I was doing a little blog scanning this morning and I came upon an interesting article on Alternet entitled "Are Antidepressants a Scam?" link.
The article makes some points which support my belief that the psycho-pharmaceutical industry peddles expensive medications which are often unhelpful to patients (read: people), and which in the case of antidepressants may be no more effective than sugar pills.
One quote caught my eye and relates directly to my last post on depressive realism:
From several classic studies, we know that moderately depressed people are, in a sense, more critically thinking than are nondepressed people. These studies show that depressed people are more accurate than are nondepressed people in both their assessment of control over events and in judging people’s attitudes toward them. Researchers Lauren Alloy and Lyn Abramson at the University of Pennsylvania in 1979, studying nondepressed and depressed subjects who played a rigged game in which they had no actual control, found that depressed subjects more accurately evaluated their lack of control when either losing or winning. And researcher Peter Lewinsohn at the University of Oregon in 1980, found that depressed subjects judge other people’s attitudes toward them more accurately than nondepressed subjects.
Emotional reactions, and I believe that "depression" is often a prolonged emotional reaction and not a "disorder" in the true sense of the word (e.g. schizophrenia), are God's/evolution's way of alerting our conscious brains and those close to us that something is wrong in our lives. While sadness may be ourbrain's reaction to temporary stressors/problems, depression represents a reaction to the presence of long-term problems in our lives.
It is my firm believe that for most people the "cure" for depression is remedying those things which are wrong in our lives to the extent we can to do so (e.g. becoming physically healthy, improving interpersonal relationships) and perhaps more importantly, developing a healthy philosophy of life and a hopeful outlook towards one's own future.
The article speaks to this as well:
In The Thought and Character of William James, Ralph Barton Perry’s classic biography on his teacher, in the chapter “Depression and Recovery,” we learn that James at age 27 described himself as going through a period of a “disgust for life” in which Perry describes as an “ebbing of the will to live. . . . a personal crisis that could only be relieved by philosophical insight.” What was James’s transformative insight?
James was a critical thinker and had no stomach for smiley-faced positive thinking, but he also concluded that his pessimism might just destroy him. With his critical thinking, he came quite pragmatically to “believe in belief.” He continued to maintain that one cannot choose to believe in whatever one wants (one cannot choose to believe that 2 + 2 = 5); however, he concluded that there is a range of human experience in which one can choose beliefs. He came to understand that, “Faith in a fact can help create the fact.” So, for example, abelief that one “has a significant contribution to make to the world” can keep one from committing suicide during a period of deep despair, and remaining alive makes it possible to in fact make a significant contribution.
Believe in belief.