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Excerpt #3 of Lynn Crilly's 'Hope with Depression' - Myths and truths
Posted by SANE
22nd Jan 2020

Myths and truths – part one

Myth 1: It is obvious when people have depression.

Truth: Many people with depression hide it very successfully, or at least they try their very hardest to. They may be so good at concealing how they really feel that only the most alert loved ones are able to see what is really happening behind that smile. This is where knowing someone well and being aware of what is normal for them are vital. If they start showing unusual behaviour, perhaps sleeping or eating in a way that causes concern, dig deeper to see if depression or another mental illness could be the cause.

 

Myth 2: Antidepressants are the only way to treat depression.

Truth: Some people see antidepressant medication as something to be feared (and often avoided), because of the concerns about its side-effects and whether it could lead to an addiction. Those concerns should certainly not be ignored, but neither should they put people off seeking medical help for depression. The best person to advise a patient about whether medication is suitable for them and what the effects of taking that medication might be is their GP. However, that is not to say that all responsibility should be handed to a medical practitioner. The patient themselves, along with their loved ones and carers, should ask about side-effects and remain alert to any potential problems they may cause. Medication is also only one line of treatment. It is not always needed and therapy or counselling can also be very effective, while other alternative therapies may also be helpful. (See Chapters 4 and 5 for more information).

 

Myth 3: Depression affects mainly women.

Truth: While the number of women known to be suffering from depression is greater than the number of men, we also know that men are much less likely to come forward to seek help for their symptoms and, in our ‘macho’ society, perhaps find it harder to talk about their state of mind. However, the shocking fact that the biggest cause of death among men under the age of 50 is suicide clearly shows that men are also suffering with mental illness, and they need to be right at the centre of the conversation about it. Another myth, that ‘real men don’t get depression’ must also be scotched. Unfortunately, many men still believe  that depression is a kind of weakness and should not be acknowledged. This makes the illness even more dangerous for men than women, as again they are less likely to ask for help.

 

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