Wednesday, September 18, 2013

We need to take depression seriously.

I was listening CBC talk radio during a drive when the topic of depression was being discussed

The stats speak for themselves:

  • TWENTY BILLION / yr globally spent on treatment of depression  
  • 265 MILLION prescriptions in the USA alone in 2011.
  • #2 greatest disability worldwide by 2020
  • biggest new market is pets (eg: dogs who suffer from separation anxiety)
The discussion focused on the efficacy of the studies conducted, debated whether depression diagnosis was biologically based or a placebo and questioned the validity of industry hired psychiatrists to write the evidence based literature for the studies. All very interesting, but none answering the question that came to my mind: why are so many people unhappy? 

I have my own theory for why people are generally unhappy (not taking away anything from the realities of chemical imbalances) and it goes something like this: 
  • From an early age people are measured against a fictitious notion of perfect, repeatedly marketed this contrived perfection & spend a great deal of their adolescence, early & late adulthood failing to achieve it. 
  • This, and the combination of being sheltered from adversity leads us to think we’re not good enough / failures and well, lets just [insert intervention here] that's marketed to make us feel better. Instead of focusing on the things we are proficient at, we waste time doing things we're not meant to, chasing things we're not meant to and being things we're not meant to.
  • There's another theory about a particular group - the gen Y's which is also worth a read. It revolves around expectations
More people would likely be happier if/when they are empowered & supported to find THEIR OWN standard of happy.... and maximize that.  What do we like? What are we good at? How are we measuring up to ourselves at this time last year, the year before etc etc. 

Of course, the conversation is more complex than he few suggestions outlined here, but what’s undeniable is the need to take the condition of depression seriously while examining all the contributing factors if we want to become more happy, productive, thriving species. 

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