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  1. #1
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Default Is depression a benefit in disguise?

    Depression's Evolutionary Roots
    Two scientists suggest that depression is not a malfunction, but a mental adaptation that brings certain cognitive advantages


    Depression seems to pose an evolutionary paradox. Research in the US and other countries estimates that between 30 to 50 percent of people have met current psychiatric diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder sometime in their lives. But the brain plays crucial roles in promoting survival and reproduction, so the pressures of evolution should have left our brains resistant to such high rates of malfunction. Mental disorders should generally be rare — why isn’t depression?

    In an article recently published in Psychological Review, we argue that depression is in fact an adaptation, a state of mind which brings real costs, but also brings real benefits.

    One reason to suspect that depression is an adaptation, not a malfunction, comes from research into a molecule in the brain known as the 5HT1A receptor. The 5HT1A receptor binds to serotonin, another brain molecule that is highly implicated in depression and is the target of most current antidepressant medications. Rodents lacking this receptor show fewer depressive symptoms in response to stress, which suggests that it is somehow involved in promoting depression. (Pharmaceutical companies, in fact, are designing the next generation of antidepressant medications to target this receptor.) When scientists have compared the composition of the functional part rat 5HT1A receptor to that of humans, it is 99 percent similar, which suggests that it is so important that natural selection has preserved it. The ability to “turn on” depression would seem to be important, then, not an accident.

    This is not to say that depression is not a problem. Depressed people often have trouble performing everyday activities, they can’t concentrate on their work, they tend to socially isolate themselves, they are lethargic, and they often lose the ability to take pleasure from such activities such as eating and sex. Some can plunge into severe, lengthy, and even life-threatening bouts of depression.

    So what could be so useful about depression? Depressed people often think intensely about their problems. These thoughts are called ruminations; they are persistent and depressed people have difficulty thinking about anything else. Numerous studies have also shown that this thinking style is often highly analytical. They dwell on a complex problem, breaking it down into smaller components, which are considered one at a time.

    Ever since I've known my friend, Becky, she has taken a half dose of antidepressants to get her through her days. For 14 years or so now she has never pursued counseling or tried seriously to change her hectic life in any real way, even though she did try quitting her antidepressants at one point, which didn't last very long. I have watched her struggle and suffer in a typical American mother way; stressed out from work, over-indulging her children, unhappy in her marriage, rewarding herself with unhealthy behaviors; always popping her antidepressant to get her through.

    She isn't the only friend I have who takes a daily pill to take the edge off. It is sad fact that most of the women I have hung out with in the past decade, and called friend, have predominantly either been on antidepressants, or been prescribed them by physicians or therapists.

    My friend is now abusing alcohol at a faster rate than she did previously, and she has taken on other abusive coping mechanisms, such as overeating. She has verbalized a lot lately about "feeling old" and seems a bit ragged. I can't help but wonder if she had just made some necessary life changes or considered some new ways of being in her world and in her family years ago, and avoided a pharmacological approach out of her fear of "depression" or to help with living her anxious life, she would be far healthier today and looking into her midlife with excitement, not apprehension and ill health.

    I am not saying depression should never be treated. But by assuming it is a disease that needs to be cured, and by turning to pills to do so, we are ensuring the viscious cycle be perpetuated.


    What do you think? What are your feelings about functioning people being put on 'low dose' antidepressants?
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  2. #2
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    Yes to the thread question..
    I don't really want to get on the subject of Anti depressants and what I think about them.. I will just say there is more going on there than meets the eye and I will leave it.

    But back the question.. Yes I believe short term depression is of incredible benefit. It tells you something isn't right and stimulates change and growth.

    Long term depression is not beneficial and is indicative of serious self esteem issues and these people need serious support and help.. But not with chemicals. Paitence,understanding and a gentle approach with genuine sympathy will do more to help than chemically messing with someones brain and body.

  3. #3
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Meh. Not this again.

    I didn't read the whole article but this:

    The 5HT1A receptor binds to serotonin, another brain molecule that is highly implicated in depression and is the target of most current antidepressant medications. Rodents lacking this receptor show fewer depressive symptoms in response to stress, which suggests that it is somehow involved in promoting depression. When scientists have compared the composition of the functional part rat 5HT1A receptor to that of humans, it is 99 percent similar, which suggests that it is so important that natural selection has preserved it. The ability to “turn on” depression would seem to be important, then, not an accident.
    is piss-poor logic.

    I bet those lab rats do a lot of ruminating. They probably wrote the article.
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    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  4. #4
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    Depression is often a sign that something is wrong. I think lots of people are depressed because they eat like shit, don't exercise, don't get outside enough, are exposed to too much stress, and environmental factors like urban blight and pollution. People are also too pressured now to be "special" and feel like they've failed if they're average, not to mention how isolated people are from one another compared to the past.

  5. #5
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    ^Is it more logical to think that 30-50% of humans have a major disease of the mind that warrants pharmacological treatment?
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    Do not resist an evil person, but to him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer also the other. ~Matthew 5:39

    songofmary.wordpress.com


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    ^Is it more logical to think that 30-50% of humans have a major disease of the mind that warrants pharmacological treatment?
    I didn't say anything to suggest that, so I assume you meant Morgan le Fay.

  7. #7
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    yes.
    Ni/Ti/Fe/Si
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    ~Torah observant, Christ inspired~
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    The more one loves God, the more it is that having nothing in the world means everything, and the less one loves God, the more it is that having everything in the world means nothing.

    Do not resist an evil person, but to him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer also the other. ~Matthew 5:39

    songofmary.wordpress.com


  8. #8
    Senior Member Yloh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arclight View Post
    Yes to the thread question..
    I don't really want to get on the subject of Anti depressants and what I think about them.. I will just say there is more going on there than meets the eye and I will leave it.

    But back the question.. Yes I believe short term depression is of incredible benefit. It tells you something isn't right and stimulates change and growth.

    Long term depression is not beneficial and is indicative of serious self esteem issues and these people need serious support and help.. But not with chemicals. Paitence,understanding and a gentle approach with genuine sympathy will do more to help than chemically messing with someones brain and body.
    I agree.

    It is never good to be depressed, but becoming depressed tells you that you need change. Problem is most people don't know how and/or won't confront what is causing them to become depressed. Instead they turn to the quick solution of pills to help them out. There are more complicated cases where a pill might be needed, but too many people take the easy way out IMO.

  9. #9
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    ^Is it more logical to think that 30-50% of humans have a major disease of the mind that warrants pharmacological treatment?
    Dis-ease. Says it all.
    To say something must be beneficial because it is common is ungood.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  10. #10
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I think it's beneficial like pain. Pain tells us something is wrong so that we try to remove ourselves from whatever is causing the damage. Anti-depressants can be like a person keeping their hand on a hot stove and popping OxyContin because of the pain. Sometimes, though, a person's pain perception can get messed up or the pain is not something that can be removed, so that is what pain medicine is for, and antidepressants are for the emotional equivalent of that, IMO. And also for for temporary situations in while waiting to be fixed in extreme cases like major emotional trauma.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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