Get the Facts!
Dispelling the Rumors About Mental Disorders
"Depression is just a feeling; you can snap out of it if you try hard enough."
Depression is caused by an imbalance of serotonin in the brain. It is not just a feeling but an actual psychological problem caused by a physical condition. Therapy could help to set the imbalance back to normal, but in many cases medication is needed in order to fully treat it.
"Depression only occurs when bad things happen."
Though it is true that depression could be caused by a physical trauma, it can also have other causes such as heredity or other reasons unknown that cause a general unhappiness with life.
"Postpartum depression is an excuse women use for being bad mothers."
Postpartum depression is actually caused by the hormones being released during pregnancy and birth, which can sometimes result in other chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, being thrown off. In serious cases, this can lead to postpartum psychosis, a very dangerous condition for the mother and those around her, especially her new child.
"Antidepressants and lithium can help anyone with a mood disorder."
Contrary to this popular belief, the wrong antidepressants can end up making people worse, even drawing them to the point of suicide. This can be especially prevalent with those given the wrong mental health diagnosis and being prescribed the medicine incorrectly. Even when the prescription is correct to the diagnosis, it still may not work and many options may need to be sought before a solution is found.
"There are no outward signs of depression."
There are many outward signs of depression. Things to watch for are: lack of energy, loss of interests in hobbies, activities, school work, and eating, lethargy, thoughts of death, and more.
"Having mania is fun."
Though some may describe mania as "better than any drug out there," the fun can quickly turn sour. Mania includes reckless behavior and risk-taking, which can be dangerous to the person experiencing it and those around them, excessive spending leading to debt, and moving much faster than everyone else around them, causing them to feel isolated.
"No one hallucinates while suffering from a mood disorder."
Symptoms of severe cases of bipolar disorder, postpartum depression (postpartum psychosis), and depression can lead to hallucinations. They can also occur if the person is put on an incorrect medication, which can amplify the extent of the disorder.
"Everyone who has bipolar disorder experiences the disorder in the same way."
Those who experience bipolar disorder can experience it in a variety of ways. There are two types of bipolar disorder, one leaning towards the manic side with less frequent depressive downturns, while the other is the complete opposite. There are also differences in the frequency of the cycling between both moods, with some having rapid cycling where their mood changes more than four times a year, whereas others would stay in one mood for much longer periods.
"Only people suffering from depression are suicidal."
Not all people with depression are suicidal, though it can be a major and severe side effect. In addition to this, suicidal thoughts can result from negative thoughts or events plaguing a person at a particular time, or strike a person quite rapidly without depression being a factor.