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Understanding Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. In 2017, the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that over 17 million Americans have experienced at least one major depressive episode. Despite its prevalence in our society, many myths and misunderstandings still exist about depression. We’re here to debunk a few of them.

Myth: Depression is the same as being sad.

Feeling down and being depressed are two different things. Everyone experiences periods of sadness brought on by loss, life changes, and other factors. However, depressive episodes don’t need a reason to begin and rarely go away on their own.

Those experiencing depression also don’t just feel sad. They can feel anxious, tense, and empty. Dismissing their struggle as a bout of the blues can deny them the help they need and lead to dangerous consequences.

Myth: Everyone experiences depression in the same way.

Depression is often caused by chemical differences in the brain. These differences don’t show up the same in everyone. A person’s brain chemistry, hormones, and experiences can all impact the way depression appears. We see the largest gap based on a person’s biological sex.

Signs of depression in men often appear as:

  • Feeling angry
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Overeating or not wanting to eat at all
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts

Depression in women often appears with the following symptoms:

  • Feeling guilty
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Memory loss
  • Aches, pains, headaches, and cramps
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts

Myth: Depression isn’t a big deal. 

Clinical depression is a serious condition requiring treatment. If you need assistance in managing your depression or are concerned about a loved one, the team at Valley Oaks Health is here to help you manage and overcome this serious disorder.

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