Friday, February 13, 2009

The Anti-DSM Part 2 - The Good Side of Depression

This is my second instalment of Anti-DSM, this time focussing on depression.

A list of positive traits in depression:

1. Serves as a reminder that something is wrong.
2. Allows for serious self-reflection.
3. Gives the opportunity to recognise less healthy aspects of daily life in order to change them.
4. Gives your body and mind time to regain their strength to tackle stressful life situations.
5. Can lead to production of creative works.
6. Increases personal understanding of other people’s difficulties.
7. You can get lots of hugs.
8. Crying is physically good for you.
• The chemical composition of stress tears is different than that of non-emotional tears. Since tears, in the non-emotional realm, serve to secrete toxins and protect the eye, it is hypothesised that stress tears which secrete hormones associated with sadness work by the same mechanism.
9. Eating more can be healthy.
10. Being angry can allow you to vent built up feelings.

After I wrote this, I googled ‘depression good’ and found an interesting article of the positive health aspects of depression to which the author adds that depression is an evolutionary positive trait. However, and I don’t like to dispute any positive points in these articles, I do disagree about the non-benefits of anti-depressants. While studies may show that they are not statistically more effective than placebo, it is very obviously clinically beneficial, it’s just that each individual person responds differently to different types of medications. If you are on medication and want to stop, please talk to your doctor before discontinuing. Even if the medications aren’t helping, some of them need to be discontinued slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Also, look at this article in the LA Times Opinion section exploring Keats’ view of melancholy and its positive aspects.

(There are so many, I’m not going to list them…)


Info on depression, symptoms, treatment.

References: 1

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