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Depression: An Adaptive Evolutionary Trait?

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posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 12:11 PM
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Originally posted by melatonin

Many chronically depressed come to accept and find a way to live with their lot when treatments fail. Others just can't, leading to potential harm of self and others.



I'm wondering if the real problem might be be with the environment, not the individual. ...Meaning it's the environment / system that requires treatment (modification).





posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 12:36 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow

Originally posted by melatonin

Many chronically depressed come to accept and find a way to live with their lot when treatments fail. Others just can't, leading to potential harm of self and others.



I'm wondering if the real problem might be be with the environment, not the individual. ...Meaning it's the environment / system that requires treatment (modification).





Very good question, and with this elephant t we have still yet to decide rather it is pink or if it is pink because of the sunlight reflection off the paint in the room. As long as there are window blinders that can be pulled down, only those in the room could be said to have the faintest truth to tell about it. Those outside the room wonder who tells the truth when the blinders are pulled. The elephant grows larger.

Eventually, the people both inside and out realize the room is too small for the elephant.

Of the various ideas from that point, somehow the people outside the room manage to create a superior/inferior complex and blames those inside.

On that note, the elephant suddenly has babies.


[edit on 12-11-2009 by dzonatas]



posted on Nov, 14 2009 @ 08:45 AM
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"Environment" is a big, broad concept, and I use it here in its broadest sense - physical, psychological, financial, cultural, and more. I mean the chemicals contaminating our water, food and other consumer products. I mean our economic system and "consumer culture" as environmental forces that determine how we live and what we do - what we care about and why we care. If we do.

As far as caring goes, the stats are illuminating.




...In general the epidemiological data show that only 20 percent of Americans are flourishing. The rest are either languishing or just getting by. ...people living lives of quiet despair. Upwards of 60 percent of the adult population feel like they’re just going through the motions. ...

Finding Happiness by Cultivating Positive Emotions




So according to the data, America's people are:

20% - happy, satisfied & flourishing

and

60% - living lives of quiet despair - just going through the motions


Presumably, the other 20% are diagnosed as mentally ill - on the books as clinically depressed, schizoid, bi-polar, psychotic, other.

...It's an ugly picture.

So why are things so bad?

Seems obvious to me that all the crap we're dumping into our environment is not just ruining our bodies - it's messing with our heads too.

Plus - our economic system and "consumer culture" do NOT sustain us as whole beings. But our system and culture are NOT failing - they simply were not designed to sustain the common man, and they don't.

It shouldn't be a surprise.

Worse though, our systems and culture actually prevent us from flourishing. And that's a crime.

But we're on our own anyway. So a huge industry evolved to help us help ourselves to pursue the happiness and fulfillment we're denied by our rulers.

Weird, dontcha think?

...One of the more interesting happiness products is based on the "positivity" concept mentioned earlier by melatonin.

In her new book Positivity, psychologist Barbara Fredrickson shares findings from the 20+ years she spent investigating positive emotions. The trick is, she says, to balance positive emotions with negative ones in a 3:1 ratio.



...Flourishing encompasses both feeling satisfied with your life and also functioning well in it. The way psychologists measure that second part is to assess whether people feel as if they are learning, growing, and making contributions to society.

...Negative emotions, she says, are necessary for us to flourish, and positive emotions are by nature subtle and fleeting; the secret is not to deny their transience but to find ways to increase their quantity. She recommends that, rather than try to eliminate negativity, we balance negative feelings with positive ones. Below a certain ratio of positive to negative, Fredrickson says, people get pulled into downward spirals, their behavior becomes rigid and predictable, and they begin to feel burdened and lifeless.

Finding Happiness by Cultivating Positive Emotions




Like other self-help guru's, Fredrickson has a website, complete with sales pitch:



Discover the power of the 3-to-1 Ratio

World renowned researcher Dr. Barbara Fredrickson gives you the lab-tested tools necessary to create a healthier, more vibrant, and flourishing life. She discovered that experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio with negative ones leads people to a tipping point beyond which they naturally become more resilient to adversity and effortlessly achieve what they once could only imagine. With Positivity, you’ll learn to see new possibilities, bounce back from setbacks, connect with others, and become the best version of yourself.




The fact remains: our economic system and "consumer culture" do NOT sustain us as whole beings - they were not designed to sustain us, and they don't.

So somebody has to fill the breach. Enter the happiness gurus and self-help industry.

