It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Depression is an Evolution not a Malfunction

page: 1
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in


posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 03:52 PM
A newest article at Scientific American summarizes several recent studies that conclude that depression is not a malfunction, but a mental adaptation that brings certain cognitive advantages.

Depression's Evolutionary Roots

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.

This analytical style of thought, of course, can be very productive. Each component is not as difficult, so the problem becomes more tractable. Indeed, when you are faced with a difficult problem, such as a math problem, feeling depressed is often a useful response that may help you analyze and solve it. For instance, in some of our research, we have found evidence that people who get more depressed while they are working on complex problems in an intelligence test tend to score higher on the test.

The studies that the article draws from are:

On being sad and mistaken: Mood effects on the accuracy of thin-slice judgments.

Depression and the impression-formation continuum: Piecemeal processing despite the availability of category information.

Attending to the big picture: mood and global versus local processing of visual information.

For the longest time I have considered several "malfunctions", "maladies", "disorders", or "diseases" to be beneficial rather than detrimental. I personally have several sleep disorders that individually they would seem to be detrimental, but together they function as a great benefit (Apnea, Narcolepsy and Insomnia). From my own personal experience with periodic Depression, I have concluded the same as these studies have as well (although granted, I was never so dysfunctional from Depression that I ever needed treatment).

We sometimes forget that the purpose of Nature and Evolution is to adapt to one's environment for the purpose of survival. Even though humans have eliminated Darwinism now that we have made our way to the top of the Evolutionary Food-Chain, we haven't eliminated the innate biological necessity to continue to adapt and evolve. Although Nature will attempt all possible evolutionary mutations, allowing the useless ones to be weeded out naturally, the majority of evolutionary mutations are going to naturally be beneficial in some form.

At some point we have to get over this Aristotlean premise that everything in this world is corrupted and consider the possibility that everything is this world is inpotentia (or "full of potential" for those who are Latin impaired).

[edit on 27-8-2009 by fraterormus]

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 05:57 PM
Something troubling me from the first link:

Studies of depression in rats show that the 5HT1A receptor is involved in supplying neurons with the fuel they need to fire, as well as preventing them from breaking down. These important processes allow depressive rumination to continue uninterrupted with minimal neuronal damage, which may explain why the 5HT1A receptor is so evolutionarily important.

So, could targeting the 5HT1A receptor directly, given its protective role, lead to a permanent degredation of critical thinking ability over the long term?

Yeah, I guess I'm using my 5HT1A's a bit too much right now. I can't wait to sign up for clinical trials.

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 06:15 PM
speaking from experience i would say the findings are pretty spot on and ring true very much.

good thread

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 06:26 PM
Wow, thats really cool and it actually makes a lot of sense.

I was going to give my opinion about depression but I was having a hard time making it all logical. Its difficult to analyze the power of analysis, specially if you experience it really strongly. You can get trapped in a painful mental vortex that creates a lot of suffering. I figured that the best way to deal with depression is to not try to get rid of it, and just allow it to be there. If you try to understand or get rid of it, the painful sensation only becomes stronger. Its funny though how you receive all the answers you want once you allow yourself to feel the pain and simply recognize that you don't know and probably can't know. You get what you want when you don't care about it anymore. Thats how depression works. At least for me.

Now, after all that nonsense I have a more concrete point.
Check out this thread: 27 million Americans on anti-depressants

Now, if depression is really an evolution seems like someone is trying to hold back our natural upgrade, huh? Thats a real conspiracy right there.

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 06:32 PM
Interesting stuff. I have maintained for quite some time - maybe there is a legitimate reason why they are depressed, and maybe it's a sign that society is a bit screwed up. Seems like treating the depression and making it "go away" is just a way of making the screwed up things "ok".

It's like the old saying - "Insanity - a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.", or "Sanity in a world of insanity is insane". Seems depression would really even fit that bill even more.

Of course, someone can always come along and post a picture of the African kid and the vulture saying "get over yourself", and there is some truth in that. But it's really more a function of the world around that person, rather than the world around someone else. At best, it can just kind of be a reminder that things could be worse.

So I guess it's really about a balance and being well grounded. Politics and such is depressing for me, I think there is a good reason for it. But if I'm depressed because I ordered a cheeseburger and got a hamburger, then maybe I should take a look at that picture again and get some relevancy.

