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We’ve Got Depression All Wrong. It’s Trying to Save Us.

psychologytoday.com

Depression Might Be a Biological Survival Strategy

More and more researchers across specialties are questioning our current definitions of depression. Biological anthropologists have argued that depression is an adaptive response to adversity and not a mental disorder.

According to the Polyvagal Theory of the autonomic nervous system, dep...

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Depression Starts with Immobilization

Our autonomic nervous system is constantly scanning our internal and external environment for signs of danger. If it detects a threat, its next strategy is the fight or flight response which we often feel as anxiety.

Sometimes the threat is so bad or goes on for so long, that the nervous...

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Ways In Which Immobilization Helps

The Immobilization response is a key part of the biological defense:

  • It dulls pain and makes us feel disconnected. People often describe feeling "out of their bodies" during traumatic events, which has a defensive effect of cushioning the emotional shock....

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If depression is the emotional expression of the immobilization response, then the solution is to move out of that state of defense, But how?

Removing the threat is not enough to move out of that state of defense. Rather, the nervous system has to detect robust signals of safety

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When people who are depressed learn that they are not damaged, but have a good biological system that is trying to help them survive, they begin to see themselves differently. After all, depression is notorious for the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. But if depression is an act...

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