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Depression isn’t a problem, it’s a reaction

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Depression, anxiety and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) are not illnesses; instead they are natural responses to adversity, as suggested by the fact that one in five people in war-torn countries are depressed compared with just one in 14 in countries not in conflict.

Treating depression with a drug is like medicating for a broken bone without resetting the bone first, said Kristen Syme from Washington State University, one of the paper’s authors. “The pain is not the disease. The pain is the function that is telling you there is a problem. Depression, anxiety and PTSD often involve a threat or exposure to violence, which are predictable sources for these things that we call mental disease.”

Real progress in treating so-called mental health problems won’t be made until psychiatry changes its approach, and stops classifying them by their symptoms. Instead, they should be viewed

according to their probable causes and that they help the sufferer become aware that he or she needs help, and especially in their immediate environment.

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(Source: American Journal of Psychiatry, 2020; 171: 87; doi: 10.1002/ajpa.23965

Article Topics: mental disorder, Psychology
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