Claiming That Something Is Real Does Not Make It So: Evidence Is Required
As a general rule, asserting that something exists does not of itself demonstrate that it exists. In order for something to be accepted as real, as a fact, confirmatory evidence is required.
This is perhaps even more relevant in situations where there is considerable trust, since high levels of trust can lull us into complacency regarding our instinctive need to check things out, to be sure that what we are being told is indeed correct.
High levels of trust – the medical profession are one of the most highly trusted professions worldwide – can also lead us to assume that those we trust have no vested interest, objective, and that their words can be taken as correct and true without a need to test their veracity.
I learned years ago that these were risky assumptions to make, particularly in relation to psychiatry. As I discuss elsewhere, psychiatry is far from objective, being heavily invested in its own priorities. For example, the repeatedly-stated assertion that so-called psychiatric disorders are fundamentally biological in nature is based not on the fact that such claims are true – they are not.
So, to check the veracity to mainstream psychiatry claims that depression is a real medical illness, it is better to look to objective sources, that have no gain from and no vested interest in claiming depression to be a medical illness.
Myth: It’s Not A Real Illness
Depression is a serious medical condition — and the top cause of disability in American adults. But it’s still confused with ordinary sadness. Biological evidence of the illness comes from studies of genetics, hormones, nerve cell receptors, and brain functioning. Nerve circuits in brain areas that regulate mood appear to function abnormally in depression.
This Is Proof That Depression Is Real #suicideprevention
The news of Kate Spades suicide hit me hard. Then hearing this morning of Anthony Bourdains suicide was another mind-numbing blow.
Its not that I find suicide shocking, really
I battle depression daily. I faced suicidal depression in my early twenties and fantasized about escape from my inner pain. Medication and therapy saved my life and enable me to continue my fight daily.
But even though I live with this strange beast of depression, it is so hard to comprehend celebrities who appear to have everything killing themselves.
Recommended Reading: Behavioral Strategies To Overcome Depression
How Is Depression Treated
Depression treatment typically involves medication, psychotherapy, or both. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, brain stimulation therapy may be another treatment option. In milder cases of depression, treatment might begin with psychotherapy alone, and medication added if the individual continues to experience symptoms. For moderate or severe depression, many mental health professionals recommend a combination of medication and therapy at the start of treatment.
Choosing the right treatment plan should be based on a persons individual needs and medical situation under a providers care. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you. You can learn more about the different types of treatment, including psychotherapy, medication, and brain stimulation therapies on the NIMH’s depression webpage. For information on finding a mental health professional and questions to ask when considering therapy, visit NIMHs psychotherapies webpage.
A New Framework For Understanding The Causes Of Depression
Chemical imbalances, genetics, and stress are all risk factors that play a supporting role in a much larger picture of depression. To fully understand the biological causes of depression, we have to use a bigger lens to look beyond the brain at the different body systems involved and their complex interactions.
While this may seem overwhelming at first, it gives us a reason to be hopeful. Because there are so many possible causes of depression, this means that there are just as many opportunities for healing beyond talk therapy and medications. Partnering with a doctor who considers comprehensive testing and treatment and uses a functional medicine approach to mental health may help you better understand these possibilities and find new avenues for healing.
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Depression Is A Real Illness
You are not weak or crazy. Depression is a real illness that researchers believe is caused mainly by imbalances in certain chemicals within your brain called neurotransmitters. Some experts are even starting to frame depression as a systemic disease.
The following neurotransmitters play an important role in regulating your mood as well as being involved in many other functions throughout your body:
- Dopamine: Helps regulate emotion, memory, thinking, motivation, and reward
- Norepinephrine: What makes your heart rate and blood pressure sore during a “fight or flight” response or stressful time
- Serotonin: The “feel-good” chemical that helps regulate your mood and plays a role in your overall sense of well-being
Researchers are continuing to learn more about what causes these imbalances as well as other neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, GABA, and glutamate, which may also play a role in depression.
How Can I Take Care Of Myself
Once you begin treatment, you should gradually start to feel better. Go easy on yourself during this time. Try to do things you used to enjoy. Even if you dont feel like doing them, they can improve your mood. Other things that may help:
- Try to get some physical activity. Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost mood.
- Try to maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
- Eat regular, healthy meals.
- Do what you can as you can. Decide what must get done and what can wait.
- Try to connect with other people, and talk with people you trust about how you are feeling.
- Postpone important life decisions until you feel better.
- Avoid using alcohol, nicotine, or drugs, including medications not prescribed for you.
