According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.7 percent of adults 18 years and older suffer from depression. However, despite this large percentage of Americans, there are still many misconceptions surrounding this treatable mental illness. Here are a few of the most common myths surrounding depression in adults.

Depression Is Always Linked to Trauma or a Negative Life Event

Many people mistakenly believe that a traumatic life event, such as a death or even a car accident, can cause someone to become clinically depressed. In reality, depression is a mood disorder that is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. A serious and devastating life event can cause someone who is already diagnosed with depression to struggle more because of their underlying depression. However, a life event cannot cause someone to have clinical depression.

Depressed People Isolate and Cry All the Time

Often depression is portrayed as someone who is constantly isolating themselves from friends and family, crying all the time, or generally stepping away from their everyday life. Although depression can cause people to want to spend more time by themselves or seem more visibly upset at times, there are far more symptoms of depression that people do not realize.

Here are a few of the most common symptoms of clinical depression:

  • Lack of energy
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble concentrating or focusing on everyday tasks
  • Frustration
  • Irritability with everyday tasks and loved ones
  • Anger

Many people with depression will also have trouble sleeping or staying asleep, and crave foods that are not healthy for them, such as sweets or foods that are high in calories or fat.

Antidepression Medication Is the Only Option to Treat Depression

Many people struggling with depression find relief by taking a doctor-prescribed antidepressant. However, this is not the only strategy available and there are instead many ways for people to treat their depression that do not involve medication. For example, some people find talk therapy or group therapy very beneficial to help control their symptoms of depression. There are several other natural ways to help treat the symptoms of depression, including eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising, making sleep a priority, taking regular walks, getting plenty of sunshine, and avoiding drugs and alcohol. However, if your doctor does diagnose antidepressants, make sure to take them as directed and use other natural or clinical methods as a way to supplement the effects of antidepressant medications.

Depression is a serious medical condition that is often misunderstood. Contact your doctor with any more questions you might have about depression.