One in 20 adults in India suffer from depression and these statistics are only getting worse. So it is time we begin educating ourselves about mental health and refrain from making statements we don’t full understand. Actor Kangana Ranaut’s latest statement stating that depression is a consequence of drug abuse is not just insensitive but also completely false, so it’s time we get our facts right.
Here are the most common myths around depression, that it is time we bust.
While some people may resort to drug abuse if depression is left untreated, drug abuse by itself cannot cause depression.
Depression is defined as “A health problem resulting from changes in brain structure or function due to environmental and biological factors.” So no, it is not a sign of weakness.
No one chooses to be depressed, in the same way that no one chooses to be physically ill.
A depressive episode can last for weeks, months or even years. Sadness does not last that long.
Depression stems from chemical imbalance and is not a reflection of someone’s mental, emotional or physical strength.
People suffering from depression may or may not have physical symptoms. Depression doesn’t look the same for everyone.
Most people need extensive mental health care to recover from depression. It is an actual illness and doesn’t magically leave out the front door.
Depression can arise suddenly even when everything in life seems to be going well.
Depression does not look the same in everybody. There are different treatments to treat depression, and there is no scientific evidence that you will require medication for life.
Depression does not discriminate. It is caused by chemical imbalance and is not a projection of how ‘strong’ or ‘weak’ someone is.
People with depression aren’t imagining their symptoms, depression is as real as any physical illness – they did not ask for this.
Depression is more than just feeling sad or upset, and does not require a specific event to begin. And while physical, psychological and social factors may trigger one’s mental health, depression isn’t necessarily caused due to them.
Only one-third of people suffering from depression actually get the treatment they need. The stigma makes it hard for depressed people to get help, but that does not make it any less real.
At a time when people with depression are constantly stigmatised by society, talking to your friends and supporting them could make all the difference. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, you can reach out to helplines that will guide you.
You can’t snap out of depression, just the way someone with diabetes can’t just leave their illness behind.
If you, or someone you know, are suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts, or just need someone to talk to, remember that help is just a phone call away. Reach out to the following helplines in India. BMC mental health helpline: 022-24131212 (available 24X7), Vandrevala Foundation: 186-02662345/180-02333330 (24×7) or AASRA: 91-9820466726 (available 24X7)