A new trending topic has been going around on Twitter since yesterday. With #MyDepressionLooksLike twits, users from all over the world are describing what is like to be depressed. The hashtag went viral and got the attention of everyone including mental disorder specialists. According to them, the lack of knowledge is the number one reason for depressed people to be stigmatized, and because of this, people suffering from serious mental disorders hide their problem until it’s too late.

Depression is a very common mental disorder. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there are at least 14.8 million adults diagnosed with Persistent Depressive Disorder, also known as Dysthymia. It can affect anyone at any age, but it is more likely to happen during the adulthood. Specialists think that a combination of biological, environmental and psychological aspects trigger the condition. People who suffer from it are affected both emotionally and physically, but most of the times they can do nothing about it by themselves.

#MyDepressionLooksLike trending topic
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. Credit: Mic.com

Most people think that depression makes you slower and sad looking, but there is much more to it. According to specialists, irritability is one of the most common symptoms and there are also a lot of physical indicators, such as loss of appetite, loss of sleep, fatigue and weight changes, among others. The problem is that people think this kind of things are normal, and if a person does not talk about suicide or has extreme behaviors, they will usually tell a potentially depressed person to knock it off and move on.

Mary Alvor, a psychologist and the director of the psychotherapy practice Alvor, Baker & Associates, said that social media could be the correct platform to teach people about depression because nowadays, people spend a lot of time consuming its content. It sounds like a great idea, but according to an article published by Forbes, social media also kills our attention span. In other words, we see an “interesting” post, we share it, comment on it, and then completely forget almost everything about it.

In spite of this, users are taking advantage of 140 characters tweets to try and describe what they feel. This is an important step because they usually cannot fight it alone, and an early detection dramatically increases  the effectiveness of treatment. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, even severe depression can be treated with medication and psychotherapy, or a combination of both. If for example, specialists join forces with social media companies, they could find a way to detect possible cases of depression, and potentially help them.

Source: NY Mag