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Myths about Depression

6 Misunderstandings about Depression and its Treatments

-- By Robin Donovan, Health Writer
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So, depression may be purely caused by genes in some people and by life events in others, but for many people, it's likely a combination of these factors. In other cases, there is no apparent cause and no stressful event that leads to an onset of depression. Sometimes, depression just happens to people for reasons we don't understand—and perhaps no "reason" at all.

Depression Myth #4: Antidepressants always cause weight gain.
Although weight gain is a common side effect of almost all antidepressant medications, it's not a fact of life for everyone or every medication. For example, tricyclic antidepressants (nortriptyline, amitriptyline and others) and the SSRI medication paroxetine (brand name, Paxil) are more likely to cause weight gain than the SNRI (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) drugs Effexor and Serzone.

Because medications don't cause the same side effects in everyone, talk to your doctor if you begin to gain weight while taking an antidepressant. It may be possible to switch to a different medication.

Learn more about preventing and dealing with weight gain due to antidepressants.

Depression Myth #5: Depression will go away with time.
Depression might go away on its own, but most people show improvement (and resolve their symptoms faster) with treatment, including various forms of talk therapy, medication, exercise and other therapies. You don't have to be severely depressed to take advantage of these treatments.

If you feel overwhelmed, start with your family physician or internist, or even a medical practitioner at a general care clinic. These professionals are trained to provide basic depression screenings and can help you find further assistance if needed.

Remember that depression can make it harder to get help, too, because symptoms like low energy and poor self-esteem can make it seem as if your problem isn't worth addressing or that you don't deserve help. If in doubt, ask a friend, family member or confidant to help you stay motivated to seek medical attention if you've been experiencing symptoms of depression. You don't have to suffer alone.

Depression Myth #6: Once you're depressed, you can never get better.
Yes, there's treatment-resistant depression and experiencing one major depressive episode makes it more likely that you will experience another episode in the future, but new research is showing that medication and psychotherapy, together, are often more effective than either of these treatments alone for people with hard-to-treat types of depression.

If you've recently been diagnosed with depression, don't let others' expectations and uninformed beliefs about depression overshadow the advice of your physician, psychologist or psychiatrist. Shake off the idea that depression is your fault, or that you somehow brought it on yourself due to bad habits.
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About The Author

Robin Donovan Robin Donovan
Robin Donovan is a Cincinnati-based freelance writer and magazine journalist with experience covering health, medicine, science, business, technology and design.

Member Comments

  • This kind of articles just aggravate me so much. There is all kinds of evidence coming out now that depression has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with brain chemicals and the psychiatrists and drug companies have led us down a garden path about what depression really is not therefore drugging us out of the ability to cure ourselves of it. I would suggest until you can prove the chemical imbalance theory which is total hogwash (and there isn't a clinic trial or test that can prove it), you quit promoting a lie. Depression is not a disease and there are doctors all over the world who are now fighting back with this misleading information. I used to be depressed and am no longer. I was not diseased or mentally ill and needed no drugs to cure myself. These depression drugs kill hundreds of thousands of people so quit promoting something you could not prove if you tried. - 1/5/2014 10:47:55 PM