Common Misconceptions- Depression

myths on depression

The field of mental health has come a long way over the last few decades. While work has been done to normalize the existence of mental health disorders, there are still some surprising stigmas and myths surrounding even the most common conditions. Today we’ll talk about one of the most common, Depression.

Did you know there are still stigmatic beliefs surrounding depression such as….

  1. It’s all in your head
  2. It’s just feeling sad, or because of a sad situation
  3. The strong genetic link in depression means if your parents have it, so will you
  4. Antidepressants will always cure it/are the only treatment for depression
  5. Antidepressants change who are you
  6. Once you start antidepressants, you’ll have to stay on them forever
  7. People who are “depressed” are just lazy

All of these statements are myths that are falsifiable by scientific literature. Let’s debunk these common misconceptions:

It’s all in your head

Depression is a complex condition involving physiological markers as well as emotional and physical symptoms. Brain scans have shown neurological differences in the brains of people who deal with depression, and those that do not. The brain is literally changed in those that live with depression, making it by virtue “all in their head”, but not in the slightest how that phrase is intended.

It’s just feeling sad, or because of a sad situation

Major Depressive Disorder extends beyond situational issues, and runs much deeper than occasional sadness. It involves continual, unrelenting feelings of despair, emptiness, apathy, and hopelessness. Everything can be going right in this person’s life, but it doesn’t change the neurochemical and psychological pain they experience.

The strong genetic link in depression means if you parents have it, so will you

There are genetic components, but the hereditary nature of it is not that determinate. While there are steps you can take to decrease your risk of depression, just having an immediate family member with the condition does not mean you will develop it.

Antidepressants will always cure it/are the only treatment for it/will change you/…stay on them forever

Antidepressants are one of the many tools used to combat depression, but they don’t work for everyone. There’s a lot of trial and error finding the right one, but there are other options as well such as lifestyle changes, psychotherapy, and alternative therapies. Depression can ebb and flow and go into remission-like states; just because you start a pharmaceutical therapy doesn’t mean you’ll be on it forever. Many people stop and start antidepressant medications and are able to take it as needed, not just on a continual basis.

People who are “depressed” are just lazy

And finally, the stigma that people who suffer from depression are just lazy is thought from ignorance. Individuals who deal with this battle the desire to have an active role in their own lives, while literally being beat down by their own mind and brain. It is one of the hardest battles to overcome, and those that do it are the opposite of lazy– they’re superheroes.

If you think you are dealing with depression, reach out to someone. Another myth is that talking about it won’t change anything–and it’s wrong. Talking to a trusted source can make all the difference in the world. If you want more information, we talk extensively on this condition specifically here.

Ready to learn more? Give our question banks a try- FREE- using our Free Trial! Or if you’re ready to take the plunge, check out our Question Banks.

Get Ready to Crush the PRITE

PRITE exam

The date range for taking the PRITE is quickly approaching. Each year from September 24th to October 15th, residents around the U.S. sit down for the 8.5 hour exam. This year, the PRITE has 300 questions (access to pdf breakdown of topics with annotations here).

Residents need to know a foundation of Neuroscience and Neurology, Clinical Psychiatry, and Diagnostic Procedures to be ready for this exam. It may be tempting to try studying off old PRITE exams, but we have a whole blog entry on exactly why not to do this (check it out if you’re curious!) Instead, take a peep into some question banks that are made for the sole purpose of helping you reach at least that 70% passing mark (and let’s be real…you’re going to far surpass it!).

Taking the PRITE may not lead to as much anxiety or stress as this is an exam a resident will take 3 or 4 times throughout their medical education career. But even if it’s something you’ve done 1 or 2 or even 3 times before, it’s still important to properly prepare for it. The ease that you pass this exam is a good indicator for how well prepared you are to launch into your medical career after graduation!

Even though the countdown is on, there’s still time to add in a little extra studying. Want some help? My Psych Board is here for you! Check out our PRITE question bank, even just to give the FREE TRIAL a try. If you want more focused help, reach out to talk to someone about our tutoring services. We know you’re going to crush your exam!