Unfortunately, though a lot of progress has been made in the way that people think about depression, misconceptions remain—one of which is the notion that it isn't a "real" disease. In fact, depression is a true medical illness. It is not due to laziness or moral weakness and it isn't simply a fleeting "down in the dumps" feeling. Medical research has proven that chemical changes in the brain occur when someone is depressed and that some people are genetically predisposed to becoming depressed, even without a specific negative event to trigger it.

Depression is also painful and frustrating for the loved ones of a depressed person. They may feel helpless and unsure of what to do. Explain that you are not able to "snap out of" your depression any more than someone with diabetes or cancer can. No one chooses to be depressed. Some people may recover without treatment, but this can take months or even years. Most people require treatment with psychotherapy, medication, or both in order to beat depression. If you are depressed, it is crucial to seek help and not try to will yourself out of it, no matter what other people believe.

Publication Review By: Karen L. Swartz, M.D.

Published: 18 Apr 2011

Last Modified: 06 Oct 2011