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In evolution-speak, depression is an "adaptation," ...it evolved because it made individuals who experienced it fitter, under natural selection, than individuals who did not experience it.
...a molecule in the brain called the 5HT1A receptor... serves as a docking port for the neurochemical serotonin... natural selection did not mess with the receptor much. ...(because) tinkering with it evolutionarily would produce more harm than good.
...depression alters thinking and behavior in beneficial ways. For instance:
*People in the grip of depression tend to ruminate, to turn an issue over and over in the mind. ...this way of thinking, ...is "often highly analytical." ...producing solutions to what tipped the person into depression in the first place, not to mention "Eureka!" moments such as discovering fire.
*Depression tends to focus thinking. That 5HT1A receptor, it turns out, also supplies neurons with fuel, allowing them to fire without flagging. That includes neurons in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, which have to fire continuously to keep the mind from wandering. (It's an attention circuit.) Focused thinking, like analytical thinking, might help someone overcome depression.
*Depression tends to make sufferers seek isolation, and keeps them from deriving pleasure from sex, food, or life itself. ...it may also be adaptive: these behaviors foster the kind of focused and deliberative thinking that might solve the problem that triggered the depression in the first place.
"Therapies should try to encourage depressive rumination rather than try to stop it, and they should focus on trying to help people solve the problems that trigger their bouts of depression,"...
...depression is present in the species, and in individuals, for a purpose, and we're playing with fire if we try to eradicate it.
Serious chronic depression is what might need some sort of treatment, that is pathological and disruptive.
Sadness is a key emotion in relation to depression as it is the emotion most closely linked to depression. Sadness is a universal emotion, and has a common facial expression associated with it that is recognised in many different cultures . Sadness is usually caused by loss of some sort, from a person to money. Sadness is closely linked to a loss of attachment to a child or to a partner, relative or close friend . Attachment is adaptive from an evolutionary viewpoint, particularly in relation to the bond between mother and child, and loss of this attachment, even briefly, can cause sadness in young children and causes them to search for the parent. Attachment is also important for couples and its loss promotes sadness and the search for the partner. Sadness can also result from other losses, ranging from money to lack of success at work, and its biological and evolutionary function is to motivate the individual to recover what has been lost. Sadness drives us to restore attachment and is from an evolutionary point of view an important adaptive emotion. The sadness caused by bereavement is the cost of having been attached, and it may also act as a social signal that is a plea for sympathy
However it is important to realise the complexity of the emotion, as purely biological factors can trigger depression. Excess cortisol can be a cause , as can components of the immune system. If patients are given alpha interferon for hepatitis, they are give an antidepressant at the same time to stop them getting depressed . Of even greater significance is the genetic component, which can be quite high as heritability is around 50% .
like jordan maxwell says. People do not know how to be human,a nd what feelings and thoughts and actions they do, other than what they see on tv.
Originally posted by Lasheic
I wanted to check her credibility as well. The title of her book "Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves" and associations with Buddhism and the Dali Lama threw up some red flags for me. Though I guess it's more about neuroplasticity than fru-fru brain training advice according to the Amazon reviews.
I also wonder if the stigma of being "quacks" and "shrinks" historically has influenced the bias of some psychologists over the last few decades to over-diagnose and unnecessarily prescribe medication. Think of it as a validation marker of their profession and status. Shrinks make you sit on the couch and talk about your father while they psychoanalyze you... but Doctors, they write prescriptions for medication to cure disease.
There was a study on NPR a few weeks ago suggesting a similar hidden bias in surgeons to recommend unnecessary surgery more often if there is a lot of competition. Not as a way to make money, but because more doctors lessens the work load - and preforming surgeries keeps them busy and engaged in their profession.
Originally posted by soficrow
What would happen if everyone stopped searching for "happiness at any cost by any means"? If everyone stopped self-medicating with painkillers, alcohol and recreational drugs? If doctors stopped bowing to Big Pharma and prescribing happy pills?
Would people start thinking again? And problem solving? Might thinking people change the world?
What would happen if nobody's urine contained Prozac, Zoloft or Paxil or any other antidepressant, and our world's water wasn't medically polluted any more, and our world's wildlife wasn't sucking up happy drugs along with us humans?
Originally posted by melatonin
...Serious chronic depression is what might need some sort of treatment, that is pathological and disruptive.
I wouldn't solely blame it on pharma, though.
Originally posted by soficrow
Disruptive, yes. To production and economic output, mainly. But to individual growth, development, evolution? ...I wonder.
Seems to me that the biggest problem with disruptive / dysfunction is its impact on today's economic system.
But many older cultures accommodate the notion that people need "time out." My favorite is the Australian Aborigine tradition of "walkabout" - most dictionaries say it's a return to "traditional ways", but my understanding is that sometimes you just have to go walkabout to get your head straight. And when you do, your economic output pretty much sucks. ...Is that really such a bad thing?