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Depression better understood, but myths persist

(NC)—In recent decades, the understanding of depression has evolved and the illness is now recognized as a serious but treatable medical condition. Yet despite these advances, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), many misconceptions still persist. Among them are:

Myth: People with depression are responsible for creating their illness.

Fact: Depression is a medical illness with a biological basis. People with this condition are not to blame for their illness.

Myth: Even if depression is an illness, not much can be done about it.

Fact: Depression is a serious, but treatable disorder. It can be managed in a variety of ways with the support of healthcare professionals. Treatment options include psychotherapy and antidepressant medications, which can help restore an individual's ability to function in all settings of everyday life.

Phil Upshall, National Executive Director of the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, says depression continues to be a stigmatized illness. “Sadly, these misconceptions may prevent people with depression from seeking the help they need,” says Upshall. “There are many resources available to help people manage their depression, like healthcare professionals, support groups, and newer medications that are effective and have fewer side-effects. As a society, we need to create an environment where it is acceptable to ask for help.”

Promising strides have been made in the area of depression management, but more needs to be done to ensure people living with depression are given the resources they need to regain their lives and reengage with their jobs, families, and friends.

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