Plus, the low points make the high points seem that much higher.

So I've kinda felt that way for different reasons. If we don't get sad or depressed by things, we have little reason/motivation to change them or make them better.

Could the loss of intelligent and critical thinking be more of a result of apathy and just not really caring? "I have become comfortably numb".

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 06:34 PM
I usually like to think that some depression can come from large amounts of empathy. For example..I have a sister who always seems depressed, sad all the time and everytime I ask her why she just shrugs and tells me that she just is. She is also the sort of person that dosent have a mean bone in her body, dosent hate anyone that I know of and really, she seems to care more about others then herself.

So is it possible that someones deep empathy can lead to depression? I will admit I'm not an expert but I just feel like that makes sence.

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 07:01 PM
reply to post by Calon

I think its perfectly possible.
I myself believe that most of my depression is caused by being over-sensitive.
Its like I suck the pain of others of which they are basically trying to forget about and pretend it isn't there (thats why the big weapons of mass-distraction are so efficient). And since I simply cannot turn my back to the truth I absorb it all to myself.

I actually think this empathy is really useful and a great gift. I can make people feel good really easily because of that. And I really enjoy making people feel good. The problem about it is that I don't really understand and don't know how to control it and block the feelings that I don't like. I'm still experimenting and learning.

I know a couple of depressed people and the worst thing is when they start to act like victims without realizing the gift that they have.

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 07:53 PM
reply to post by Geladinhu

Perhaps the secret in serenity prayer:

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Begin with one's self. The sensitive person who wants to fix everything under heaven suffers most. A secret lies therein: letting go actually changes everything. Letting go fixes everything. Letting go actually increases the potential scope and depth of one's impact.

You said you have a problem that you don't understand, don't know how to control it and block the feelings you don't like. Previously you said to just hang out with these issues instead of falling into the "mental vortex". I'm a bit confused by this apparent contradiction.

If you let yourself get flushed down the vortex instead of trying with all one's might to swim against it and the mental universe is anything in analogue how Steven Hawking posited about black holes and white holes, you may just end up in a completely different universe as a result.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have it all figured out but I do see that beacon of light shining on the horizon.

[edit on 8/27/2009 by EnlightenUp]

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 07:54 PM
Yeah, I think most people who are depressed are depressed because they know that they deserve to be. They feel bad because they know inwardly that they are not doing anything particularly good (by whatever inward standard makes their heart sing), they have let themselves down, they are not trying...they have adopted an ironic attitude towards their heart's desire...they have allowed themselves to be taken prisoner by circumstance...they have let their horse take the rider just any ol' place...they have encountered the spikes of SEVERE TIRE DAMAGE because they are not driving in the direction of their true will.

But the good news is, this is not a permanent can have an entire previous life filled with self-betrayal and a panoramic life review of sad evil memories that disgust you...and...if you figure out what it is you think you should be doing, and you break that far goal into bitesize doable chunks, that you can accomplish today (and score as done/undone), and you do three four five of them a day ... (and as some get too old and easy to count no more, you increase the weight and the reps)...Well at this point you are no longer depressed, you are happy.

That's what I think, really I do.

Happiness is not something you should seek or enjoy particularly, like some consumer product. Happiness is best when it occurs as a byproduct of brutal efficiency.
Happiness is not some comfy pillow you can buy in the store and rest your head on and sleep real good if only you can shop around and buy the right one, try them all but none are quite right (oh poor me)...happiness is the sleep that's better than any pillow when you have walked thirty miles and you lie down and rest your head in the grass.

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 08:15 PM
reply to post by nine-eyed-eel

I used to think that way but not being led around by every desire is a much more pleasant state of mind. Accomplishment through force leads to temporary gratification of base desire. I agree though about small immediate goal by breaking up larger long-term goals is a good way to get things done that seem otherwise insurmountable. If letting go be a goal of mine, then taking it day-by-day, step-by-step instead of trying to leap the perceived gulf in a single bound seems to be assisting me to progress.

Are you by chance of some Luciferian sect? Perhaps you should check that out if not.

Sorry, hearing "brutal efficiency" and other manners of your expression just remind me of that path of severity.

No, I'm not religious and thus I encourage you to find the path that is right for you.

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 08:28 PM

Originally posted by EnlightenUp
reply to post by nine-eyed-eel

Are you by chance of some Luciferian sect? Perhaps you should check that out if not.

