Thread: Depression affects 1 in 20 Indians. Yet, it is surrounded by enormous misconceptions and widespread prejudice. Read on for some common myths regarding depression and the reason for its falsity.

Depression is perhaps the most profound mental illness, affecting 1 in 20 Indians: about 75 million Indians. Yet, unfortunately, it is surrounded by enormous stigma, misconceptions, and widespread prejudice in a country like India with a substantial illiterate population. Read on for some common myths regarding depression and the reason for its falsity. 

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Myth 1: Depression is not a real illness

Let us start with the biggest myth of them all. Many believe “Depression is not a real illness”: this is wrong. In the theoretical sense, illness or disease pertains to “A disorder of structure or function which affects the victim adversely”, and depression undoubtedly fits this definition.

Practically, depression is far more than mere sadness or the derogatory “Weakness of character”. It is a very intricate mental health disorder, with social, psychological, and biological derivatives. Hence, if you think you might be suffering from it, we encourage you to contact a trained professional immediately. At Beyond Meds Foundation, we would be happy to help; you can find the contact credentials here.

Myth 2: Antidepressants always cure depression

“Antidepressants always cure depression” is another myth. Yes, antidepressants help you battle depression by altering your brain chemistry and producing happy hormones, but they are not the cure. Moreover, they are sometimes sufficient to get you to a better place to start therapy. They often need to be coupled with treatment directed by psychiatrists or therapists to produce the best results

Myth 3: Sad situations cause depression

Everyone experiences sad thoughts or unhappiness sometimes. In day-to-day conversations, we even use “Depression” and “Sadness” interchangeably. The death or separation from a loved one may cause severe distress. Such events increase your susceptibility to depression. Notwithstanding this, a traumatic incident may not trigger depression.

Depression can induce sadness and fatigue, and in extreme cases, suicidal tendencies. You may also experience suicidal proclivities that can last for sustained periods. They may arise in a sudden, inexplicable way, even when things seem to be going well.

Myth 4: Depression is voluntary and curable by optimism

No one chooses to feel depressed. Yet, popular misbelief is that the sufferer chose it by allowing themselves to drown in sadness, leading one to believe that depression can be cured simply by positive thinking. 

However, while buoyancy and hope are salient, depression is a deep medical condition wherein mental functions are negatively affected by environmental and biological factors. Thus, competent guidance is necessary to cure depression.

Myth 5: Sporadic sadness is the same as depression

We hear people claiming that they are depressed every day, either because their favourite TV show got cancelled or because they have exams coming up all the time. More often than not, the same people claim to be “in depression.” 

Such behaviour tends to obscure people who experience clinical depression and is also a very insensitive sentiment. Sporadic sadness is generally resolved on its own and has a much shorter tenure than depression.

People who are sad only embody feelings of sadness. On the other hand, people with depression tend to experience several emotions, including anxiety and desolation. Hence, sadness and depression are not synonymous.

Myth 6: Depression is hereditary

While there are some compelling studies linking depression to genetics, research is still underway. It would be wrong to assume that if your family members have depression, so will you. Nevertheless, one should be aware of their family history.

However, focus on the factors you can control rather than those you cannot, for example, drug addiction.   

Myth 7: Antidepressants change your character

While it might be daunting knowing that antidepressants alter your brain chemistry, you should remember that they only signal your brain to restore the balance of neurotransmitters (hormones like serotonin and dopamine) which determine moods and emotions.

Nonetheless, if taking these medications make you uncomfortable, contact your doctor.

Myth 8: Frequent crying causes depression

It is supposed that people who cry have depression and that people who have depression cry. While this may be true in some cases, it is not necessary for everybody. 

There are numerous stereotypes associated with depression: laziness, weakness, and self-harm. These are highly stigmatizing beliefs that we should work on debunking. 

In the words of C.S. Lewis, “Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also harder to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.” 

Written By: Rushil Patel and Shreya Jain


Chinmayee · 23 July 2021 at 5:37 pm

This is such a great and informative piece! ?❤️✨

Pri · 23 July 2021 at 5:54 pm

It’s so important to bust these myths! Good job✨

Breaking the shackles: Tahira Kashyap | BEYOND MEDS · 19 November 2021 at 9:16 pm

[…] at the time. According to her, had she gone to a doctor, she would have been declared clinically depressed. But, she chose to cry every night as she was afraid of looking like a loser in front of her […]

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