- In 2012, an estimated 16 million adults aged 18 or older in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.This represented 6.9 percent of all U.S. adults.
This is a serious health problem that is commonly undiagnosed and untreated. Once a diagnosis is made, a pharmaceutical prescription is provided to “treat the depression.” I have two concerns with this approach.
- Has the root cause of the depression been determined and addressed?
- Was the prescribed medication provided as a solution or a method to “permanently stabilize” the patient diagnosed with depression?
What causes depression? The list of contributing factors is so extensive, that volumes of books and articles have already been written on the subject. With all this knowledge, why does it remain a pervasive problem?
It is my contention that this condition is a result of STARVATION. The medical profession attempts to address the diagnosis by altering brain chemistries with drugs. There are certainly times when this type of intervention is appropriate and necessary. However, how is this method of treatment addressing the root causes that lead to the depression? I could understand if this was part of an entire treatment protocol to help stabilize a person so that additional actions could be taken to resolve the underlying issues. It seems, however, that prescriptive medications have a tendency to be the all-encompassing treatment protocol.
What if we take a step backwards and view the patient as a WHOLE PERSON instead of a “disease?” What would be the factors causing STARVATION that would result in Depression?
- NUTRITION – Have the doctors considered the nutritional deficiencies that could lead to altered brain chemistry that could result in depression? When is the last time you heard a doctor discuss nutrition and its relationship with depression?
- LONELINESS – Doesn’t loneliness “starve” an individual of social interaction? Doesn’t loneliness have a tendency to cause people to withdraw creating a limited world to function in? How is loneliness typically addressed by families and society as a whole? How many times have you heard a person referred to as a “loner?” Do you believe its natural to want to isolate oneself from the rest of society?
- LACK OF OPPORTUNITY – We live in a world where an education is provided for us to develop the skills necessary to become employed and assume the responsibilities as adults. What if the environment that our schools and/or our families provide “starve” us of the opportunities for development and growth? Can you see where an environment that leads to increasing inhibitions and a lack of self-worth could cause depression? Can you see where role models may not exist in neighborhoods that need them the most? Can you see when opportunity is not present, that educational skills are utilized for adult SURVIVAL instead adult growth and advancement?
I have provided a very short list of reasons why depression may exist. The point of this article is not to list each and every cause of depression, but rather to help us view depression from a different perspective so that new methods can be developed to address the root causes providing each of us the opportunities we should be entitled to. I have listed one PHYSICAL reason, one EMOTIONAL reason and one UNFORTUNATE and UNNECESSARY reason that depression is as pervasive as it is. It is not acceptable to preach we live in the best country in the world, and allow this condition called DEPRESSION to afflict so many lives. I suggest we lift our heads from the sand and begin recognizing this very real disease and the countless ramifications it leads to. This is not just an individual disease; it is a disease fed by societal ignorance and dismissiveness. It has caused countless suffering to those suffering the disease AND those injured or killed by depressed individuals resulting from psychotic episodes.
STARVATION is a process that leads to slow gradual diminished capabilities causing insufferable pain and injury resulting in death. It is used as a means of torture in war. Don’t turn a blind eye and deaf ear from this condition. Start in your own home and see if the signs of depression exist. If they do, look for the underlying causes or seek help from a professional that can guide you to correct these underlying issues. Please, don’t simply medicate and pretend they don’t exist. This method hasn’t worked for our families or society in the past; what makes anyone think it will work in the future?