Depression is real. Ask anyone who feels it. Many people with depression are never diagnosed appropriately and they suffer needlessly. Depression is the most prevalent emotional health disorder.
If you know someone who says depression isn't real, then they don't understand the truth about depression.
Here are 5 truths about depression:
1. Depression is fueled by brain chemicals. There are these chemicals in our brain called neurotransmitters. Look it up here. Our brain chemicals can get out of balance. When this happens, your mood can go low or be unstable. In other words, you can feel emotionally exhausted or be moody. The use of prescribed medications can get your neurotransmitters back to the levels that are needed to stabilize your mood. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is limited in it's ability to regulate neurotransmitters without the use of medication.
2. Depression can be situational and episodic. You can feel sad when you grieve. You can feel sad when you are disappointed. You can feel sad when something upsets you. That would be normal. It's when the sadness begins to interfere with daily functioning, lasts consistently more than 6 months, and when it leads to self destructive thoughts, that depression is more serious than normal. Sadness is more episodic. Depression is a lifestyle with a limitation.
3. Most people who are depressed are between the ages of 45 and 62 (according to the CDC). This may contradict what you have heard about depression. Many people believe that teenagers are the greatest group suffering from depression. That is because more attention is placed on teenagers and depression. People over 45 tend to be more isolated in their depression. They also are less likely to be diagnosed. In addition, women are more likely to suffer from depression than men. More physicians need to be educated about the signs of depression. More family members need to talk openly about their concerns about a depressed family member. Here is a great guide on how to help someone who is depressed.
4. Not everyone who feels depressed goes on to be suicidal but everyone who is suicidal is depressed. I know that the topic of suicide is pretty scary. People are afraid to bring it up. I get that but we have to learn to talk openly about suicide. Know the warning signs and learn more about it so you can help someone. Don't be afraid to ask someone who is depressed if he or she is thinking about hurting themselves. Definitely don't keep it a secret. Find someone who can help because suicide is preventable. You can learn some incredibly useful information by clicking here.
5. Depression is treatable. For most people, depression is treatable. Treatment is not the problem. Diagnosis is the problem. So many people with treatable depression go undiagnosed needlessly. Pride gets in the way. Shame gets in the way. Embarrassment gets in the way. One of the symptoms of depression is hopelessness. That is why it is so important to have social support. Typically it is a loved one who convinces someone to get help. You may be that person who makes a difference for another. For more about the effectiveness of treatment, click here.
In a recent newsletter, I included a link to a video. It is an interview with Rick Springfield who talks very openly about how depression has been a part of his life since he was a teenager. He is candid and articulate.
He tells the story that I hear often in my clinical practice. I want you to hear it too. Watch it below.
Don't be afraid to ask for help if you recognize from this blog post that you might have depression. Be courageous enough to support someone you know who might be depressed.
Leave your comments below and let me know what you think.
Have I left anything out? Let's talk openly and make the subject of depression less taboo.
Until next time,
Featured photo © Depositphotos.com/magicinfoto