Depression as a Legitimate and Very Serious Illness

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Depression is a terrible and destructive illness that changes the lives of people all around the world. Despite this, its validity affects those in our communities with the mental health mark of shame that continues to exist.

Past and current researches prove that depression is biologically, environmentally and physically influenced. The facts presented within supports only one possible result, namely, that depression is, in fact, an illness and is not an individual’s choice. The misdiagnosis and lack of proper, known, effective treatment can negatively mental and physical health. With known, effective treatments for depression as well as current, on-going research, the effects on a person's life because of careless and dangerous misclassification are huge and honestly, unacceptable. Therefore, understanding with accuracy the cause of depression is important for everyone and extremely important for both current and future physicians.

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A serious worldwide illness, depression does not discriminate. According to the World Health Organization “there are more than 350 million people, of all ages suffering from depression worldwide The activities and responsibilities of everyday life are mostly a huge challenge for those affected by this disease. It is both unreasonable and impractical, in many cases, to add more stress, such as a family, a career, or school to the equation of a disease which is the “leading cause of disability worldwide. The inability to function and be a productive member of the community often only reinforces the depression, which leads to worsening feelings and often suicide. Suicides, often depression related causes “close to 800,000 people to die each year. Depression is deadly, however, with targeted intervention, correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment, it doesn’t need to be that way.

In their groundbreaking 2004 paper, Syzf and Meaney present their research which shows how the environment influences an individual’s genetic profile. As suggested by McCoy, Jackson, Day and Clinton, "Powerlessness to psychological instability relating with a few variables incorporating natural contrasts in disposition and failure to adapt to pressure, forming through a mix of hereditary and ecological impacts".

Adult rate brain studies, performed by McCoy et al. (2017), examined the effect of molecular and genetic changes upon individual personality. After breeding for both low response to novelty (having a high baseline for depression and anxiety) as well as for high response to novelty, results showed that rats with a low response to novelty showed decreased brain levels of DNA methylation. Therefore, when DNA methylation happens on gens that control toughness and stress tolerance, the person is at a higher risk of depression. Even having known pharmaceuticals, honest to goodness mind deterrents are a key reason that this infection is a "critical supporter of the general significant load of disease". Both social pressure and stigma, financial constraints and limited trained health care providers are significant challenges to a person’s state of mind when deciding to look at treatment as well as the investment into research for both a cure and better treatment. “Stigma insinuates itself into policy decisions, access to care, health insurance, employment discrimination, and in research allocations and priorities”. Compounding this issue, is that “the self-stigmatism of those suffering from mental illness. As a result, “fewer than half who suffer from depression receive the necessary care needed”. Additionally, aftereffects of grown-up rodent ponders demonstrated that when the rats with a low reaction to novelty treated with dietary methyl, which expelled the methylation from their qualities, their depressive side effects enhanced. Nonetheless, both current and future research on the interaction of environmental and genes via DNA methylation and epigenetic mechanisms “promise unprecedented advances in our understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses”.

In her own biography of despondency, creator and ensured thinking related conduct specialist A.B. Curtiss, firmly communicates that, "there is no hereditary related reason for despondency" (2001). Curtiss contends that although people can't control getting dejection, wretchedness isn't a consequence of concoction awkwardness in the cerebrum, at the same time, a trap of the brain and ascribes the reason to be a characteristic piece of agony, controlled through individual determination and constructive reasoning as a ground-breaking instrument. It is difficult to concur with her logically imperfect state of mind of dejection medications. For a long time now, actuality-based research appears, obviously, misery causing both hereditary and atomic hereditary and atomic contrasts in the cerebrum. The cases made by this creator are for the most part uncalled for considering and need logical investigation.

The following quotes the first taken from Curtiss’ 2001 story, “Depression is a Choice: Winning the Fight Without Drugs”, and the second from a reviewer response written by Christian Perring, an APPA Counselor and Psychology Professor are extremely important to our understanding of her general point of view regarding the cause of depression:

“Our great grandparents used willpower instead of Prozac or Zoloft. They valued the sense of right and wrong, commitment, courage, dedication, hard work, honesty, responsibility and sacrifice, practicing bearing suffering. These existing ideas taught for thousands of years to children who naturally carried them to adulthood. People trusted their lives to them, in the 1960’s we threw them away. No one had to believe in choice. Choice is not an idea, it is a reality. No one had to believe in the moon. The moon is not an idea, it too is a reality. Choice like the moon is always there. Your decision not to look at it, may deny the moon, but, you cannot deny its existence is real. Willpower is the choice of long term over short time gains. Finally, I do not believe depression is a sickness, although I do believe it to be painful. I believe depression to be a protective process although subconsciously, improperly managed.

In response to Curtiss, Perring (2001) states:

Curtiss seems to be saying that proof of her ideas is not necessary by her statement that “Choice is not an idea, but, a reality”. It may be true that many of her readers do not require scientific proof of the usefulness of “Directive Thinking” or the role choice has in lifting depression …When physicians, philosophers and researchers make claims about the nature of depression, they need to argue their case, clearly and sensibly for readers to take them seriously. Sometimes, it may be enough to say “look for yourself, and you will see, I am right” but, when it comes to depression, there is a great deal of evidence that people have already seen for themselves, trying to end their depression through their own acts of willpower, found that choice, by and of itself, was not enough.

Overlooking the existing evidence-based research during the period in which A.B. Curtiss wrote and published her memoir proves her clear lack of insight into the subject despite her credentials. While medicine may not be necessary in every case, depression is an illness and science has proven that.

Depression is a legitimate and very serious illness. Due in large part to societal social norms, which are strong driving forces of behavior, it has become a significant, worldwide public health crisis. Addressing the way feeling impacts thoughts, attitudes, and behavior is essential to reducing the role stigma plays in an individual's decision to seek mental health treatment. Depression is a community issue and “not simply a matter for health experts”. Former United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, believes that everybody can “act to relieve the stigma around depression and other mental disorders by admitting that we may have experienced depression ourselves, or by reaching out to those experiencing it now”.

Despite the existence of known, effective treatments, depression related suicide rates are still high, and the global burden of depression is rapidly increasing. Therefore, it is imperative that each one of us join the conversation about the reality of depression and other mental illnesses. When the rhetoric changes, the stigma of mental illness can end. Without stigma comes acceptance and opportunity, which is exactly what those suffering from the illness of depression need and deserve.

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