Depression is probably far more common than you realize – and there are a number of myths that interfere with understanding this condition. Here are the some of the most important facts to dispel any fictions you may have heard, so that you better comprehend this condition, its risk, and its impact.
- Over 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide.
This number accounts for 5% of the world’s total population, and only account for those who have actually been diagnosed.
- Over 16 million adults in the US have suffered or are suffering from depression.
This number reflects those who have had at least one major depressive episode since 2012 and is equivalent to almost 7% of the population in the US.
- Women are more likely to suffer from depression.
It is believed that hormonal, biological, and life-cycle factors that are unique to women may be linked to this higher depression rate. Women suffering from depression tend to have feelings of sadness, guilt, and worthlessness.
- Men often exhibit anger as a symptom of depression.
Men with depression are also more likely to be tired and irritable. While they often lose interest in work or activities, have sleep problems, and behave recklessly, they frequently do not recognize these as symptoms of depression and therefore fail to seek help.
- Medical problems can cause or contribute to depression.
Those who are suffering from serious medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are at a higher risk for developing depression.
- 10% to 15% of new mothers develop postpartum depression.
This number does not reflect the normal “baby blues’ that comes from hormonal changes and a lack of sleep and usually passes within a week or two.
- 20% of individuals with major depressive disorder develop psychotic symptoms.
This number is much higher than most people believe, making it important to recognize and report psychotic symptoms such as paranoia, delusions, or hallucinations.
- Antidepressants do not necessarily cure depression.
While depression is treatable with a number of antidepressant medications which can help address biological issues, for many people, antidepressants alone aren’t enough. Psychotherapy or talk therapy, often in combination with one or more medications, may be required.
- People who wallow can’t make themselves depressed.
No one chooses depression, and those who need time to work through their grief or sadness do not bring on depression. Depression is a medical condition in which a person’s brain chemistry, function, and/or structure are impaired by biological and/or environmental factors.
- Those with a family history of depression are more likely to experience depression.
Researchers aren’t certain of how significant genetics is in developing depression, but those with other family members who have suffered from depression are 10 to 15% more likely to experience it.
If you suspect that you or a loved one are experiencing depression, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. It’s important for you to reach out for help in order to begin the path to recovery.