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Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, says it is important to understand the facts about depression to dispel myths and misconceptions that can prevent people from seeking help.

“Depression (major depressive disorder) is a serious mental health condition that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), affects more than 264 million people globally,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“Despite its prevalence, there are many myths and misconceptions about depression that can make it difficult for people to understand and seek help.”

Affinity Health explores 10 common myths about depression and provides accurate information to help dispel these misconceptions.

  1. Myth: Depression is Just Sadness

Fact: While sadness is a common symptom of depression, it is not the only one. Depression can also cause feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and emptiness, as well as physical symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, and changes in appetite.

  1. Myth: Depression is a Personal Weakness or Character Flaw

Fact: Depression is a medical condition caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and biological factors. It is not a personal weakness or a reflection of character.

  1. Myth: Depression is a Choice

Fact: People with depression cannot simply choose to be happy or snap out of it. Depression requires treatment and support.

  1. Myth: Depression is not a Serious Illness

Fact: Depression can have significant impacts on a person’s mental and physical health, as well as their relationships and ability to function in daily life.

  1. Myth: Only Weak People Get Depressed

Fact: Depression can affect anyone, regardless of their strength or resilience. In fact, many people who experience depression are highly accomplished and successful.

  1. Myth: Depression is a Normal Part of Ageing

Fact: While depression can occur at any age, it is not a normal part of ageing. Older adults, however, may be at higher risk for depression due to factors like loneliness, financial difficulties, chronic pain, and lack of purpose or meaning.

  1. Myth: Talking About Depression Makes it Worse

Fact: Talking about depression can help people to feel understood and supported and reduce feelings of social isolation and shame.

  1. Myth: Depression is Just Like Sadness, and it Will Pass

Fact: Sadness is a normal emotion everyone experiences during stressful or sombre times. Life events such as losing a loved one, financial troubles, or job loss can trigger sadness. However, sadness often passes with time, but depression persists, affecting daily life.

  1. Myth: Medication is The Only Treatment for Depression

Fact: While medication can be an effective treatment for depression, it is not the only option. Therapy, lifestyle changes, and other types of support can also help manage depression.

  1. Myth: Once Someone is Cured of Depression, they will Never Experience it Again

Fact: Depression is a chronic mental illness that can recur throughout a person’s life. While treatment can help to manage symptoms, it is important for people to continue to prioritise their mental health and seek support as needed.

Need Help?

If you believe you are suffering from depression, talk to your healthcare provider, who can assist with a treatment plan. Alternatively, contact The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) at (011) 234-4837 during office hours or 0800 456 789 (24-hour helpline).


About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health insurance provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to always give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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