...I especially like this bit on "unpredictability" from Utne's interview with Fredrickson.



...You’ve written that people who flourish become “beautifully unpredictable.” What is the value of unpredictability?

Acting in unexpected ways is necessary for growth. Nobody grows by doing the same thing every day.

In natural selection, random genetic variation leads to new traits, even new species. Children are not exact replicas of their parents. There’s always some random genetic combination that can lead to new skills and attributes. Similarly, I think that being “beautifully unpredictable” is essential for our individual evolution.




The truth is, no one can change the world if they're not in a good space themselves. So the self-help happiness industry is a good thing, all things considered, imho. ...But I suspect "depression" just might be essential to individual evolution, and survival of the species.



OF INTEREST:

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Daniel Amen - Change Your Brain Change Your Life

Daily Positivity Evaluation Quiz

PositivityRatio

Amen on PBS



posted on Nov, 14 2009 @ 10:11 AM
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I tried to find a certain article that covered different symptoms of depression, yet I found another one that I thought makes a good distinctive point to help a few here.

How To Tell Unipolar Depression From Bipolar Depression



Unipolar depression: As said above, this is the less serious of the three types of depression but the most common psychiatric illness affecting 6%-10% of adults. Unipolar depression can usually be attributed, directly or indirectly, to an external stimulus such as a recent incident or an event in the patient's life, or an illness, or side-effects of dugs. In other words, unipolar depression is 'reactive depression'.

The most serious symptoms of unipolar depression are:

* Suicidal thoughts
* Loss of interest in life and activities of life
* Negative attitude
* Avoidance of eye contact while talking
* Diminished libido
* Weight loss
* Sleep disorders
* Gastrointestinal disorders


This above symptoms are related more to 'clinical depression' than unipolar depression. It's not really a right/wrong way to view the symptoms, yet it is more on how doctor perceives symptoms as a chart of reactions or as a physical illness. Clinical depression is not yet considered a physical illness, while unipolar is considered a physical (mental) illness. If the factor of the physical illness is removed and the doctor only considers the appearance of the patients reactions then this is how the symptoms of clinical depression and unipolar are similar (and stated common as in the article brief).



Major depressive disorder: Many medical studies have not considered this type of depression as a separate category but a more intense form of unipolar depression with the only major difference being that it cannot be attributed to any known cause.


Obviously, to make the clinical/unipolar diagnoses more clear, doctors have started to use the MDD label to denote the physical illness (unattributed to any known cause). While people with MDD may suffers some similar symptoms as clinical depression, they may also exhibit none of the symptoms of clinical depression. This is where people completely mistreat those with MDD when expect they can be treated exactly like others with clinical depression.



Bipolar affective depression: This category of depression is a combination of unipolar depression and mania, and is therefore also called 'manic-depressive disorder'. It is a very severe psychosomatic disorder. The mood of the patient cyclically and severely swings from the unipolar depression to mania. The symptoms of bipolar affective depression are:

* All or some of the symptoms of unipolar depression stated above.
* Additional symptoms such as:
o A combination of paranoia and schizophrenia
o False sense of grandiosity.
o Picking up quarrels that can deteriorate into physical fights.
o Hyperactivity
o Abnormal talkativeness
o Lack of judgment


The above is exactly what MDD (unipolar) types are not: bipolar. It is clinically stated that MDD types do not experience the above unless they experience some form of psychosis (i.e. allergy, intoxication, or drug interaction).

I think you can see why people tend to look at depressed people as clinically depressed or bipolar at least until those two are ruled out by unknowns. (Think how much time that could take and how much more weight that adds to the reasons why MDD types are MDD!)

I think you find at least the adaptive ability in these unknowns. Once the MDD-type patient is diagnosed as not psychotic, they are considered "stable." Hence, despite the relapse and reoccurence of depression, they are still considered stable as compared to those that experience the more acute symptoms listed above. Even if a MDD type "can't function" on a daily basis to do regular work to bring in an income, they still can be considered "stable." That is where MDD is considered a ("debilitating") disability rather than just a treatable case. (i.e. Disability-wise, someone who "can't function" mentally is no different than someone that "can't function" if their legs don't move -- neither means a mental retardation nor disease.)

Is it a sign of evolution? Well, I don't think there is enough stable MDD-types to ground facts into science in their ordinary lifetime -- or at least the peer pressure (or environment) against evolutionary/adaptive experiences are still being overwhelmed way too much for fair consideration (i.e. "pink" elephants).

