Major Depressive Disorder I: Myths about students with depression

Myths about Students and Depression

Understanding depression can sometimes be difficult, in part because we
also use this same word to describe short-lasting negative feelings.

Please take a moment to reflect on each statement below to decide whether
it is a myth or the truth.

1. People with depression must deal with their problems and work
through the pain. Using antidepressant medications masks the symptoms, which results in avoiding the problem rather than working it
out.

2. Medication used to treat depression is addictive and could result in
drug abuse.

3. As a result of years of negative experiences, adults can develop depression. Although they can be sad, children have not experienced enough life to become clinically depressed.

4. The best way to tell if someone is depressed is by observing that they
are sad or crying a great deal.

Each of the preceding statements is a “myth.” Whether we realize it or not,
many of us hold false beliefs about depression in students.

Myths Dispelled: 

Myth #1: People with depression must deal with their problems and
work through the pain. Using antidepressant medications
covers up the symptoms, which results in avoiding the
problem rather than working it out.

Fact: Depression is a medical illness requiring appropriate treatment. Antidepressants are not numbing drugs. They do not reduce the person’s ability to deal with problems or concentrate; rather they often make the person more aware of feelings and better able to deal more effectively with them.

Myth #2: Medication used to treat depression is addictive and could
result in drug abuse.

Fact: Antidepressant medications prescribed for children and/or youth with
depression, when taken as directed, have not been shown to be addictive.
Students who respond well to medication and are thus more successful in
school and social situations may be at lower risk for illicit drug misuse.

Myth #3: As a result of years of negative experiences, adults can
develop depression. Although they can be sad, children have
not experienced enough life to get clinically depressed.

Fact: People of any age can have depression. Many children with depression
go undiagnosed. They may be diagnosed and treated for other conditions
such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or conduct
disorder, while depression is not adequately addressed. Rates of depressive
symptoms in children are approximately nine per cent. By adolescence, the
rate increases to over 20 per cent.

Myth #4: The best way to tell if someone is depressed is by observing
that they are sad or crying a great deal.

Fact: Some children and youth who are depressed do have overwhelming
feelings of sadness; however, clinical depression can include symptoms that
do not appear as sadness. For example, inability to concentrate, restlessness,
trouble making decisions, aches and pains, impatience, fatigue and irritability may also be symptoms of depression.

 

source: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/specialed/docs/depression_resource.pdf

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