Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just Had to Share- Source:

This blogger is so well spoken in comparisson to myself. His blog has a similar message...getting rid of the stima that exsists for those with mental illnesses.

Five Common Myths About Depression

August 2, 2010 by thegallowspole

1) Myth: Depression is brought on by some event or occurrence. It’s the most common misconception about depression. Even those of us who suffer from depression make this mistake. It feels so completely irrational to experience so much pain and anguish for no apparent reason the mind naturally tries to link the experience with something external; a nasty boss, money concerns, etc. This misconception is most insidious because it serves as a ready excuse to do two disastrous things: a) deny that there is an underlying medical problem, and b) seek to fix the perceived phantom sources of depression rather than seek treatment. To deal honestly with depression, you have to decouple the illness from external causes and treat it like what it really is: a medical condition.

2) Myth: Everyone gets depressed from time to time. Everyone experiences grief and sadness. Everyone suffers. Everyone has bad days. Not everyone suffers from depression. It may make sense on the surface to group depression together with other kinds of mental pain, but peel back one layer and you’ll find depression is a whole separate matter. Even with the limited understanding modern science has of the underlying causes of depression inside the brain, they can see fundamental differences between a grieving brain and a depressed one.

3) Myth: Depression can be cured. If wishing made it so….. No, unfortunately, science is still barely learning to crawl with complex brain disorders like depression. Depression can be treated reasonably effectively, but its underlying medical causes are still only theorized, so the word “cure” is not yet in the vocabulary of those researching this illness. While it might seem humane and compassionate to talk optimistically about curing depression, it does no favors to those suffering from it to lie about the prospects for a cure, no matter how well-intentioned that lie may be. The complexity of the brain simply precludes any easy answers with depression. The watchword here is “treatment,” not “cure.”

4) Myth: Depression is a character flaw. If depression is a character flaw, then so are all other diseases, like cancer or diabetes. The overwhelming medical evidence conclusively demonstrates that depression is a serious medical condition requiring treatment. It is unacceptable, even legally impermissible, to view depression as anything other than a medical condition. Consider that before the causes of many medical conditions were understood (like leprosy and, more recently, AIDS) it was common to view those suffering from these illnesses as somehow inferior or blameworthy for their condition. Such attitudes have caused untold suffering for millions already beset by disease or disorder. To perpetuate such attitudes in an age where information is so readily available is to place a drag weight on human progress. Depression is a serious medical illness. Not recognizing that fact — now that may well be a character flaw.

5) Myth: Depression is a “fad” illness fostered by pharmaceutical companies and New-Age psycho-babble. In purely logical terms, this is a fallacious argument. Simply because a genuine illness is wreathed with opportunists and profiteers does not make that illness somehow less legitimate. It stands to reason that any illness with subjective diagnostic criteria will yield false positives. Likewise, injecting profit motive into the same environment will surely lead to over-prescription of medication. Numerous books and articles have noted as much and served to make Prozac a punchline for countless jokes about the supposed lack of resiliency in modern society. But, beyond the sheer stupidity of painting an entire population with one brush simply to serve some social statement about modern civilization, it’s worth noting that it’s also bad science. Questionable motives by a few patients or drug companies shouldn’t serve to undermine the reality of depression, anymore than the over-prescription of antibiotics in Africa should call into doubt the existence of Malaria. Again, doubts about the legitimacy of depression, whether guided by some insipid social agenda or rank ignorance, speak far worse about the doubters of depression than those suffering from it.

The above are myths because they are perpetuated despite empirical evidence to the contrary. Disputing them in the face of genuine medical information bespeaks either a profound ignorance or a virulent social prejudice. Make no mistake: an inability to accept that the above listed (and too widely held) beliefs are in fact myths should not be tolerated. When the history of mental illness in the early part of the 21st Century is written, it will take a dim view of those unwilling or incapable of dealing with the harsh realities of mental illness. Medical practitioners who used leeches in the infancy of medical science were merely operating at the limits of their field’s knowledge base. Dealing with depression in an analagous manner now carries no such caveats. In the Age of Information, there are simply no excuses for remaining ignorant.

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