Also Check: Mental Hospital For Anxiety And Depression
Can Certain Drugs Cause Depression
In certain people, drugs may lead to depression. For example, medications such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and the acne drug isotretinoin have sometimes been linked with depression, especially in older people. Likewise, medications such as corticosteroids, opioids , and anticholinergics taken to relieve stomach cramping can sometimes cause changes and fluctuations in mood. Even blood pressure medications called beta-blockers have been linked to depression.
Be Prepared For Ignorant Questions And Outright Rejections
“But last week, at Emily’s wedding, you were smiling!””Oh, you’re just exaggerating for attention, stop it.””If you really wanted to stop being sad, you could.” These kinds of comments might be thrown at you. If possible, do not get into a position where these things could be said if you’re not ready to deal with it.
Chances are, you’ll have heard this sort of song-and-dance before. Rehearse answers, if rational answers can be had. For instance, explaining that depression can come and go, or outlining your own efforts to defeat depression with pure willpower . And minimize accusations of attention-seeking by having this conversation privately.
Read Also: Number One Cause Of Depression
The Role Of Stress In Depression
There is clear evidence showing that emotional and social stress can lead to clinical depression. While it may seem intuitive how stress can contribute to symptoms of depression, stress doesnt just make us feel overwhelmed and frazzled: it changes our biology.
Stress can trigger the release of hormones and other chemicals that affect many systems in the body. For example, stress can lead to inflammation, changes in blood sugar and the gut microbiome, and more.
When our bodies are not healthy, this response to stress can become exaggerated, leading to chronic or higher levels of inflammation and other changes. This can set the stage for depression.
Fact: Family History Is Not Destiny
If depression appears in your family tree, you’re more likely to experience it, too. But chances are you won’t. People with a family history can watch for early symptoms of depression and take positive action promptly — whether that means reducing stress, getting more exercise, counseling, or other professional treatment.
Read Also: How To Get Medicine For Depression
How Is Genetics Linked To The Risk Of Depression
We know that depression can sometimes run in families. This suggests that there’s at least a partial genetic link to depression. Children, siblings, and parents of people with severe depression are somewhat more likely to have depression than are members of the general population. Multiple genes interacting with one another in special ways probably contribute to the various types of depression that run in families. Yet despite the evidence of a family link to depression, it is unlikely that there is a single “depression” gene, but rather, many genes that each contribute small effects toward depression when they interact with the environment.
Risk Factors For Depression
Depression can affect anyoneeven a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances.
Several factors can play a role in depression:
- Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
- Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
- Personality: People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.
- Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.
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Treating Severe Depression With On
UCSF Team Provides Immediate, Long-Term Relief for Patients Symptoms
ByRobin MarksPhoto by Maurice Ramirez
UCSF Health physicians have successfully treated a patient with severe depression by tapping into the specific brain circuit involved in depressive brain patterns and resetting them using the equivalent of a pacemaker for the brain.
The study, which appears in the Oct. 4, 2021, issue of Nature Medicine, represents a landmark success in the years-long effort to apply advances in neuroscience to the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
This study points the way to a new paradigm that is desperately needed in psychiatry, said Andrew Krystal, PhD, professor of psychiatry and member of the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences. Weve developed a precision-medicine approach that has successfully managed our patients treatment-resistant depression by identifying and modulating the circuit in her brain thats uniquely associated with her symptoms.
I was at the end of the line. I was severely depressed. I could not see myself continuing if this was all Id be able to do, if I could never move beyond this. It was not a life worth living.
I was at the end of the line, said the patient, who asked to be known by her first name, Sarah. I was severely depressed. I could not see myself continuing if this was all Id be able to do, if I could never move beyond this. It was not a life worth living.
It Is Proof That Depression Is Real
The trouble with the term depression is that its so watered down. Everyone feels depressed sometimes, but thats not the same thing as true depression.
You cant buy your way out of depression. You cant travel your way out of depression. You cant just snap out of depression.
If the suicide of celebrities teaches us one thing its that depression is incredibly real.
Celebrities have access to medical help and everything that we can imagine would make us happy.
So if celebrities lose their battles with depression and commit suicide, please can we all start to believe our family and friends when they are depressed.
Depression is real.
Mental health matters and we need to get rid of the stigma, start talking about it, and stop judging people who are battling a beast so brutal it can cause those who have everything to give up everything.
Ive written before about how to survive depression. Please read that post so you can perhaps help yourself or someone else get through one day and then another and then another until the pain isnt quite so bad.
The tragedy of suicide is unlike anything else. It feels so avoidable to those left behind. But I beg of you to not judge those who lost their battle. Instead, let us all be reminded that depression is real.