I do appreciate these threads that do try to leverage the evidence and experiences.

[edit on 14-11-2009 by dzonatas]



posted on Nov, 14 2009 @ 11:08 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
The truth is, no one can change the world if they're not in a good space themselves. So the self-help happiness industry is a good thing, all things considered, imho. ...But I suspect "depression" just might be essential to individual evolution, and survival of the species.


It can be, if it is grounded in actual evidence. At its worst, the self-help arena is like the diet industry - all sort of fads and unsupported claims.

But there is clear value in providing people information that can improve their psychological outlook.

And I agree with the points you made about environment. As our culture has moved towards an individualistic consumer-based nature, I do wonder of its impact. We are social creatures at heart. Not to bring down the more egalitarian and sci-tech features of modern society, of course.



posted on Nov, 14 2009 @ 11:22 AM
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Originally posted by dzonatas



Major depressive disorder: ...a more intense form of unipolar depression with the only major difference being that it cannot be attributed to any known cause.


....I do appreciate these threads that do try to leverage the evidence and experiences.



Thanks for your work and comments dzonatas.


RE: "known cause."

Most chronic and "modern" diseases are recognized as multi-factorial - that is, NOT resulting from a single-cause-and-direct-effect, ala Koch's principles. Unfortunately, they are not treated that way. Too expensive, for one. Also, TPTB would have to admit what a mess they've made of things, be accountable - and on the hook for liability payouts, more. Not gonna happen.

Diagnosed mental illnesses such as depression, like other chronic disease, arguably result from the usual combination of factors:

1. Genetic mutation caused by environmental exposures, resulting in "genetic susceptibility";
2. Early environmental exposures causing "epigenetic changes";
3. Identifiable events / forces / agents in the individual's immediate environment; and
4. Less apparent events / forces / agents in the larger environment that impact the individual either directly or indirectly. (Remember: The personal is political. )

FYI RE: EPIGENETICS. Early stress alters epigenome



Scientists have figured out how stress experienced early in life can cause long-lasting changes in physiology and behavior - via epigenetics.

Specifically, early stress appears to induce epigenetic changes in a specific regulatory region of the genome, affecting the expression of a hormone important in controlling mood and cognition into adulthood, according to a study published online today (November 8) in Nature Neuroscience.

This is the first study to depict a molecular mechanism by which "stress early in life can cause effects that remain later in life," said epigeneticist Moshe Szyf of McGill University in Montreal. "This can explain a lot of things that happen to us as humans and our behavior later in life."

Stress endured early in life can influence the quality of physical and mental health in adulthood, such as by causing hormonal alterations associated with mood and cognitive disorders. But until now, scientists did not understand the mechanism by which early life experiences can produce such long-lasting effects.




...Unfortunately, modern "medicine" is focused only on the acute phase of disease - and generally ignores the other 359 degrees on the circle that precede or lead to the acute phase that's marked at the 360 degree point.

In this light, I'm most interested in the 60% of Americans who are living lives of quiet desperation, just going through the motions - and likely suffering chronic low-level depression.


Originally posted by soficrow



...In general the epidemiological data show that only 20 percent of Americans are flourishing. The rest are either languishing or just getting by. ...people living lives of quiet despair. Upwards of 60 percent of the adult population feel like they’re just going through the motions. ...

Finding Happiness by Cultivating Positive Emotions




So according to the data, America's people are:

20% - happy, satisfied & flourishing

and

60% - living lives of quiet despair - just going through the motions


Presumably, the other 20% are diagnosed as mentally ill - on the books as clinically depressed, schizoid, bi-polar, psychotic, other.

...It's an ugly picture.

So why are things so bad?






FYI - A number of sites offer some pretty good definitions and explanations of depression, bipolar disorder and subtypes etc.

MEDLINE PLUS: Depression. Also called: Clinical depression, Dysthymic disorder, Major depressive disorder, Unipolar depression.

MAYO CLINIC: Bipolar Disorder
Original Article: Bipolar Disorder

ALSO: www.dbsalliance.org...
jama.ama-assn.org...

