Is society tolerante of clinical depression ?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by MAJOR METAL, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. Scarlet Fire

    Scarlet Fire

    Mar 31, 2007
    New England

    Bingo. A lot of people can't seem to wrap their heads around this idea.
  2. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    hey, i remember this thread from a year and a half ago.

  3. +1
  4. Basshole

    Basshole Inactive

    Jan 28, 2005
    It's over-diagnosed. There is a thing called "life suckage", after all. Not everybody has an easy time of it. Sometimes life just sucks, and it doesn't go your way. Doesn't mean you have a chemical imbalance.
  5. *smb


    Nov 26, 2006
    Some people are very understanding and tolerant, others are very closed-minded and judgemental. I got diagnosed with major depression almost a year ago, and then when I reacted badly to the medication was re-diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I had very mixed responses from the people I told - I split up with my girlfriend of nearly three years and we haven't spoken since. My mother said "You don't have bipolar - you're just extremely moody! Did you tell the doctor that?" I think she missed the point there! A lot of my close friends admitted they weren't surprised and had thought it likely a long time but hadn't wanted to raise the subject. On the other hand, there are many people who were close friends a year ago who I'm not in contact with any more who were very ignorant and quick to judge, generally they sided with my ex. I'm definitely better off without those people!

    So in answer to MM's question, some people are fantastic and others are totally useless, or at least they were in my experience.
  6. SpankyPants

    SpankyPants That's Mr. SpankyPants to you.

    Aug 24, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    It's ideologies like this that make people ignorant and intolerant.

    Yes, in some cases it's misdiagnosed, like millions of other diseases. This doesn't make it any less valid or difficult. It's still very much an illness that afflicts millions of people.


    This is an extremely important point. The people that I have quoted are referring to being "down." Some point in their life that they've felt sad, they assume it's depression. People like that assume that since it was easy for them to overcome it, it should be easy for anyone else who's "sad" to magically make themselves feel better. These are the close-minded people to which *smb was referring.

    I guess I'm not speculating the tolerance of society regarding depression as much as I'm talking about the ignorance of society.

    A real, clinical depression is NOT something that you can just choose to be done with. It's NOT a matter of acting happy to BE happy. Depression is a serious, serious thing. You can't pretend like you have "mind over matter" in this situation, because your mind isn't the same in a real depression. Things are cloudy and difficult. You aren't the same person anymore.

    So I'm going to give my own +1 to Scarlet. As young as he may be, he seems to have a much stronger grasp on what depression is than many.
  7. Scarlet Fire

    Scarlet Fire

    Mar 31, 2007
    New England
    Spanky, thank you for explaining what I wasn't able to.

    Clinical depression is a physiological illness. It's caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters and is treated by boosting levels of these chemicals (such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, etc.) It is NOT just being "sad." In fact, sadness is just one of the symptoms that clinical depression can manifest itself through. Anxiety, aggression, suicidal thoughts, and even physical aches and pains are all symptoms of true clinical depression. One cannot simply "think" his or her way out of this, and to think that one can is absolutely asinine.

    Major Depression, Bipolar, etc. are not issues to be taken lightly. My Major Depression was bad enough that I had to be tested for schizophrenia and psychosis because I was having some severe neurotic episodes.

    Unfortunately, most people aren't able to understand this. It's because of these people that look at it all with a "stop being sad" attitude that those of us who truly have an illness need to put up with so much crap.
  8. wdinc01


    Nov 19, 2005
    Jacksonville, FL
    I'll admit, I'm not very empathetic towards depressed people, since I'm usually in a good mood. So whenever someone tells me that they have to take pills for their depression or their bi-polar or something, I keep my mouth shut, but I usually think "Right, of course you are."

    Of course, I'm a teenager, so most of these people are around my age. I don't really understand clinical depression, and I'm not sure they do either.
  9. SpankyPants

    SpankyPants That's Mr. SpankyPants to you.

    Aug 24, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    You are in good company. The majority of people don't understand it because it's not something that has a physical manifestation. You can't look at someone and tell they're depressed. They look like normal people, so associating them with an illness isn't easy for a lot of people.
  10. The same reason Zyban (stop smoking drug) and Wellbutrin (antidepressant) are the EXACT same chemical, but you'll never see an association with an antidepressant from the stop-smoking ad campaign, and why they are completely marketed as different drugs. :rollno:

    This I would respectfully disagree with.