YESSIR , pretty much, you've caught me, 100 points for you, where do I send the grand prize T-shirt?

Naw, but seriously, good call, a nice display of knowledge-of-the-world, for sure.

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 08:40 PM

Originally posted by nine-eyed-eel

Originally posted by EnlightenUp
reply to post by nine-eyed-eel

Are you by chance of some Luciferian sect? Perhaps you should check that out if not.

YESSIR , pretty much, you've caught me, 100 points for you, where do I send the grand prize T-shirt?

Naw, but seriously, good call, a nice display of knowledge-of-the-world, for sure.

Thank you.

I think the conclusion of these studies is that depression actually functions to assist resolving problems in the manner you prescribe. It is a useful tool put there for a reason. Part of the equation is not being deterred by the belief you cannot solve the problem. Small soluable substeps also assist to foster this belief thereby assisting manifestation of a favorable outcome. Apparently nature believes it as well.

Sometimes the resolution really is let it go. Sometimes letting it go allows an unconsidered solution to manifest.

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 09:16 PM
reply to post by EnlightenUp

Thanks for the input, friend!
I must say that I'm confused about you being confused about the apparent contradiction that I presented.

I think I was talking about two different situations.
The first one in which I hang out with the feelings I was relating to usually when I'm alone and suddenly find myself depressed and caught in hopeless thoughts.

The second situation that I don't understand and can't control is when I'm around other people.

They are two different kinds of depressions. The first one happens because of the mental vortex, the second one I'm not sure what it is but I feel that I'm absorbing other peoples pain. I usually have to isolate myself, bathe and drink a lot of water for it to start going away.

I don't try to swim against the forces anymore, I've learned how to deal with my personal depression. But I'm still learning how to deal with what I'm going to call the "shared" depression.

[edit on 27-8-2009 by Geladinhu]

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 09:26 PM
There is one problem with depression, and that it keeps one unemployed. I don't clinical depression, as I mean major depression. It's the difference between where one can say 'just get over it'... and where one find themselves a zombie all day because they can't function no matter what they are in thought about. I find most people don't understand this difference. I didn't understand it until I was diagnosed myself. Anti-depressants don't work.

Wish jobs would adapt/evolve along with this evolution!

Note that I've read some responses above and, sadly, they assume clinical or lesser depression.

I've seen the article the OP posted in other forums... I was like YES! finally some scientific proof of not being able to function and why. To me its like the body just can't handle the speed of thought I have. It gets overloaded and becomes depressed -- goes zombie -- doesn't function -- yet I'm still alive inside -- lost. This is a physical thing, it isn't some simple emotion that can be work over and done away with. It's disabled me for the past few years now.

[edit on 27-8-2009 by dzonatas]

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 09:38 PM
reply to post by Geladinhu

Thank you for clarifying, friend!

It confused me because I haven't learned to distinguish the two thus I didn't really think of there being two: personal and "shared". They just feel too intimately intertwined. If I deal personally first and foremost, susceptibility to the "shared" one also seems to get better.

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 09:51 PM
reply to post by dzonatas

I've never heard of anyone having a depression like the one you are talking about. For me, that experiences depression in different levels your experience sounds like something else.

What comes to my mind is that you are being zombified by something unnatural and maybe even artificial.

From what I know even the most extreme conditions of depression would be impacted by the use of anti-depressants (not necessarily a positive impact, but it does affect the depression).

I've been reading around ATS about the possibility of there being some kind of mind control and thought projecting into someones mind. And by reading your post that was the first thing that came to my mind. Maybe you are too open and so sensitive that you pick up all these foreign signals and mistakenly take them as your own?

I don't know, its just weird that your condition is so extreme but at the same time you are so aware of it. Could it be something that is being mistakenly labeled as depression (which is already a terrible label by itself)?

[edit on 27-8-2009 by Geladinhu]

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 09:54 PM
Sigh .. just don't know, any more

My son was literally as happy as a lark. He was the 'perfect boy'. Popular with everyone, adults included. Uncomplicated, positive, active -- he just saw through/cut through the swill. A golden boy, honestly -- when he walked into the room, it lit up.

Then, he started puberty late. His face changed. Sure, it changed physically in the transition from boy to man. But it was more than that. School photos show a swift and disturbing change. It's almost as if the 'after' photos have a grey pall. You see the photos and you can almost touch the sadness in his face

He retreated to his room. Didn't want to leave it. Lay there all day. No reason. Wouldn't answer the phone when his mates rang.