And don't forget Wiki



posted on Nov, 14 2009 @ 11:23 AM
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reply to post by soficrow
 


Ive thought about this for years. Ever since i was diagnosed with depression ive become a recluse. I barely ever leave my house and i refuse to take any sort of medication. Im working on becoming a "productive" member of society. But the thing that strikes me is ever sense i was diagnosed my problem solving abilities have increased ten fold. Im not saying i think clearly im saying that i think too much about stuff. Sometimes i view this as a good thing, other times, not so much. If this is a product of evolution i dont think many humans could handle the lows of depression. And im afraid this would be less productive than you might think. Who knows?



posted on Nov, 14 2009 @ 11:46 AM
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Originally posted by melatonin

Many chronically depressed come to accept and find a way to live with their lot when treatments fail. Others just can't, leading to potential harm of self and others.



There too is the suggestion of an evolutionary trait... The ones that can't and self-select out make way and leave behind scare resources for the ones that can.


Originally posted by soficrow
I'm wondering if the real problem might be be with the environment, not the individual. ...Meaning it's the environment / system that requires treatment (modification).





I have little doubt in the likelihood of such a condition. We often only consider the physical impact to the organism, where contaminants are concerned. The psychological stuff is much harder to 'see'. But I have no doubt it's there.

Some people are obviously looking at the question:

Psychological Responses to Hazardous Substances

And there are more specific examples:

Central neurological abnormalities and multiple
chemical sensitivity caused by chronic toluene
exposure





Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a syndrome in which multiple symptoms
occur with low-level chemical exposure; whether it is an organic disease initiated by environmental exposure or a psychological disorder is still controversial.We report a 38-year-old male worker with chronic toluene exposure who developed symptoms such as palpitation, insomnia, dizziness with headache, memory impairment, euphoria while working, and depression during the weekend. Upon cessation of exposure, follow-up neurobehavioural tests, including the cognitive ability screening instrument and the mini-mental state examination, gradually improved and eventually became normal.



Fascinating stuff, huh?

I'm sure there are many more examples....


Originally posted by soficrow

...(modification)...



Of course, that concept often scares the hell out of me when used in connection with the environment. There are ample examples where the 'cure' is often worse than the disease...

Maybe it's just semantics, but I have less of a visceral negative reaction to the terms 'amelioration' or 'restoration' in the context of environmental change strategy.

Again, Sofi, I love the concepts you present in this thread. Very thought provoking...


EDIT:

reply to post by soficrow
 


Dead on.

(You posted again while I was working on mine.
)

EDIT, AGAIN:

Btw, there is an interesting side topic of the environmental impact on psychological behavior unrelated to the physical contamination of the organism:

Environmental psychology




Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field focused on the interplay between humans and their surroundings. The field defines the term environment broadly encompassing natural environments, social settings, built environments, learning environments, and informational environments. When solving problems involving human-environment interactions, whether global or local, one must have a model of human nature that predicts the environmental conditions under which humans will behave in a decent and creative manner. With such a model one can design, manage, protect and/or restore environments that enhance reasonable behavior, predict what the likely outcome will be when these conditions are not met, and diagnose problem situations. The field develops such a model of human nature while retaining a broad and inherently multidisciplinary focus. It explores such dissimilar issues as common property resource management, wayfinding in complex settings, the effect of environmental stress on human performance, the characteristics of restorative environments, human information processing, and the promotion of durable conservation behavior. Although "environmental psychology" is arguably the best-known and most comprehensive description of the field, it is also known as human factors science, cognitive ergonomics, environmental social sciences, architectural psychology, socio-architecture, ecological psychology, ecopsychology, behavioral geography, environment-behavior studies, person-environment studies, environmental sociology, social ecology, and environmental design research.



Also neat stuff...



[edit on 14-11-2009 by loam]



posted on Nov, 14 2009 @ 12:09 PM
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Originally posted by loam
There too is the suggestion of an evolutionary trait... The ones that can't and self-select out make way and leave behind scare resources for the ones that can.


True, but the adaptiveness of the way I'm trying to pose such traits is that those who have the capacity for temporary mild depression have positive features in certain circumstances which aid survival and reproduction. The downside of these traits is that some just get 'too much' capacity, leading to non-adaptive behaviours (chronic major depression). However, across the population, the adaptive benefits in the many outweigh the costs in the non-adaptive few (same for sickle-cell, particular genes underpin resistance to malaria in many, but a few result with a detrimental condition)

But hopefully you can see that as social beings we shouldn't fall into the naturalistic fallacy and ignore their condition.

[edit on 14-11-2009 by melatonin]



posted on Nov, 14 2009 @ 12:17 PM
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reply to post by melatonin
 



Originally posted by melatonin
But hopefully you can see that as social beings we shouldn't fall into the naturalistic fallacy and ignore their condition.