    Same here. Bachelors in Psych and Soc, Masters in M.H. Counseling, and one class shy of a Masters in School Counseling.
  11. *smb


    Nov 26, 2006
    I think a major problem is that those not affected associate depression/BD with just feeling sad and miserable when there are a whole host of other symptoms that are hard to explain to people. I think the biggest issue I have is never feeling a sense of achievement when I get something done or pass my exams or whatever, or realising that I'm feeling the wrong emotion for the situation. I've also had hallucinations and delusions - when I was living in the house on my own for months over the summer I totally lost the plot a number of times. I went a week thinking I'd won the lottery but couldn't tell anyone before realising that I'd never even bought a ticket. I overdosed on my medication unintentionally at one point because I kept having panic attacks and thought I'd missed a dose and taking it again - I was unconscious for a few days and my housemates claimed the didn't realise I was around but I think the truth is when I'm freaking out I do scare them a lot and they just want to keep away. The lack of emotion made me do stupid things too like jumping out in front of cars just to feel a rush when they swerve to avoid me, or sleeping rough for no reason. For me at least, feeling miserable most of the time is the smallest part of the problem.
  12. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    People who have genuine mental disorders (as opposed to character defects) generally are treated with less than the compassion and understanding they deserve. It would be great if that understanding and compassion would be more universal, just like it would be great if bigotry and jingoism would disappear. As long as people are people, I don't foresee this happening anytime soon.

    It's unfortunate that there are many who are willing to exploit the label of "illness" for their own gain and, like those who call everything that goes against their pet cause a "crisis" or even a "holocaust", create mistrust and resentment against the genuinely ill.

    I seriously doubt that 25% of all people are actually mentally ill, unless you include every form of behavior that people engage in that isn't necessarily in our best interest but, nevertheless, is typical of normal human behavior in a difficult world. It's shameful how much of a material benefit there is to being labeled as ADHD (get ready for this to happen to autism) and the proliferation of this is detrimental to those who have a valid illness. It started with alcoholism as a disease of the blameless victim, and should have been discredited there.
  13. TbassEpi27


    Aug 6, 2007
    While it is true that people are over diagnosed, that doesn't mean the rest of us who are truly having problems should be put anywhere near the same category. And while some small amount of people can just will things away, the rest of us cannot simply tell our brains to release the correct amounts and the correct types of chemicals to normalize ourselves. I wish I could. I try to be understanding to people who don't know or don't understand, but there is a difference between being willing to understand and assuming your right. I wouldn't pretend I know what it's like to be deaf and mute nor would I expect them to "walk it off". Sorry if I come across angry, I'm not, I just want to give an inside perspective. Also sorry for the length, just trying to explain myself the best I can.
  14. Depending how severe it is, a sufferers brain could possibly become used to the chemical imbalance. Biological systems can be pretty fluid, they can become more sensitive and less sensitive when there is a lack or excess (respectivley).

    Granted, i wont for a second say i know a huge deal about the in's and out's, but, just food for thought, about why not everyone needs pills
  15. I would like to throw in my two cents (and my own story) here. I fully agree that it diagnosing clinical depression as a disease is probably over-diagnosed. But those people who say things like "Just cheer up" and "Life is hard but you'll make it" don't really understand things.

    Take for instance, me. In my sophmore year of high school my girlfriend dumped me. I was depressed and kept getting more depressed. Due to the fact that i could point to an external cause, I thought i was just going to get over it eventually. When people at school started noticing me feeling down, I had a meeting with the school counselor who talked to me and gave me some quick tests and told me "You're having a rough time right now and i'm sorry. But life gets better so you'll start feeling better soon." I believed this and repeated it to myself so many times...until I started losing it and having mental episodes and severe thoughts of suicide (take into account this is almost a full 8 months after the breakup). After I had amassed more than a fair share of self-inflicted scars, my parents finally noticed and took me to an actual psychiatrist. He told me I had real clinical depression and that I needed to be on meds and in counseling.

    I spent the better part of two and a half years on meds and in counseling. The meds helped me get back on a normal track of life and the counseling (although it helped me get back to life also) primarily helped me slowly work my way to where I didn't need the meds anymore. Now i've been off for about a year and a half and haven't had any big problems. Even got through my next break-up with minimal drama and no severe depression.

    And to think, I could've dealt with much less of this had I only been told (by anyone) that my family has a LONG history of clinical depression.

