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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Facts and Fallacies About Depression

 by pattrickjhonson


Depression among young Americans has come to be known as the common cold of mental illnesses. It is one of the fastest growing problems in U.S. culture, yet it is among the most misunderstood of the mental disorders. Myths and misperceptions about the disease abound. Consider these: True depression is not a natural reaction to crisis and loss. Depression is a pervasive and systemic biological problem that results in deep-seated pessimism and feelings of helplessness, despair, and lethargy, sometimes coupled with agitation. Victims may have problems at work or difficulties in relationships. Symptoms may come and go, and the severity will fluctuate, but they do not simply go away Depressed people forget what being normal feels like. Crisis and loss can lead an already depressed person over the edge to suicide or other problems, but crisis and loss do not inevitably result in depression.

People will not snap out of depression by using a little will­power. Telling a depressed person to snap out of it is like telling a diabetic to produce more insulin. Medical intervention in the form of antidepressant drugs and therapy is often necessary for recovery. Remember that depression is the leading cause of suicide in the United States, and even with treatment, more than half of those who have it will eventually get it again. Understanding the seriousness of the disease and supporting victims in their attempts to recover are key elements of support.

Frequent crying is not a hallmark of depression. Some people who are depressed bear their burdens in silence, or may even be the life of the party. Some depressed individuals don't cry at all. Rather, biochemists theorize that crying may actually ward off depression by releasing chemicals that the body produces as a positive response to stress.

Depression is not "all in the mind." Depression isn't a disease of weak-willed, powerless people. In fact, research has shown that genetics plays a critical role in the development of severe depression. Data suggest that depressive illnesses originate with an inherited chemical imbalance in the brain. In addition, some physiological conditions, such as thyroid disorders, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and certain types of cancer, often have depressive side effects. Certain medications also are known to prompt depressive-like symptoms.

It is not true that only in-depth psychotherapy can cure long­term clinical depression. No single psychotherapy method works for all cases of depression.

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