Is everything we know about depression wrong?


Edit:   I see that the Guardian has published an article by a neuroscientist taking apart the silly argument made in the article talked about below

Here is the takedown article :  Is Everything Johan Hari knows about depression wrong

End Edit


We have another submission to the long list of “Doctors are Idiots” articles.  In the Guardian, an author proclaims that all you have to do to conquer your depression is to follow his new life-style miracle cure of 9 steps.

Sigh, how wonderful that this author has found out another way to blame patients for their sickness.  If they will just get out in the sun, exercise more, form relationships with people… Blah blah blah, then they will cure their depression.

Sir, If my patients could do these things then THEY WOUNDN’T BE DEPRESSED.  The whole point about depression is that it deprives people of the ABILITY to “snap out of it.”  They can’t get up in the morning and go out into the sun. They can’t go to work and meet new people.  They can’t form relationships.  They can’t find new fun things to do.  They can’t eat healthy and sleep regularly and exercise and do fun things.

Oh, I know, you can’t imagine that can truly be impossible for a person to feel this way.  In feeling that way, you join the long list of friends and family of the patient who blame him for his own sickness.  You look at him from your high perch of self-righteous health and sneer because he lacks the emotional ability to approach your great healthy state.

You will feel that way until the day that it actually happens to you.  Then you will come running into my office for help.

I am glad you came.  Because I can help you.  I hope that you didn’t read a bunch of articles like this clueless authors.  I hope that you don’t believe his foolishness and fail to seek help.  Because the longer and more often you are depressed, the harder it is to help.

The author sets up a straw-man.  He claims that all psychiatrists just believe that depression is a serotonin problem.

GRRR.  No we don’t.  That is only one of the things that we believe.  We also believe that it is a norepenephrine problem and a dopamine problem and a 5HT1A problem and a host of other receptors and a relationship problem and a behavioral problem and a historical trauma problem.  I’m sorry that we can’t explain all of this to you in a 15 minute visit.   The books on depression are hundreds of pages long.  We are doing thousands of studies to find out more about it.

Just because it is not simple enough to explain in 3 minutes doesn’t mean we don’t know anything about how to treat it.

Let me put this simply.  If you or your loved one is unable to get up in the morning.  If they are talking about hurting themselves and quitting their jobs and isolating themselves,   If anyone start acting this way.  GET HELP NOW.

Don’t go running to your local pop-psych idiot who thinks he knows everything because he found out a little.  Go to a doctor.  We are actually keeping up with the literature and have a host of treatments that can help.