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8- Mental illnesses and behaviors commonly mistaken for depression

by Dr Prem Community Writer
Mental illnesses and behaviors commonly mistaken for depression

It has finally come to the point where people have started realizing that the mental health is as important as the physical health. Depression now is now regarded as a genuine issue and a mental condition which is serious and not just some idle man’s make believe disease. While it is praiseworthy and commendable as to how the world has strongly reacted to the issue of depression, the cause of concern is that it is often misdiagnosed as well.

To be labeled depressed a person needs to be showing certain characteristics, but the mere display of these characteristics does not imply that the person has mental health issues. So in this article we will be telling you about some mental conditions and behaviors that are often mistaken for depression.

 Some conditions that are commonly mistaken for depression

  1. Isolation:

    IsolationIt is true that when a person is in a state of depression he likes the idea of being isolated and keeping to himself. That however does not imply that a person may not like the idea of keeping to himself. In fact there are many people who do not like mingling with others as much as the rest of the population. They are introverts or simply people who can stay happy with themselves. This is a perfectly normal mental state and is a cause for no worry unless it is backed up by some other mental health issues. Isolation can be a simple personality trait and it is important that we understand the difference.

  2. Irritability:

    This is one of the important characteristics of an individual that are mistaken for depression. Not everybody has the same levels of patience and individuals can snap easier than others. That however does not mean that just because one is a bit too irritable he is depressed. It may be a case of the kind of person he is by nature and may have nothing to do with his mental health conditions. However, if you see a person suddenly become irritable and the change has no direct reason then it can potentially be related to depression. Take up for diagnosis is such situations but avoid misdiagnosis.

  3. Serious behavior or maturity:

    depressedAmong the many conditions that resemble depression a mature individual is often a soft target. People are often more mature for their age. You would always come across people who are a bit pessimistic in nature or those who are too practical. They seem to be perturbed by nothing and it leads to a commonly misdiagnosed depression These people are often simply more aware individuals or the ones with a bit more experience which leads to their behavioral characteristics. Look and observe carefully and remember that you need more reasons than just this to tag someone as depressed.

  4. Substance abuse:

    If all drug addicts were to be treated as depressed individuals it would never even be a criminal case. These kinds of addictions are mostly just stemmed from the dependence on these substances and unregulated and unchecked usage. There are people for whom alcohol addiction is a part of their lives and they cannot live without them. While they may not be depressed, they are most definitely in need of clinical help to get out of their addictions. It is in no way less threatening a case than depression.

  5. Lack of motivation:
    Lack of motivation

    Not all individuals are the same amount of ambitious. This is just a normal incidence and may have nothing to do with depression at all. It is still mistaken for depression as people tend to assume than one has a lack of motivation because he or she is depressed. It can simply be because you do not know what to do with your life yet. It can also be that the individual is too laid back. Whatever be the case this can never be attributed to depression just as an individual characteristic.

  6. Interest in death and sorrow:

    Many people are interested in the darker aspects of life such as death. Sorrow for them is a reality and while you can term them pessimistic you cannot say they are depressed. Although mistaken for depression it might actually be a simple case where the individual has seen a lot of troubled times and deaths in his life. People often take interest in these things due to our lack of knowledge regarding these. Do not jump to conclusions and instead take your time to observe.

  7. Not easily amused:

    Not easily amusedThe people who do not laugh as easily as you would like them to are often mistaken for depression. People never consider the fact that maybe their joke was not funny enough of if it takes a lot more to tickle the funny bone of the particular individual. Also if a person is very serious about something or just upset he/she may not find things as funny as you would want them to. Remember that a momentary grief is not depression and neither is being goal oriented. So it is fine if someone is not the easiest to amuse and it does not mean he is depressed.

  8. Emotional or reactive behaviors:

    This is another common instance where individuals who tend to display emotional or reactive behaviors are termed as being depressed. The problem begins from the lack of understanding of the simple fact that every individual is different. What is the right amount of display of emotions for you may not be the exact same for another. So any instance of such behaviors must not be prematurely termed as depression and further matching conditions must be awaited.

Final words

For the best treatment of depression it is important that the diagnosis is on point. So you must know about these conditions that resemble depression but are not actually depression. We hope that the knowledge of the commonly misdiagnosed symptoms will help you to differentiate between the two be it for yourself or for your loved one. Do pay as much attention to your mental well being as you do to your physical health.

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