Depression is a medical problem that millions of people struggle with, often in silence. Those who seek treatment can show improvement over time, but one of the key stumbling blocks is a simple question that many of us refuse to answer: Why don’t people talk about depression?
What is Depression?
“Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and home.” Fortunately, symptoms can be treated with ketamine.
Know The Symptoms
- You constantly feel sad, anxious, or “low.”
- Hopelessness or pessimism
- You’re easily irritated
- Guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Low energy or being easily fatigued
- You talk or move slowly
- Restlessness or problems sitting still
- Trouble with memory, focusing, or decision making
- Problems sleeping, waking early, or oversleeping
- Hunger or weight fluctuations
- You think of death, suicide, or suicide attempts
- Mysterious discomfort, headaches, cramps, or gastrointestinal problems that don’t go away even with treatment
What Causes Depression?
- There appear to be physical changes in the brains of people diagnosed with depression.
- If you’re depressed, neurotransmitters in your brain – which research shows are responsible for transmitting signals like pain perception – may be weak or damaged. This could result in problems regulating moods.
- Hormonal changes could be the source or trigger for depression. This could be caused by thyroid problems, menopause, other conditions, or following pregnancy and delivery.
- Inherited traits, such as your personality
Why Don’t People Talk About Depression?
According to some reports, more than 40 million people in the United States are depressed, and nearly 300 million worldwide. And those numbers only include people who’ve recognized the symptoms in themselves and talked to a healthcare professional about their illness. Then, there’s a good chance that many millions more are depressed and either don’t talk about it or don’t realize they’re depressed.
But why don’t people talk about depression? There are many reasons.
Stigma, Prejudice, and Discrimination
“More than half of people with mental illness don’t receive help for their disorders. Often, people avoid or delay seeking treatment due to concerns about being treated differently or fears of losing their jobs and livelihood. That’s because stigma, prejudice, and discrimination against people with mental illness is still very much a problem.”
Many famous people – historical and contemporary figures – have struggled with depression. The nearly endless list includes Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Hawking, George Patton, Michelangelo, Winston Churchill, etc. Most of these luminaries suffered in silence because the condition wasn’t understood, or mental illness was a sign of weakness and never discussed. Over the last several years, as mental health has moved to the forefront of public discourse and is treated as an actual illness, celebrities worldwide have emerged from the darkness to talk about their struggles with depression – Dwayne Johnson, Michael Phelps, Ashley Judd, Jon Hamm, Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, and so many more.
At some point, everyone who struggles with mental illness is also waging war against the myths of depression, which is why the illness isn’t discussed.
The Great Myths of Depression
- Depression isn’t real or is just in your head. FALSE.
- Treatment never works, and you’ll always get better on your own. FALSE.
- They’re kids – they can’t get depressed. FALSE.
- The only medication that works are antidepressants. FALSE.
- Your biological father was depressed, so you’ll get it, too. FALSE.
- Only women get depressed. FALSE.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosis is based on:
- A physical examination, performed by a doctor, where you’ll be asked questions about your health. The doctor will look for an underlying physical health problem.
- The results of lab tests, like a complete blood count or testing your thyroid to ensure it’s working right.
- A psychiatric assessment. If a medical doctor can’t find a cause for your depression symptoms, you may be referred to a mental health specialist. In this case, you’ll be asked about symptoms, thoughts, feelings, behaviors. You might be asked about personal and family history of mental illness and complete a mental health self-evaluation.
- Comparing your symptoms to criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association.