Do you imagine we tried everything at our disposal to help? If you said 'yes', you'd be correct.

Nearly 20 years later and the sun still hasn't come out again. He's a lovely man, kind, honest, decent, sensitive, career's going well. He has talents pouring out of his fingertips, yet he leaves them under that bushell.

There was no definitive moment, nothing he or anyone else can point to and say, 'This .. this was the event, the conversation, the accident etc' that triggered the depression. He used Prozac for 3 days before tossing them away. He said he knew if he used any more he'd kill himself or someone else.

The self-absorption is all consuming, yet it has no results. How long can someone 'think about themselves and their life' ? Forever? It's like a perpetual loop. When I visualise it, I see it coming out of his mind, around and up through his colon, into his mind, round and up his colon, etc. It reminds me of dogs who get their own tail in the mouths and run in circles. Outsiders who try to break the cycle and focus the energy on something else, are unsuccessful.

And there's a lot of anger there. Expectations of others and himself which have obviously been disappointed. But, the adult world is not Disneyland. There's no one person or event which has even half-catastrophically let him down. He used to love this world. The world didn't change. He did

If I were my father, my son would have been put to a lot of hard physical work, out in the sun, to 'take his mind off himself '. Sweat, toil, laughter, dealing with things, taking a hands-on approach. Make it. Fix it. Cheer up that guy over there. Another joke. Taking the world head-on. Laughing at disaster, at oneself. Coming out a survivor at the close of every day, brick by brick. That's how my father dealt with his own depression .. laughed in its face and slapped it around (hit it with half a bottle of scotch)

My father would have taken my son to boxing lessons twenty years ago, to the bar, hunting, etc.

I'm not my father. Don't like to push against someone's natural grain. But my methods have failed, or at least 'didn't work'.

My son's father's family told me they have a lot of family members 'like that' (like my son). They revealed this 25 years after my son's conception. And (they told me) several of their family members who were 'like that', killed themselves. No reason, they say .. just walked out one day or night and hanged themselves.

My son's father's father went home to his mothers each evening for about a week after he got married, apparently. It's one of their family jokes. He just forgot he was married. Creature of habit. Followed his feet home to his mother's place each night. My son exhibits the same vagueness quite often. Dreamy. ' Not with it '.

I love him. It's painful. I'm scared to die because I'm afraid to leave him to his own devices. Years ago, the mother of a man I knew said the same thing. I never expected I would.

At this point, people will say, 'Oh, your son's depression is clinical .. it's endogenous .. it's caused by his own brain's chemicals. You should use a man-made chemical to balance it out '. But neither he nor I want to go that route.

I'd love something to come along and like magic, 'snap him out of it'. I pray for that. But do I believe he's is the process of evolution ? Wish I could say 'yes', but no, instead I think he inherited unfortunate genes with respect to depression. And they've pretty much wasted his life.

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 09:56 PM
Have a flag! Have a star!

Very interesting and thought-provoking thread. I'm still adjusting to life without anti-depressants, it's not the best thing in the world. But whenever I have an argument with somebody, it does seem like I always consider multiple outcomes, I think about problems, I consider many facets of things, and it's not easy for me to just blow something off or "calm down" when I know I'm facing some struggles.

Anti-depressants made me happy but they made me fake. I'd rather see the world for what it is, personally.

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 09:59 PM
reply to post by EnlightenUp

Yeah, the two usually bounce into each other quite often.
And the techniques that I use for the personal one usually help with the shared one also. But they are most definitely happening because of different things, I have no doubt about that.

I've happen to be walking on the beach one day having a real good time with friends and suddenly I got "hit" by this depression. It was the weirdest thing, my day turned into crap in an instant and at first I couldn't understand why that happened since I was totally free of thought at the time. Then I went home feeling horrible and after a simple shower it went away. I have no idea what it was but I'm sure it didn't come from my inside like the mental vortex kind of depression.

posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 10:19 PM
reply to post by Geladinhu

Mine also stems from over-sensitivity. It was diagnosed very early on, but the sensitivity is definitely a big part of it.

I don't usually see that connection made, but I believe it is an important one.

top topics

<<   2  3  4 >>

log in