Beware of preconceived ideas about depression

DEPRESSION IS OFTEN SEEN AS THE HEALTH EPIDEMIC OF THE 21ST CENTURY, BUT IT IS NO LONGER A TABOO SUBJECT.
It is one of the mood disorders. As the most common psychological disorder, it can become debilitating in everyday life.
In Switzerland, one person in five suffers from depression at least once in their life. And depression affects both young people and adults.

So, faced with this complex illness, it is crucial to beware of preconceived ideas about depression.
Caution is required whether you are experiencing symptoms of depression yourself or dealing with the depression of a close family member or someone at work.
It is extremely easy to get caught up in preconceived ideas and prejudices, which may lead to ignoring the illness or trying to help someone inappropriately.

Confronted with preconceived ideas about depression, it is not always easy to decide between true or false. In fact, there are different levels of depression with a variety of origins. So let us review some common preconceptions, and even beliefs about depression, cautiously and judiciously.

Ursachen Depressionen
Sustained and continuous stress can lead to depression

TRUE

Chronic stress causes anxiety and depression”, according to David Servan-Schreiber in his book “Guérir le stress, l’anxiété et la dépression sans médicaments ni psychanalyse” (Healing stress, anxiety and depression without medication or psychoanalysis).
Stress generates an imbalance in the nervous system through more or less perceptible emotional traumas. A combination of stressful situations at work can gradually lead to depression over time.
Take the example of Léo, 28 years old, who works in a demanding job that does little to nurture his personal motivations. If he is not careful, Léo risks finding himself lacking a sense of meaning, with very little energy, and in an inhibited state where he becomes withdrawn, discouraged and feels like giving up.

Feeling depressed and depression are the same thing

FALSE

Feeling depressed is a temporary drop in morale, whereas depression is characterised by a sadness and loss of pleasure that is so great that it becomes a problem in one’s daily life. To find out more about the difference between depression and low mood, read our article on the subject.

We are more prone to depression in the winter

TRUE

Lack of daylight reduces the production of serotonin, the mood neurotransmitter in our brain. So, winter disrupts our brain chemistry.

One depression leads to another

TRUE AND FALSE

Often, depression is not a one-off, temporary crisis. It can recur or even become chronic. Between one fifth and one third of patients relapse.
Hence the importance of recognising the situation and getting help according to the severity of the depression.

To overcome depression, all you need is willpower
FALSE

It is not enough to tell yourself that you will pull yourself together, not listen any more, will not succumb. That it is all in your imagination. That all you have to do is shake off the depression. That it is all about willpower.
Depression affects both the body and the mind. In the depressed state, the emotional brain traps the person in a lack of confidence, guilt, or denial.
Energy levels are very low, and there is little ability to bounce back. However, willpower involves reason and thought processes which cannot easily direct and control the emotional state.
Furthermore, depression makes one very aware of failure.

Depression affects women more than men

TRUE

Twice as many women are diagnosed with depression as men.
Depression manifests itself in women more as an anxiety disorder and in men through substance dependence.
There is one drawback in all this. Women and young people express themselves more openly than men and older people. And in all cases, loneliness is an aggravating factor.

Lifestyle affects depression

TRUE

A lifestyle that disrupts sleep and diet and causes cumulative fatigue is an accelerating factor in a latent state of depression.
A healthy lifestyle will save you from many problems.

Depression means antidepressants

TRUE AND FALSE

Mild to moderate depression can be treated by short-term therapeutic treatments with no need for medication. Antidepressants may be prescribed by psychotherapists in cases of severe depression or depending on the chronic nature of the depression.

Do’s and don’ts for dealing with a person suffering from depression
DON'T
DO

If you are interested in this subject, you will surely like the article by Groupe Mutuel – our partner. Read the article.

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