There have been recent studies that show positive information for people classified with a clinical form of depression. That comes at a time when research that has been performed worldwide has estimated that 30 to 50 percent of the population should be diagnosed with a major depressive disorder. Those of us that have been diagnosed with depression, and those that suffer undiagnosed, are about to look at depression in a whole new light.
Depression is the reason many ask the questions, “Why me? What triggers it?, Is there a physical cause?, How can I fix it?”. I know it would be easier to explain depression as an aging disease, but because people of different age groups are affected, it is not age specific. Depression could be described as a demographic or even cultural disease, here again, global effect, so not a reasonable explanation.
Depression is one of the most fought battles of the human mind, but what if we looked at it in a different light. Imagine if we were to look at depression as a form of evolution. Think of it as a way the mind adapts to help us, not as a malfunction that just hurts us. Over the course of time, our bodies and brains have developed to help humanity through changes in climate, our living environment, even during the rule of different people and governments.
We have receptors in our brain that allow us to feel pleasure and pain. These help us in all our senses, taste, touch, smell and sound. We have receptors that are affected by drugs and alcohol. The antidepressants target such a receptor; it even has a name, 5HT1A. Scientists have studied many test subjects to see if all of us have it, some of us do not.
Those of us lucky or unlucky enough to have this receptor and suffer from depression have trouble performing everyday activities. Social activities and work become problematic. We become isolated, immobile even. We lose our sense of pleasure.
Now for the positive. “What could be positive about depression?”, You might ask. The intensive thought is one of the side effects of depression. They are often called, ruminations; where you can not think of anything else. This is also considered to be a highly analytical thought process, a way of thinking things out, breaking those thoughts down into smaller problems, seeing them one at a time.
Like when you have to take a test. That in itself can cause a depression spell. Research shows that subjects who get more depressed while working on a complex problem tend to score higher than average. In order for us to analyze a problem, we need uninterrupted thought. Depression will make your body do what is necessary to make that happen. It does this through a part of the brain called the VLPFC, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. That area can become overworked because it is continuously working. When this happens, the receptor called 5HT1A supplies nutrients that protect it from long-term damage.
It can be argued that a depressed person should be able to handle social situations and work better, that they could find pleasure more easily. It could also be argued that the doctors have it all wrong, that depression could be the minds way of solving a fear of social situations, work problems, or even pleasure issues. Even eating disorders could be explained in people with depression. This is all just one form of distraction or another that keeps the mind from problem-solving.
There are doctors that feel that when people suffering from depression write about their problems, they might gain insight to what problem they are trying to solve. Depressed people have been tested in laboratory experiments, and these tests prove, depressed people, solve issues by looking at the cost, over the reward.
One of the biggest mistakes depressed people make is a fear of appearing weak by allowing people knowledge of what embarrassing, or sensitive, or painful reason they suffer from depression. They feel that they’re supposed to go it alone, it may cause more difficulty for them if they were to try to put it into words.
Depression is not something we should try to fix with medication. Therapists should be trained how to guide depressed people through their bouts of rumination; it might help all of us understand, identify, and even break down these problems that are causing depression. Most people today are under the impression that their depression is causing their brain to malfunction, to run wild, instead think of depression as a way to control a very intricate, highly organized supercomputer designed for helping the human species function.