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Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?

Happy pills

Antidepressant prescription and eventually their doses have doubled over the past decade, yet depression and anxiety are spiraling out of control.

The real cause of depression does not seem to be completely inside our heads, and pill-popping is just a stop-gap measure, which may even be harmful.

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Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?

Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/07/is-everything-you-think-you-know-about-depression-wrong-johann-hari-lost-connections

theguardian.com

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Key Ideas

Depression and medication

Doctors for long treated depression as something inside your brain, which can be treated with meds, with no outside influence.

Certain exceptions (like losing a loved one and this leading to extreme depression) raised suspicion that this orthodox and old treatment of depression has always been wrong.

Isolated diagnosis

To treat someone who seemingly has depression, while isolating this from any other situation, event or circumstance that might have triggered it is a flawed way to diagnose a potential mental illness.

The root cause of the problem of depression is not addressed in this way.

About statistics

Drug companies fund loads of studies, yet publish a few favorable results, handpicked from the vast amount of varied data, hiding the rest, to show to the public that their drug works.

Antidepressants fact

Between 65 to 80% of people on antidepressants fall back to depression within one year.

Depression and serotonin

Attributing depression to spontaneously low serotonin is "deeply misleading and unscientific".

According to Dr. David Healy, there was never any basis for it, ever. It was just a marketing copy.

Causes of depression

Toxic environments, family problems, stressful situations, and unappreciated or meaningless work are the real causes of depression, and it is not really a problem with the brain.

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Effects of ordinary medication

There’s emerging evidence that ordinary medications - from paracetamol to antihistamines, statins, asthma medications, and antidepressants - can change our brains. They can make us impulsive...

The crisis of over-medication
  • The US buys an equivalent of 298 paracetamol tablets per person every year.
  • The average American consumes $1,200 worth of prescription medications over the same period.
  • In the UK, one in 10 people over the age of 65 takes eight medications every week.
Statins and personality changes 
  • People with lower cholesterol levels are more likely to die violent deaths.
  • If you put primates on a low-cholesterol diet, they become more aggressive. Lowering animals’ cholesterol seems to affect their levels of serotonin. Even fruit flies start fighting if you interfere with their serotonin levels.
  • Studies have linked serotonin levels in people to violence, impulsivity, suicide, and murder.
  • In a randomized controlled trial, statins were found to increase aggression in post-menopausal women though, oddly, not in men. Giving statins to Nile tilapia made them more confrontational and altered the levels of serotonin in their brains.

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Unhappiness vs Depression
Unhappiness vs Depression

Unhappiness and depression are on the same platform. They both are caused due to our disconnection from what makes us happy.

What we need to be Happy

Depression is caused by the lack of what we need to be happy:

  • We need to belong to a group. 
  • We need to be valued by other people.
  • We need to know that we are good at something.
  • We need to know we are secure in our future.
Soul-Destroying Work

If the work you're doing isn't meaningful, people are bound to get anxious, depressed and unhappy. The most stress-inducing is the work that is monotonous and boring.

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How depression is measured

Depression is often measured by scientists using something called the Hamilton Scale. It runs from 0 (where you are dancing in ecstasy) to 59 (where you are suicidal). 

Causes of depression

Many leading scientists believe the whole idea that depression is caused by a “chemically imbalanced” brain is wrong. 

There are in fact nine major causes of depression and anxiety that are unfolding all around us. Two are biological, and seven are out in here in the world, rather than sealed away inside our skulls.

Childhood trauma can cause depression

When you’re a child, you have very little power to change your environment. So, you have two choices.

  1. You can admit to yourself that you are powerless and there’s simply nothing you can do about it.
  2. You can tell yourself it’s your fault and at some strange level under your control. If you were responsible for being hurt, then at some level, you have to think you deserved it.

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