There is an argument that many people agree with, which is that depression is not a legitimate illness. This argument proposes that depression is exaggerated sadness and those who say that they have the disorder are attention-seeking. In addition, proponents for a similar argument say that although the symptoms of depression are real, depression itself is not an illness.
For many, it is difficult to distinguish between those who are exaggerating emotions for the purpose of gaining sympathy and attention from those who are genuinely suffering from chronic negative emotions, which is depression. Therefore, it is a common misconception to believe that those who are chronically depressed are actually just looking for attention.
The idea that depression is not an actual illness is entirely invalid. There is an ample amount of scientific evidence proving that the brain imaging of a person with depression looks different than a person without depression. There is a neurological factor that contributes to depression that cannot be “faked.” Therefore, it is not true that depression is just people exaggerating and seeking attention. However, people with depression have a physical chemical imbalance that impacts their mood. It is true that there are people who exaggerate their emotions for the purpose of gathering sympathy and attention from others. This type of person does not necessarily have depression. Depression is a legitimate mental illness that affects many people of all ages, races, and genders.
Many people suffering from depression are discredited in a variety of ways. People do not understand how they feel. People disrespect the idea of the disease. Therefore, many sufferers refuse to acknowledge their illness or seek treatment. This negative perspective can lead to a worsening of the illness. With aid from this mindset, many negative stigmas about mental illness, specifically depression, have developed. These negative stigmas imply that it is not acceptable to have a mental illness. According to them, people with mental illnesses are “crazy” or “insane.” The negative thoughts surrounding depression and other mental illnesses lead to people not seeking treatment out of fear of being judged. In turn, the symptoms of mental illness may get worse. Therefore, negative stigmas regarding depression lead to a worsening of overall symptoms of the illness.
A common worry that many people suffering from depression have is that people are not going to believe them. Unfortunately, there is a stigma in place that many believe to be accurate, which is that depression is not a real illness. However, depression is a disease that can be proven through brain imaging neurologically. Depressed people are not looking for attention. Depression needs to recognized for what it is, a legitimate disorder.
In conclusion, it is common in our society to discredit those individuals suffering from depression, while also discrediting the illness itself as a whole. However, this belief is inaccurate. There are major differences between a person that exaggerates in an attempt to gather sympathy and a person that has depression. Depression is caused by a combination of environmental factors and chemical imbalances. The chronic negative emotions and feelings of worthlessness that a person experiences while dealing with depression are debilitating. The person’s experience is genuine. The illness is just as “real” as cancer or diabetes. In turn, it is important that our society begins to understand and respect those with depression. In order to make progressive steps towards a better society, we must be accepting and understanding of the symptoms surrounding depression, as we are with all other illnesses, regardless of whether or not we experience those symptoms ourselves.
Henriques, Gregg. “Anxiety and Depression Are Symptoms, Not Diseases.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 26 Mar. 2016, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/theory-knowledge/201603/anxiety-and-depression-are-symptoms-not-diseases.