Myths and Facts About Depression- Dr. Aarti Midha
HOW DEPRESSED PATIENTS FEEL ABOUT GOING TO A PSYCHIATRIST.
One of my patients asked me to change my designation as stress and wellness specialist rather than a psychiatrist. It really surprised me. She was in depression for last 3-4 months and was facing lots of stress at the workplace due to mental disabilities caused by depression. Three years ago her mother also tried to commit suicide because of depression. Despite knowing all facts about depression, she was feeling awkward going to a psychiatrist because of so called stigma attached to it. She did not take appropriate steps to solve the problem by consulting the Psychologist or Psychiatrist. Finally she was not able to continue her job and faced many psychosocial consequences. Being a mental health professional,we are observing their problems daily. We observe people wasting their productive years due to repeated episodes of depression. Because of that, I want to share some myths and facts related to depression and other psychiatric illnesses.
MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT DEPRESSION:
1.MYTH- Depression occurs because of psychological weaknesses of an individual.
FACT- Cause of Depression is not purely psychological, it is Bio-psycho-social.
a). Biological -Biological changes in brain chemistry-
i) Change in serotonin, norepinephrine like neurotransmitters.
ii) Genetics – family history of Depression.
b) Psychological – This is related to the individual’s psychic structures that is his/her personality traits and coping strategies. c). Social – This is related to individual’s circumstances and social support system.
2. MYTH – Depression can be treated well with physical exercise only.
FACT- Physical exercise improves mood and self esteem of the individual, but can not treat brain chemistry completely. So complete remission requires pharmacotherapy, counselling as well as lifestyle modification.
3. MYTH – Alchohol can treat my depression.
FACT – People start taking Alcohol to feel euphoric.Alcohol elevates your mood only transiently , rather it precipitates Alcohol induced depression. So it deteriorates depression, and it also causes alcohol induced liver disease.
4. MYTH- Depression is sadness only and it happens because of circumstances.
FACT- Depression and sadness are two different psychological states. Depression (Abnormal psychological state) Duration – > 2 weeks Symptoms of Depression- Sadness, loss of interest, fatigue decreased appetite, disturbed sleep and experiencing problems in routine work. Treatment – Needs Consultation from a Psychiatrist. Sadness (Normal Psychological State) Transient< 2 week Sadness is emotional reactivity to external or internal stressor that resolves itself. Treatment-Stress Management Strategies
5. MYTH -Depression is uncommon.
FACT -As per world health organisation, 300 million patients are suffering from depression worldwide. The World mental healthy survey conducted in 17 countries found that on an average about 1 out of 20 people report having an episode of Depression previous year.
6. MYTH – Medical tests like CT brain / MRI brain should be done for depression.
FACT – Changes in brain chemistry is not picked by CT brain or MRI like investigations. Diagnosis of Depression requires clinical assessment and psychological assessment.
7. MYTH – One should take medicine for depression for a short duration only. Anti -depressants are harmful.
FACT- Treatment of depression is done in two phases. First 2-3 months of treatment is for symptom remission then maintenance phase of treatment is given for relapse prevention.If maintenance phase of treatment is not given to patient, he/she may have more episodes of depression in future.
Dr AARTI MIDHA
PSYCHIATRIST AND DE-ADDICTION SPECIALIST
Comments are closed