    This is a cause near and dear to my heart and I would like to refute anyone who thinks that meds for depression is just a cop out.
  16. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    You're right and this can greatly upset people. My wife often gets told at the hospital (often by nurses of all people) that she doesn't look sick. This upsets her greatly. Physically she looks fine, she's a thin, athletic 23 year-old. Her depression has been so bad this year (coupled with post-traumatic stress disorder) that she's been in the hospital for 5 of the last 12 months.

    My experience in talking with my friends about the situation is that they are pretty understanding. If there are any who think that my wife should just get over it they are at least sensitive enough to keep their mouths shut about it.
  17. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    Dan Favor: He suffered from manic depression and committed suicide in 1999 after deciding to abandon his medicine due to the adverse side effects. A former housemate and friend of mine for the short time I knew him, I remember he was well liked and had many friends. He also had the support of his family as well as the best of modern medicine. His medical problem was no more his fault than if he had developed brain cancer. His death affected many people, including her sister who was an Olympic runner, and it had far reaching consequences. Many people who suffer from mental illness as he did deserve compassion and understanding.

  18. - this NIMH estimate is based on quite a lot of empirical data. it does not include typical and yet disadvantageous behavior (as you suggest), but is rather indexed specifically to what can be diagnosed according to DSM-IV standards. 70-80 million americans meet the diagnostic criteria for one or more recognized mental illnesses. -

    - perhaps you could clue us in as to the "material benefits" of ADHD? if your talking about special education services, they hardly count as a benefit; they are supposed to "level the playing field" so to speak, but rarely accomplish even this except in extraordinary cases of competent advocacy on the student's behalf.

    - also, your statement (above) suggests that ADHD (and autism, and alcoholism) are not "valid illnesses." in fact, while ADHD and autism are recognized physiological conditions, neither is considered strictly to be an "illness." ADHD is a disorder, and autism includes a very large "spectrum" of different conditions and disorders.

    - alcoholism (and other addictions) are medically diagnosable illnesses according to specific criteria. if you have compelling reasons to doubt this, you should send them to the Journal of the American Medical Assoc., they'd be most interested...
  19. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois

    I've read this and I stand by my assertion that the definition of mental illness used is too broad. The Surgeon General's report (located at the NIMH site) addresses this criticism specifically.

    An excerpt:

    Mental illness is a term rooted in history that refers collectively to all of the diagnosable mental disorders. Mental disorders are characterized by abnormalities in cognition, emotion or mood, or the highest integrative aspects of behavior, such as social interactions or planning of future activities. These mental functions are all mediated by the brain. It is, in fact, a core tenet of modern science that behavior and our subjective mental lives reflect the overall workings of the brain. Thus, symptoms related to behavior or our mental lives clearly reflect variations or abnormalities in brain function. On the more difficult side of the ledger are the terms disorder, disease, or illness. There can be no doubt that an individual with schizophrenia is seriously ill, but for other mental disorders such as depression or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, the signs and symptoms exist on a continuum and there is no bright line separating health from illness, distress from disease. Moreover, the manifestations of mental disorders vary with age, gender, race, and culture. The thresholds of mental illness or disorder have, indeed, been set by convention, but the fact is that this gray zone is no different from any other area of medicine. Ten years ago a serum cholesterol of 200 was considered normal. Today, this same number alarms some physicians and may lead to treatment. Perhaps every adult in the United States has some atherosclerosis, but at what point does this move along a continuum from normal into the realm of illness? Ultimately, the dividing line has to do with severity of symptoms, duration, and functional impairment.

    Material benefits to the diagnosis of ADHD is a benefit to the parents and teachers of kids diagnosed with ADHD. It relieves them of the sense of responsibility for their children's inappropriate behavior or inadequate performance.

    I'm aware of how ADHD is classified as a behavioral disorder, and that autism encompasses a wide array of conditions. These broad definitions permit abuse of diagnosis (though not necessarily purposefully so) to the detriment of those who genuinely suffer from ADHD and autism. And while alcohol addiction is sometimes a physical illness, it's also a personal choice.

    Clinical depression is definitely a genuine problem and I'm not downplaying its seriousness, nor the seriousness of the other conditions discussed. I'm only saying that there is a powerful motivation in today's society for as many people as possible to be included among the victim class via medical condition.
  20. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    Then you didn't have clinical depression.
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