Depression and anxiety are states that have no boundaries – no financial boundaries, not societal boundaries, no cultural boundaries. Any one any where in the world can be struck with the symptoms of depression at any time during their life.
What Are The Signs Of Depression
Anyone who has suffered from ‘the black dog’ as so many people refer to it will recognise when depression is about to descend.It was Sir Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister who first coined the black dog phrase, referring to his depression as always there, lurking in the background.
Symptoms can be as much physical, as they are mental.According to the NHS website, depression symptoms include: continuous low mood and sadness, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, lack of motivation, constant anxiety, lack of energy, digestive issues, aches and pains.
The Causes Of Depression
There is still a lot of debate as to the causes of depression. For decades the medical community has claimed that depression is causes by a chemical imbalance in the brain – a physical illness that can be reversed through medication. However, over the last few years this theory has been rigorously contested in many professional circles.
The argument is that, despite the decades of research and study, there is not one peer reviewed paper that can categorically state that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance of the brain. Indeed, when you consult a doctor, there are no physical diagnostic tests that you undergo to conform a diagnosis. Instead, the doctor will ask you a series of subjective questions and make a decision based on their perception of your answers.
Situational Causes Of Depression
However, there is a growing body of clinicians who are reviewing depressive symptoms as a result of an individual’s situational and psychological reaction to circumstances. When you consider that those living in poverty are more than twice as likely to suffer from depression that their wealthier counterparts, it stands to reason that they are probably coping with struggles and challenges that are more prevalent in poorer households.
This does not preclude levels of depression in wealthier households. Just because for women and men, access to designer jewellery, exotic holidays, and ample money in the bank that provide comfort from the harsher realities of life, if those individuals have had adverse childhoods or undergone abuse in some form, then they are more likely to suffer from depression.
It cannot be denied that ‘curing’ depression is a multi billion dollar industry. Since 1988, antidepressant prescribing in the US has increased by nearly 400 per cent, yet incidences of depression among adults and children in the states has significantly increased, not decreased, as a result. One on four adults is now likely to be experiencing symptoms of depression, and this number has been steadily increasing year on year. Similar figures are being seen in the UK, with rates of prescribing increasing by 35 per cent in more than six years.
The anomaly between increasing rates of pharmaceutical prescriptions alongside increasing rate of depression indicates that there is still a strong need to fully understand how depression is viewed and treated in the western world.
In the meantime there is a strong movement towards ‘social prescribing’, whereby medical professionals are urging individuals to get out and about, involve themselves in community activities, give back to more vulnerable groups. When there are feelings of hopelessness, one of the most powerful actions someone can take is to start rebuilding an overall sense of power and control bit by bit, giving a greater sense of purpose and focus.