No. I never meant to imply that.

In fact, as social beings, our desire to assist one another is yet another profound adaptive trait of the species.



EDIT:

So here are some intriguing questions: Do the differences experienced by groups of people, relative to contaminant exposure AND *natural* physical environment, give rise to cultural difference?


Are some cultures more "depressed" in psychological outlook than others?

EDIT, AGAIN:

Most Depressed States




A survey produced by Mental Health America named the most depressed states. Here are the top 10:

1. Utah
2. West Virginia
3. Kentucky
4. Rhode Island
5. Nevada
6. Oklahoma
7. Idaho
8. Missouri
9. Ohio
10. Wyoming

Want to know which states are the least depressed? Then read more

1. South Dakota
2. Hawaii
3. New Jersey
4. Iowa
5. Maryland
6. Minnesota
7. Louisiana
8. Illinois
9. North Dakota
10. Texas



World's Most Depressed Countries



(My apologies for the sources. I was too lazy to go chase the orginals.
)

[edit on 14-11-2009 by loam]



posted on Nov, 14 2009 @ 02:34 PM
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Originally posted by melatonin...leading to non-adaptive behaviours (chronic major depression).


That particular way to word it is hard to agree with on my part. The way you worded that, it seem like it could be mistaken that those with MDD are non-adaptive. I think you meant that the reoccurrent symptoms of major depression shuts the individual down to appear non-functional.

While the individual appears non-functional, they seem to express non-adaptive behaviors to accomplish regular task throughout the day. The individual, however, may be in a state of being highly-adaptive more internally that what is expressed through external behavior. For example, the individual may be just be deeply progressive towards a solution of a problem that requires more motor-thought than manual dexterity. In this case, the "missing limb" is the ability to set aside, or "store" a stateful mindset, in order to freely focus on another task.

In this sense, those with MDD appear to be ADD.

On example of a severe episode of MDD appears externally as being very forgetful, zombie-like, or unintentionally lazy. The individual sits down to do work like normal (as any individual). Within 15 minutes, the individual has lost track in order to complete the current work-task. The individual remembers the work-task and knows of the MDD, so the individual writes down a brief description of the work-task as a reminder. 15 minutes later, the individual already forgot about the note as a helpful reminder despite it being right in eye sight. Another 15 minutes, the individual realizes the note and suddenly becomes aware again of presence, yet the busy mindset still continues despite desire to focus on the work-task. Another 15 minutes go by, the individual feels hopeless to get anything accomplished other than to find something relax the mind in order to freely focus.

The superior/inferior complex enters when someone tries to judge the thoughts of the busy mindset. If you think what the person thought about in that episodic hour as useless, then this is evidence of how such complex starts.

Perhaps, the more adpative-trait would be to consider how that individual with MDD could be somewhere more useful. Obviously, that doesn't happen like magic, but there is no sense to default the individual with MDD as being non-adaptive.

I think our current environment doesn't easily allow those with MDD to find the right job for them -- especially when they have to apply as being disabled. Who wants (to hire, or to be with) a person that appears non-adaptive? Who actually is going to give a chance to these MDD-types to be in those job-positions of where their mind is focused.



Originally posted by soficrow
In this light, I'm most interested in the 60% of Americans who are living lives of quiet desperation, just going through the motions - and likely suffering chronic low-level depression.


I hope someday it is realized that every human body on this planet have all been assumed alive sometime at birth. That, however, has never been proven. There could be actually only 5% of the people actually born that a truly alive and the rest are just lifeless emotional beings -- androids/replicants(/avatars). I realize how hard that would be to comprehend and accept, yet this surely is not impossible. Perhaps, those 60% are "going through the motions" because they are doing exactly what they were programmed to do. And these 5% that act in ways that "cannot be attributed to any known cause" are the only ones that match the well-known anomaly of science called the conscience.



[edit on 14-11-2009 by dzonatas]



posted on Nov, 14 2009 @ 02:48 PM
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posted on Nov, 14 2009 @ 06:31 PM
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Originally posted by dzonatas

Originally posted by melatonin...leading to non-adaptive behaviours (chronic major depression).


That particular way to word it is hard to agree with on my part. The way you worded that, it seem like it could be mistaken that those with MDD are non-adaptive. I think you meant that the reoccurrent symptoms of major depression shuts the individual down to appear non-functional.


