Last year, we mourned the tragic death of Robin Williams. After a losing such a prominent figure to perhaps the most concerning outcome of psychiatric illness, suicide, the community is finally discussing depression.
And while this discussion is most certainly a good thing, there have been some myths that have consistently presented themselves throughout the discussion
Here are 4 myths about depression that I want to dispel.
1. Depression is a sign of weakness
Depression is not a character flaw. It’s a medical illness that affects millions. Like other medical illnesses, it does not discriminate. People suffering from depression cannot just will themselves to be better, anymore than patients suffering from pneumonia or cancer can will themselves to good health. The belief that depression is a character flaw or a weakness contributes to stigma and unnecessary shame. Depression is a chronic medical condition that affects people biologically, socially, and psychologically. Seeking help for depression is a sign of strength and you should never be ashamed of asking for help!
2. Depression isn’t a real illness
Depression is a serious medical illness of the brain, a vital organ. It may be marked by neurotransmitter imbalances, structural and functional changes in the brain, and multiple other physical abnormalities. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for Depression. The right treatment is the one that works for you.
3. It’s not depression; just sadness
Sadness is a normal human emotion. It is temporary, and will come and go appropriately, in response to life events, or for no discernible reason. When people suffering from depression experience sadness, it is unrelenting for two weeks or more, and accompanied by multiple other signs and symptoms. Depression may cause people to feel anxious, or tense, and makes living arduous.
4. You’ll be medicated for the rest of your life
Treatment for depression is completely customized to each patient. While some patients may benefit from medication, others may not. Experienced psychiatrists work with patients to determine the best course of treatment, which may or may not include medication. There are several forms of psychotherapy for depression as well. The best treatment for your mood symptoms will be determined by working closely with your psychiatrist.
Depression is a serious medical illness that affects millions of people on a daily basis. If you believe you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, seek professional help. If you have questions about depressive illness, please contact my office.
Dr. Amanda Itzkoff is trained in Psychotherapy and Psychopharmacology in New York, and can help you move beyond the frequent frustrations or limitations that may be caused by depression. If you are looking for more information on depression, please feel free to contact us via email. To schedule a consultation, please contact our office at 917-609-4990..