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Myths and Misconceptions

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: September 2023

In today's digital world, access to information can be incredibly convenient and simple. With just a few clicks, taps, or swipes, you can uncover a wealth of knowledge on nearly any topic. You might have already searched for information about major depressive disorder (MDD). But there is a lot of misinformation out there.

Knowing the difference between facts and fiction can empower you to navigate the sea of information about MDD. It is important to make sure you are gaining knowledge from reliable and accurate sources.

Myth: Depression is just feeling sad, and everyone experiences it

Depression is more than just occasional sadness. It is a complex mental health disorder that involves persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. Not everyone experiences depression, and it is not a normal part of everyone's life.1

Myth: People with depression are just seeking attention or being dramatic

Depression is a serious health problem caused by many things that are out of a person’s control. These things may include genes, environment, and learned behaviors. People with depression are not looking for attention. They are living with a condition that deeply affects how they think and feel.1

Myth: You can just "snap out" of depression if you try hard enough

Depression is not a matter of willpower or a choice. It is a complex medical disorder. While positive thinking and self-care are helpful, depression requires treatment to prevent negative outcomes.1

Myth: Talking about depression makes it worse

Openly discussing depression can actually be therapeutic. It reduces stigma, helps people feel understood, and encourages seeking help. Keeping feelings bottled up often makes the symptoms worse.1

Myth: Only women get depressed

Depression does not discriminate based on gender. All genders can experience depression. Women are diagnosed more often than men, but this might happen because men and women show their feelings and ask for help in different ways. For example, men might act annoyed or angry instead of sad.2

Myth: Everyone has equal access to mental health services

Access to mental health services is not equal for everyone. Lots of things can make it hard for people to get the help they need. Money problems, location, attitudes, and culture can all be challenges. Some people, especially in places with fewer resources, have trouble getting the right care.3

Many people are trying to break down these barriers and improve access to care. But the reality is still that not everyone has the same level of opportunity or may have long waits to get necessary mental health services.3

Myth: Children do not experience depression

Depression can affect people of all ages, including children and teenagers. But the symptoms might look different in kids. Irritability, social withdrawal, and poor grades are common signs of depression in children.1,2

Myth: Antidepressants are a quick fix for depression

Antidepressant drugs can help many people with depression, but they may take several weeks to work and must be taken as prescribed. It often takes time to find the right medicine and dosage. And antidepressants work best when combined with therapy, lifestyle changes, and support.1

Myth: Therapy is only for severe mental health disorders

Therapy can be beneficial for everyone. It provides coping strategies, emotional support, and a safe space to explore thoughts and feelings.1

Myth: It is impossible to help someone who has depression

While it might feel challenging, it is possible to help someone with depression. Support from friends, family, and mental health professionals plays a crucial role in a person's recovery journey.1

Simply being there to listen, offering a helping hand, and encouraging them to seek professional help can make a big difference. A supportive and understanding environment can be a great source of strength for someone living with depression.1

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