It was purely evolutionary terminology. As a whole the post was trying to warn of the dangers of naturalistic fallacy.



posted on Nov, 15 2009 @ 09:08 AM
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Originally posted by melatonin
It was purely evolutionary terminology. As a whole the post was trying to warn of the dangers of naturalistic fallacy.


I do agree that there are risks.



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 10:35 AM
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kick Flip
...ever sense i was diagnosed my problem solving abilities have increased ten fold. Im not saying i think clearly im saying that i think too much about stuff. Sometimes i view this as a good thing, other times, not so much. If this is a product of evolution i dont think many humans could handle the lows of depression. And im afraid this would be less productive than you might think. Who knows?

melatonin
True, but the adaptiveness of the way I'm trying to pose such traits is that those who have the capacity for temporary mild depression have positive features in certain circumstances which aid survival and reproduction. The downside of these traits is that some just get 'too much' capacity, leading to non-adaptive behaviours (chronic major depression).



RE: Major Depression

I've just gone back to an old book, Solitude: A Return to the Self, written in 1988 by Dr. Anthony Storr (Honorary Consulting Psychiatrist to the Oxfordshire Health Authority; Emeritus Fellow of Green College, England; Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians; and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists).

Storr explores the connection between solitude and creativity - "analyzing" geniuses like Beethoven, Henry James, Goya, Wittgenstein, Kipling and Beatrix Potter - looks at how depression, mental illness and life circumstances can force people into being alone, and how such solitude supports/causes creativity.

True, we're not all creative geniuses - but I think we need to re-define what it means to be "productive." For example, just posting here is a "productive" act, and in the larger scheme of things, likely proves to someone, somewhere, that they are not alone - showing them that someone else has experienced what they experience, sees things in a similar way and faces the same trials, if not demons. ...Such connections are not unimportant - and conceivably, could even save a life.




dzonatas
I think our current environment doesn't easily allow those with MDD to find the right job for them - especially when they have to apply as being disabled.



Our culture is unique in that the only work (contributions to society) recognized as valid (productive) involves the exchange of money for effort (jobs), and is measured statistically as part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But in fact, much work and many "jobs" - now and historically - are unpaid. So fukc the GDP.

For example, imho, the Internet and ATS often can be compared to a Native Healing Circle. In a healing circle, people of all ages, abilities, education and awareness sit together and share their stories, observations and understandings. Everyone is respected as having something of value to contribute - and they do - and it works.

...Perhaps for now, posting here IS your job. You need to respect your own contributions as valid, and important. I do, and so do many others.


In Solitude, Storr looks at creative genius; the GDP measures economic contributions. ...I'm suggesting that we redefine "productivity" to include efforts that aren't at the top of the creativity scale, and exist outside the measurements provided by the GDP. ...If we do that, maybe we will see more clearly the adaptive importance of all forms of depression.

FYI - I suspect depression is most valuable at its most painful - when it forces the 'victim' into dysfunction and isolation/solitude - and thus, into making a choice between life and death. Most DO choose life - and the rationale or "product(s)" of that choice become what they share with the world, that is, their "contributions" to society. ...Even if such "products" are not genius-level works of art, or "functional" in an economic sense - they are still valid and important. Such contributions as yours help other individuals to survive, and sometimes, to flourish - and conceivably, might be essential to our survival as a species...




sofi - I'm wondering if the real problem might be be with the environment, not the individual. ...Meaning it's the environment / system that requires treatment (modification).

loam
RE: "modification"
Maybe it's just semantics, but I have less of a visceral negative reaction to the terms 'amelioration' or 'restoration' in the context of environmental change strategy.



Oh loam. Did you get that I was trying to be subtle, discrete? That I meant the economic/political system needs to be "modified"? Not the physical environment? Because the system doesn't recognize the validity of anything that can't be measured monetarily? ...That I'm trying to avoid using the "R" word?





sofi - "Environment" is a big, broad concept, and I use it here in its broadest sense - physical, psychological, financial, cultural, and more. I mean the chemicals contaminating our water, food and other consumer products. I mean our economic system and "consumer culture" as environmental forces that determine how we live and what we do - what we care about and why we care. If we do.

loam
RE: ..."environmental impact on psychological behavior unrelated to the physical contamination of the organism:

Environmental psychology



Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field focused on the interplay between humans and their surroundings. The field defines the term environment broadly encompassing natural environments, social settings, built environments, learning environments, and informational environments.




