Depression: Is it even a Real Illness?

What is Depression?

Depression is a kind of mental disorder which has till now affected around 264 million people worldwide. It can be identified by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in the people.  It can also play a major impact on the patterns of sleep and appetite; tiredness and poor concentration may also be considered as a sign of depression. Depression is one of the leading causes of disability around the world. Thus, it contributes greatly to the global burden of disease. The effects of depression can be prolonged or recurrent. Depression can dramatically affect a person’s ability to function and live a rewarding life.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

  • Changes in eating portions
  • Unintentional weight fluctuation
  • Irregular sleeping pattern
  • Feeling of  restlessness
  • Mostly feeling of being exhausted or loss of energy
  • Feeling of being unimportant or guilty
  • Inability to concentrate, think  or make decisions
  • Repeated  thoughts of death or suicide, or an attempt at suicide
Image via Harvard Health

Myths Related to Depression

It isn’t a real illness

Most of the people mistakenly believe that depression is mere sadness or even a weakness of character. But the truth is that, depression is a complex mental health disorder. It may have social, psychological, and biological origins. It can be treated by various methods.

It is as same as being sad

Sadness is simply a normal human emotion.  Most of us have experienced it and we all will again. Sadness is usually caused by a difficult, hurtful, challenging, or disappointing event, experience, or situation. In other words, we appear to feel sad about something. This also means that when that something gets changed, when our emotional hurt fades, when we get adjusted or gotten over the loss or disappointment, our sadness goes away.

Depression is an abnormal emotional state of mind. It is a mental illness that affects our thinking, emotions, perceptions, and behavioural patterns in pervasive and chronic ways. When get depressed we feel sad about everything around us. It is not necessary that we get depressed about a difficult event or situation, a loss, or a change of circumstance as a trigger. Rather, it often occurs in the absence of any such triggers. A person’s life on paper might be totally fine, he/she would even admit this is true but they still feel horrible.

Anti depressants can cure it

Depression can be treated. Along with the other involvements, your doctor may prescribe antidepressant medications. These drugs make alteration in your brain chemistry. They can help address deep-rooted biological problems that may be contributing to your condition.

But for some people, antidepressants alone aren’t enough. Your doctor may also suggest psychotherapy or talk therapy.  Medicine with talk therapy is a common treatment strategy of most of doctors.

It passes from parent to kid

In case, you have a history of depression in your family, you’re more likely to develop it yourself is a very common rumour. But experts are till now not sure how significant genetics are in determining your risk of being depressed. Just because your parents or other family members have experienced it would not imply that you will too.

It is a good thing to be aware of your family history. But try not to become concerned too much about risk factors because you cannot control few things. Rather, focus on factors that you can manage. Like, avoid abusing alcohol or drugs to help lower your risk of this problem.

Attempts  harming oneself or others

It is not necessary that every person who is in depressed would harm you. Some of them are daydreaming. Also, some could harm their own self also. Self-harm is not a kind of mental illness, but it is a behaviour that indicates a need for better coping skills. Self-harm occurs mostly during the teenage and young adult years, though it can also happen later in life. Those at the most risk are people who have encountered with any traumatic event, neglect or abuse. Suppose, if a person grew up in an unstable family, it might have become a coping mechanism. If an individual binge drinks or uses illicit drugs, they are at greater risk of self-injury, because alcohol and drugs lower self-control.

People start taking various pills to cure depression.
Image via Healthline

Research

In a way to understand the people’s awareness about depression, I conducted a research survey using the questionnaire method. The results of which are as follows:

  • 61% of the respondents think that depression is not a real illness, 7% think may be and 32% respondents think that depression is a real illness.
  • 46% of the respondents think that depression is as same as being sad, 34% think may be while just 20% think that depression is not as same as being sad.
  • 61% of the respondents think that may be antidepressants can cure depression and only 8% think that antidepressants cannot cure depression.
  • 69% respondent think that may be depression can pass from parents to their kids and just 9% think depression cannot pass from parents to their kids.
  • Around 64% of the respondents think that may be depression can result in harming oneself or others, 30% think that depression cannot result in harming oneself or others.

Outcome of research

It was observed that, many of the respondents think that depression is not a real illness. Almost half of the respondents think that depression is as same as being sad. Most of the people think that may be antidepressants can cure depression. Also, it was found that majority of respondents think that may be it can pass from parents to their kids. More than half of the targeted audience think that may be depression can result in harming oneself or others.

Conclusion

Depression is a mental illness that can lay major impact on the lives of the people. Most of the people do not consider it as a real illness and think that it is as same as being sad. In case if any one feels like they suffer from any kind of sadness, then one can take few self help steps like talking to people, doing the things which you like doing, eating healthy food and avoid thinking negatively.

Even if after following these steps if you still feel but you are still finding your mental illness is getting worse, seek professional help. Asking for help is not something of which one should be ashamed of or it doesn’t mean you’re weak. The negative thinking while in depression can make you feel like you’re a lost cause, but one needs to understand that depression can be treated.  It is possible to get over with depression by spreading positivity in life and having a healthy routine. 

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