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A Pervasive Misconception About Depression Diagnosis

woman depressed

The way depression is often diagnosed makes it difficult for people to understand what they're feeling and what's causing it.

For example, when a person feels down or moody, it's said that their low mood is caused by depression.

But this isn't the reality.

A depression diagnosis is like a headache.

When you have a headache, you feel pain in your head. Now, can we say that the headache is causing the pain?

No, that wouldn't be technically accurate. The pain you feel is the headache itself, which is caused by an underlying condition. That condition is where our focus must lie if we are to tackle our situation.

In the same vein, depression manifests as low mood, not that it causes low mood. Low mood is only a symptom of depression.

It's a misconception.

And this is a problem because the idea that depression causes these symptoms is promulgated by many global organizations. It's a form of circular reason where the mental disorder is described as the cause of the symptoms the patient experiences. The accurate thing is to present the disorder as the sum total or description of the symptoms, not the cause.

This misconception can make it difficult for patients to understand their mental distress.

"People seem to have a tendency to think that a diagnosis is an explanation even when it is not. It is important for professionals not to reinforce this misconception with their communication, and instead help people to understand their condition," says Professor and Neuropsychologist Jussi Valtonen from the University of the Arts Helsinki.

Read the full research here.

Need help?

Perhaps you've been battling with the symptoms of depression for a long time, but you have done nothing about it because of this misconception. You barely know the extent of the disorder as you consider it merely as the cause of how you feel.

Well, it goes beyond that. Depression is pervasive, and it may be caused by something deeper which you haven't been able to address due to your limited understanding.

We'd like to help you.

Through cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, and other strategies, we can help demystify your depression and find a lasting solution tailored just for you.

Speak with us today.

Author
Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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