Society's Obsession With Depression

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Depression has become so encrypted into our daily life. It would not be rash to suggest that almost every single person has had experience of depression whether that be personal, or illness of a loved one. Goleman (1992) makes an interesting observation that people born after 1945 are ten times more likely to suffer with depression than people born before this date. What does this mean? Well, firstly it shows that the root cause of most depression cannot be due to increasing chemical imbalances. Human genetics simply do not change that quickly. So therefore we have to ask: Why is Britain so depressed? Has life become more stressful, or are we just more likely to recognise symptoms and make a trip to the doctor’s office? Leading on from this: …show more content…
Now, this is not to in anyway minimise or discredit the suffering of anybody tackling depression. However, we are constantly told as a society that we should be happy, and that if we are not happy something is wrong. Life is hard and it is normal to feel ‘depressed’ at times. As a society we are too quick to run to our GP demanding answers as to why our lives aren’t the happy, stress free existences that we expect to live. Sadness and depression are not the same thing. The United Kingdom’s obsession with depression may lead to normal human emotions being treated as an illness. In the British Medical Journal, Dr Dowrick, the Professor of Primary Medical Care at Liverpool University claims that up to half of the five million people in the United Kingdom who have been labelled as depressed have been misdiagnosed. Parker (2007) carried out a study of 242 teachers and it was found that seventy nine percent met criteria for either minor or major depression. This suggests that the threshold for diagnosing clinical depression is too low. Is it possible that normal human sadness, stress and distress is being medicalised? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders suggests that depression should be diagnosed when there is a recurrent low mood for over two weeks. This is the case irrespective of circumstance and therefore, even in cases of extreme grief, if depression-like symptoms are still evident after two weeks you are at risk of a label of ill mental health. However, certain situations merit a ‘depressive-like’ reaction. We are not robots. Death of a loved one, breakdown of a relationship or a huge change in personal life are all situations in which it is okay to be sad. Is the over medicalisation and over diagnosis of our natural human emotion doing more harm than

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