don’t even feel sad when we are depressed. It can make people disengaged and disinterested.
It also causes intense fits of waves of anger and frustration. So, let us understand that depression has got nothing to do with sadness only. It obscures our whole sense of being making us angry, irritable, and detached from reality.
- Depression is not caused due to one specific reason
The core reason for depression can never be understood because there isn’t. It is caused due to lots of factors. Genetic tendencies and environmental factors are two of the most common factors. Usually, depressive thought tendencies can be traced back to lineage as well. Other factors include brain chemistry imbalances, hormones, seasonal changes, stress, and trauma.
Brain Chemistry Imbalances: Depression has always been linked with chemical anomalies that disrupt the neurotransmission affecting our mood regulators directly.
When the proportion of chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are disturbed, we can observe depressive tendencies in thought processes.
Hormonal Cause: Fluctuation in hormonal production due to pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, or thyroid issues can also cause depression
Seasonal change: Depressive disorder can also be caused due to seasonal patterns because they result in disruptions of the circadian rhythm of the body. Even the reduction in sunlight can decline the serotonin levels in the brain. At times seasonal changes can disturb the sleeping patterns that contribute to a depressed mood.
Stress and Trauma: This is one of the most common causes of depression. The loss of a loved one, trauma and abuse, chronic stress, and significant life changes such as divorce or a job loss can contribute immensely to depression. This is mainly because, during such stressful conditions, high levels of cortisol hormone are secreted that disturbs the mood.
- You can be healthy and yet be depressed
Depression is not one of those illnesses that show apparent physical and mental signs. The reason why this is one of the most severe diseases is that it appears to be healthy. This sense of normalcy that depression carries along with itself, obscures our perception of suffering, and we accept depression as a healthy state of mind.
It’s a faux pas that active people cannot be depressed. However, we must understand better that this illness is related to our mind and thoughts. So, we must banish these misconceptions and know that it can happen to anyone.
- Children are prone to depression as well
This is one of the most common mistakes of depression. We usually understand childhood as a joyful and stress-free time of our lives. Children experience life differently than adults who go through work-related and financial stress. This does not discard the possibility of them being fallen prey to depression. Often children get depressed because of bullying and unruly behavior imposed on them. Poor attention and care by parents can also shape depressive tendencies in kids.
- Depression can be cured
There are lots of useful tools and treatment options available for people to get out of depressive tendencies. Medications, psychotherapy, and meditation are some of them.
It is normal to tailor the treatment based on your symptoms and overall health. However, a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes has proven records of helping people find their way out of depression.
- Feeling better is not the end of the depression
A lot of people have depressive spells only for a brief period. But for a lot of people, depression can be long-term suffering. One can feel suitable for months or years only to fall back to depressive episodes once again.
You can compare depression with chronic diseases such as diabetes. One does not stop taking insulin because the blood sugar level has reached its optimum number. Likewise, you must not suddenly stop with the medication and treatment once your mood has improved.
One of the toughest tasks dealing with depression is staying strong and taking good care of yourself during the good times.
We have looked at six facts about depression, giving us a clear picture and true nature of this illness. It is imperative to assess your feelings and understand why you feel the way you do. Most importantly, you must open and accept depression because acceptance is the first step towards recovery.
Today, in this kind of dense information age, people are more prone to depression than ever before. Hence we must indulge in open discussions about depression and make people aware of its commonality.