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  1. #1
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Default Depression may be evolutionary adaptive

    As described by a recent article on scientific american... depression may be the evolutionary approach to serious analytical problem solving?

    Theory... we get depressed because we have a problem we need to sit down and solve. Ruminating over it directs our energy/resources towards this problem. Then once the solution is found, the depression goes away. If this is true... does it point to cognitive therapy being a "better" treatment than antidepressants? That is, resolve the problem rather than covering up the symptoms?

    Depression's Evolutionary Roots: Scientific American
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  2. #2
    triple nerd score poppy's Avatar
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    Interesting article.

    "Many other symptoms of depression make sense in light of the idea that analysis must be uninterrupted. The desire for social isolation, for instance, helps the depressed person avoid situations that would require thinking about other things. Similarly, the inability to derive pleasure from sex or other activities prevents the depressed person from engaging in activities that could distract him or her from the problem."

    Yeah, I could see some of that. It's not a totally wild conclusion to come to, and I liked the suggestion of therapy that focuses on working through the problem via rumination, instead of trying to stop it. I don't know that the approach would work in all situations but it could be helpful for some.
    "There's no need to be embarrassed about it, Mr. Spock. It happens to the birds and the bees!"

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    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    This is one reason why I've never wanted antidepressant medication. I'd much rather be depressed and obsessed with my problems most of the time, and then get the natural high that comes from finally solving them under my own steam. I don't want something to artificially make my problems go away. I figure if I'm depressed, there's a reason for it.

    Besides, I can often pick my mood up using the Internet, anyway. Information, music, and humor are good enough drugs for me.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kyrielle's Avatar
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    I would think that solving the problem would definitely be a better solution to helping people treat depression. I don't understand why people are just coming to this conclusion?
    "I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference."

    Robert Frost

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    Some people are in horrible situations where they are incapable of solving the problem. I mean, think of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Also, think of the fact that low-income people living in fucked up situations with lame jobs are disproportionately prescribed psychiatric meds for depression and anxiety when they obviously have every reason to be depressed and anxious and have very little realistic options to getting out of it.

    IMO, the best solution is to give meds and then work out problems through therapy and lifestyle changes. Then the meds should go, unless in the case of seriously debilitating psychosis.

  6. #6
    triple nerd score poppy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    Also, think of the fact that low-income people living in fucked up situations with lame jobs are disproportionately prescribed psychiatric meds for depression and anxiety when they obviously have every reason to be depressed and anxious and have very little realistic options to getting out of it.
    Should people with low incomes be depressed and anxious? I dunno. If they're in such a bad place that they cannot afford to feed/house/clothe themselves and their families maybe they shouldn't be paying a shrink and buying happy pills?

    And if they are able to feed/house/clothe themselves and their families, then maybe they need to get their head together and figure out why that isn't good enough for them.

    EDIT:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrielle View Post
    I would think that solving the problem would definitely be a better solution to helping people treat depression. I don't understand why people are just coming to this conclusion?
    Yeah, this is one of those things that should seem like common sense, and I think it is applied by good therapists, but there's a lot of conventional thought that goes along the lines of "fake it til you make it" or "just take your mind off of it". I was really depressed for about 6 months and I got that kind of advice all the time, and it did nothing but annoy me, I couldn't figure out why that was considered the natural course of action. It seemed so backwards to me.
    "There's no need to be embarrassed about it, Mr. Spock. It happens to the birds and the bees!"

  7. #7
    Senior Member avolkiteshvara's Avatar
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    Default

    Interesting.

    I think there are certain levels of depression. I've been pretty bad before and couldn't analyze shit.........ironically I was a Financial Analyst.

    Depression has been documented for centuries though. Animals get depressed as well.

    Maybe something happens with a very mild depression that allows focus. It is always good to get an escape from your problems. But at some point it definitely affects your focus.

  8. #8
    triple nerd score poppy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by avolkiteshvara View Post
    Maybe something happens with a very mild depression that allows focus. It is always good to get an escape from your problems. But at some point it definitely affects your focus.
    Yeah, prolonged major depression can't be good for ya. Same thing with stress though, it makes sense biologically to have it for short periods of time but it's not something the body can maintain without suffering.
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    AKA Nunki Polaris's Avatar
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    Depression meds, and psychological drugs in general, get handed out like candy on Halloween. If depression and some of these other things are adaptive, there are thousands of people right now getting cheated by their doctors. I used to be one of them. At the age of 14, I was put on Paxil after being diagnosed with (nonexistent) OCD and a moderate, completely manageable case of depression. You don't even have to have something seriously wrong with you, and they'll gladly sedate you with these medications. It's like being offered a crutch because you bruised your leg.
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  10. #10
    triple nerd score poppy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nunki View Post
    Depression meds, and psychological drugs in general, get handed out like candy on Halloween. If depression and some of these other things are adaptive, there are thousands of people right now getting cheated by their doctors. I used to be one of them. At the age of 14, I was put on Paxil after being diagnosed with (nonexistent) OCD and a moderate, completely manageable case of depression. You don't even have to have something seriously wrong with you, and they'll gladly sedate you with these medications. It's like being offered a crutch because you bruised your leg.
    They diagnosed you and started medicating you at 14?

    That kind of thing drives me crazy. I mean, the brain is still developing at that age right? Being 14 is tough, it's ok for someone that age to not be perfectly happy go lucky. I think it's nothing short of irresponsible to do that to a kid, especially instead of looking to manage the problem through normal means.

    Not that I think all medicating is bad in all situations, but I don't think it's needed nearly as frequently as it's prescribed.
    "There's no need to be embarrassed about it, Mr. Spock. It happens to the birds and the bees!"

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