Mood Disorder Myths Busted

by Zack Mullin-Bernstein

"Depression is just a feeling that you can snap out of."

The truth is that depression is a mental disorder that can stay with someone for their whole lives. Beating depression takes more work than simply snapping out of it and requires medical treatment.

"Depression only occurs when bad things happen."

Traumatic events are not the only cause of depression. People can be depressed for any number of reasons, one of which is chemical imbalances in the brain.

"Post partum is just an excuse used by bad mothers."

The truth is that postpartum depression is a serious psychological disorder that can be caused by the chemical imbalances that result from child birth.

"There is no way to treat depression."

Although it can be very difficult, through the use of the correct medicines and a mixture of therapy groups, many people are able to overcome their depression.

"Antidepressant medicine can help anyone with a mood disorder."

Although lithium does work miracles for some people with mood disorders, the fact is that these drugs are not right for everyone, and in some cases, may even cause the patient's symptoms to worsen.

"There are no visible signs of depression."

Like many mental disorders, depression comes with many physical symptoms as well as psychological. The symptoms include tiredness, lack of appetite, withdraw from others, and irritability.

"Having mania is fun."

Some aspects of mania can be useful, but the end result of mania is anything but fun. People who are manic are likely to get into problems with the law, with their friends and family, or economically. Mania also does not last forever, and when people come down from the "high" the results of their actions can be devastating.

"No one hallucinates while suffering from a mood disorder."

Severe cases of disorders such as manic depression can often cause people to enter a psychotic mental state in which hallucinations are not a rare occurrence.

"Bipolar disorders affect everyone in the same way."

Not all bipolar disorders are the same. Some people with bipolar disorder can experience long term mania with bouts of depression, this is known as bipolar I. While others have long periods of depression with short spurts of mania, this is know as bipolar II.

"Only depressed people are suicidal."

Although many people who struggle with depression do try and commit suicide, depression is not the only disorder that causes this symptom. People with bipolar disorder are also at risk of taking their own life, about 15% of those afflicted try to commit suicide.