Canadian National Suicide Hotline number: 1-833-456-4566
Talk with me: and Pin with me at
Read Also: I Feel So Empty And Depressed
Is Depression Linked To Chronic Pain
When pain lingers for weeks to months, it’s called “chronic.” Not only does chronic pain hurt, it disturbs your sleep, your ability to exercise and be active, your relationships, and your productivity at work. Can you see how chronic pain may also leave you feeling sad, isolated, and depressed?
There is help for chronic pain and depression. A multifaceted program of medicine, psychotherapy, support groups, and more can help you manage your pain, ease your depression, and get your life back on track.
Antidepressants Always Cure Depression
Depression is treatable. Among other interventions, your doctor may prescribe antidepressant medications. These drugs alter your brain chemistry. They can help address deep-rooted biological issues that may be contributing to your condition.
But for many people, antidepressants alone arent enough. Your doctor may also recommend psychotherapy or talk therapy. Combining medications with talk therapy is a common treatment strategy.
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Myth: Hard Work Beats Depression
Depression affects nearly one in six people at some point in their lives, so folk remedies and half-truths about this common illness abound. One such idea: throw yourself into work and you’ll feel better. For a mild case of the blues, this may indeed help, but depression is a different animal. Overworking can actually be a sign of clinical depression, especially in men.
Mental Health Diseases Are Real
Mental illnesses have been identified as long as there has been written, medical accounts. In fact, it was in 400 B.C. when Greek physician, Hippocrates, first started treating mental illness as physical diseases. While it took a long time for medicine to finally be able to reliably diagnose many mental illnesses, modern medicine now clearly defines mental disorders as diseases and part of their origin is biological.
One psychiatrist, Dr. Jim Phelps, says:
Depression is not a moral weakness. Some people are more susceptible than others even before they are born . . . genetic and molecular proof. You have to cope with whatever genes and childhood you inherited, but it’s not a “level playing field.” Some people start the race ahead of others, some way behind .
Also Check: Major Depressive Disorder Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Have The Science On Hand
This won’t help for everybody, but if they’re the kind of people to pay attention to facts and figures, have studies and respectable websites on hand to prove that it exists.
I once overheard a father tell his daughter a meant-to-be-helpful story about a coworker who “thought he was depressed, and he walked around all day so sad, so upset, but then he went home and it was just gas!” Science may not be able to combat that kind of thinking, but a link to the Royal College Of Psychiatrists, the Washington School of Medicine, or even the World Health Organization may come in handy. WHO lays out the devastating fact that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression, the Washington School points out that 17.5 million Americans have some form , and the RSP outlines the benefits of common treatments.
Is Depression Caused By A Chemical Imbalance
If you think the answer is yes, youre not alone. According to one survey, over 80% of people think that depression is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain.
While it is true that low levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin or norepinephrine can play a role in depression for some people, this is only one piece of a much larger puzzle. In fact, the chemical imbalance theory has not been proven as the main cause of depression in over 50 years of research. Multiple studies have found that decreasing the levels of tryptophan has not consistently led to depression or other mood disorders.
While simple explanations like the chemical imbalance theory may be easy to understand, they dont capture the whole picture of the brains activity and relationship to the rest of the body. New research shows how the brain is more like a complex computational system with intricate networks and connections.
When It Comes To Depression, Serotonin Isn’t The Whole Story NPR
Antidepressant medications like SSRIs target chemical imbalances in the brain, such as low serotonin or norepinephrine activity or other dysregulated levels of neurotransmitters. While this has been helpful for some people, one study found that only 46% of patients get fully well when receiving a combination of antidepressants and talk therapy.
In order to help those who havent improved with antidepressants, we have to look beyond the chemical imbalance theory to other causes of depression.
Read Also: I Feel So Lonely And Depressed
The Brain Foundation :
As the following statements from their website affirm, The Brain Foundation is an independent objective organisation:
The Brain Foundation explicitly focuses on neurological disorders, brain disease and brain injuries, as the diagram above clearly illustrates.
The Brain Foundation website contains a list of brain diseases and disorders, organised in user-friendly fashion in alphabetical order. If depression is a known and scientifically verified brain disease/disorder, then of course depression would be included in this list.
The following screenshot from the Brain Foundation website includes brain diseases/disorders beginning with the letters ‘B’ through to ‘F’. No mention of depression under ‘d’ here. Several of the conditions listed under ‘d’ occur far less commonly than depression is claimed to occur.
Depression is not included in this list because it is not a known and verified medical brain disorder.