Yes. More please.



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 11:25 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
RE: Major Depression

I've just gone back to an old book, Solitude: A Return to the Self, written in 1988 by Dr. Anthony Storr...explores the connection between solitude and creativity - "analyzing" geniuses like Beethoven, Henry James, Goya, Wittgenstein, Kipling and Beatrix Potter - looks at how depression, mental illness and life circumstances can force people into being alone, and how such solitude supports/causes creativity.

True, we're not all creative geniuses - but I think we need to re-define what it means to be "productive."


I don't actually question whether episodes of depressed mood are functional, in fact the opposite. Perhaps it's my lack of clarity...

When I say non-adaptive, I do purely mean from an evolutionary point of view - that is, producing babies, spreading thy genes into the next generation. I agree that creativity is important and adaptive, I mentioned it earlier. I also know that studies associate certain conditions with creativity and also enhanced reproductivity. For example, the creative types (artists etc) do well in the getting jiggy department (data shows this). However...

The above has been shown for schizotypy, for example. But schizophrenia is not adaptive. It doesn't help reproduction compared to those without the condition (data shows this) -especially as it develops around the period of sexual maturity. The issue is that schizophrenia is consistent across all cultures at a pretty consistent level - thus, we would look for a reason for its maintenance in the population. People with schizophrenia don't do well in the evolutionary stakes, but those with the associated subclinical condition, schizotypy, do. Hence it makes sense that the benefits of creative traits found in varying levels of schizotypy (i.e., a varying personality trait in the population), outweigh the costs in the few with schizophrenia (the extreme).

I wouldn't be surprised to see a similar association for MDD. There are ways to study this, not as easy these days (due to contraception, so depends on self-report - number of partners etc). Just the high levels of self-harm in MDD (cf. general population) is suggestive that it's not entirely helpful to passing genes on (e.g., 3400/100000 suicide in MDD, 11/100000 in population [USA]). But, perhaps others with the condition do well enough to make up for losses cf. general population. It's a question I haven't seen answered at this point.

ABE: Heritability of MDD is somewhere around .37-.79 (moderate to strong). There is an environmental influence, but genetics are important.
VVV

[edit on 16-11-2009 by melatonin]



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 11:37 AM
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Depression is caused by inadequate diet, simple as that. Notice how the most unhealthy on earth (Americans) have the highest cases of depression?



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 06:24 PM
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Originally posted by melatonin

Originally posted by soficrow
RE: Major Depression
...
True, we're not all creative geniuses - but I think we need to re-define what it means to be "productive."


I don't actually question whether episodes of depressed mood are functional, in fact the opposite. Perhaps it's my lack of clarity...

When I say non-adaptive, I do purely mean from an evolutionary point of view - that is, producing babies, spreading thy genes into the next generation.


Okay, but.


Leaving aside my questions about the legitimacy of using economic contribution as the sole measure of "productivity," and (only partly) for the sake of argument...

I don't think man's evolutionary path can or should be measured solely in terms of DNA and progeny.

Much -if not most- of what makes us human is NOT hard-wired - it's not "instinctive" or "genetic." We have to learn social behavior, cultural values, personal and professional skills.

Civilization is a product of our software - not our hardware.

So arguably, all humanity can benefit from a depressed person's solitude, insight and perspectives - the products of depressed thinking. When a society respects such products, as art or writing or film, the acceptance and assimilation promises adaptation - in the sense that acknowledging truth leads to adaptive behavior.

Make sense?



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 06:32 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow
Civilization is a product of our software - not our hardware.


You're a genius...!

Thank you for that...this impacts my other topics of consideration. Thanks!!\

And so succinct...



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 06:37 PM
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Originally posted by melatonin
True, but the adaptiveness of the way I'm trying to pose such traits is that those who have the capacity for temporary mild depression have positive features in certain circumstances which aid survival and reproduction. The downside of these traits is that some just get 'too much' capacity, leading to non-adaptive behaviours (chronic major depression). However, across the population, the adaptive benefits in the many outweigh the costs in the non-adaptive few (same for sickle-cell, particular genes underpin resistance to malaria in many, but a few result with a detrimental condition)

But hopefully you can see that as social beings we shouldn't fall into the naturalistic fallacy and ignore their condition.


Perhaps there is something to be said here for the adaptation of altruistic behaviour...just a brief thought that I want to look into prior to going all in depth. Interesting though...




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