MENTAL HEALTH MYTHS

Kristi Quaglieri

Depression is just a feeling; you can snap out of it if you try hard enough.

False. It can be caused by genetics and is a real imbalance of chemicals (serotonin) in the brain. MRIs have proven that the brains of people who are depressed differ from 'normal' peoples brains.

Depression only occurs when bad things happen.

Depression can occur without any specific stressor or trigger. It can also run in families or happen to people with certain genes.

Post partum depression is an excuse women use for being bad mothers.

The drop in hormones after childbirth (estrogen, progesterone) can cause some women to become depressed. Additionally, the lifestyle changes that come with having a new baby (sleep deprivation, overwhelm) can cause women to become more anxious than before.

There's nothing you can do to treat depression.

Depression can be treated in a variety of ways, it all depends on which one works best for the patient. Some ways are psychotherapy, antidepressants (drugs), exercise, and getting into healthy habits.

Antidepressants and lithium can help anybody with a mood disorder.

Antidepressants and lithium are specific to certain disorders. If given the wrong drug, symptoms may worsen. Additionally, everyone reacts to medications differently--it may not always help or be the best option to go on medication. Care needs to be taken by doctors and psychologists when prescribing medicines.

There are no outward signs of depression.

People with depression often stop hanging out with their friends, participating in activities they once enjoyed, display reckless behavior, are easily irritable, and may display a change or lack of appetite.

Having mania is fun.

Having mania is not fun. It is like an altered state of being, and things do not always appear as they actually are. It often results in self destructive and reckless behaviors which can negatively affect peoples lives.

No one hallucinates while suffering from a mood disorder.

Some people do hallucinate while suffering from a mood disorder. For example, sufferers of bipolar disorder often experience auditory hallucinations where they hear things that are not actually real. Usually they occur during manic episodes.

Everyone who has bipolar disorder experiences the disorder in the same way.

Everyone experiences the disorder differently. There are even different types of bipolar disorder (Bipolar I & Bipolar II). Some people spend more time in the depression state of bipolar, while others stay in the manic state. So, it all depends on the person.

Only people suffering from depression are suicidal.

A person does not have to be depressed to be suicidal. People that suffer from bipolar disorder can also be suicidal. Additionally, sufferers of schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and people who abuse drugs or alcohol can be suicidal.