Is it really mental illness if we are sad and depressed?
Western Medicine will have us believe that many of us are sick in the head, because we are not happy and content with our lot. Is that mental illness, and should it be treated by drugs, especially when prescribed for many years even when given to a child?
Yet in Tibet and India, they do not even use such words as “anxiety, depression, bi-polar”!
The mind of a child is filled with visions of a future life as in the ‘fairy tales’ on TV.
When this does not unfold as expected, some become sad and disappointed.
Is it right to set up that bar for everyone to reach?
An ominous question one might say. Being sad and/or depressed is normal. It is the time of recovery that presents the question for the illness rather than sad and/or depressed as being the symptoms. With the profession of mental health it takes vast experience and learning to determine if being sad and/or depressed is a mental illness and cause. For instance the process of grieving giving cause for sadness and/or depression has variables especially with cause - divorce, job loss, death of an intimate friend or relative, and etc.
One can have a mental illness of being sad and/or depressed, yet it does not mean it is a lifetime diagnosis. It may be for 30 minutes, weeks, or even months. One must consider mental illness is in fact an illness just like a tummy ache is an illness. Yet, one must consider how that is derived upon professionally contrast/compare the layman. It is statistical determinations. Illness is determined by its definition. Illness correlates with sickness. Illness means "a condition of being unhealthy in your body or mind".
If 98.6% of the population is happy 98.6% of the time then statistically they are considered well or not ill. Those of the 1.4% who are not are assigned having an illness. It is presented as being obvious they simply are not well.
At question is duration within reasonable expectations for recovery. When one does not recover within a reasonable time it is then one may be assigned a diagnosis of depression as being chronic. Chronic means "(Of an illness) persisting for a long time or constantly recurring".
Western Medicine is transitioning today. Its is transforming becoming more eclectic. The term wellness is becoming more dominant rather than healthy. Wellness is much more inclusive while considering exclusive. Person's with a mental illness such as chronic depression can be well while having an illness. Therein is where upon complexity is arrived upon seeking simplicity.
One task at hand is the social factors, which can be vast. A person with a diagnosis of chronic depression may be productive, yet simply does not meet the standard(s) set by society, in which falls into the category of normal or those of the 98.6% who are happy 98.6% of the time. Another task is discovery of the actual society and culture one exists within. That offers the need of consideration quite possibly one with a chronic illness only requires a different society however large that is.
Then there is cause biologically . . .
Thanks for your response Tim Mitchell. My response had to go to an answering field, as I could not fit into the comment area.
MarieLB sharing is I have been officially diagnosed with Bipolar disorder since '93, although was diagnosed as cyclothymic at '86. I have a little experience said with respect. That is about 30yrs of experience while being in some kind of care.
There is a huge difference between situational depression and clinical depression. Situational depression is sadness over something. Everyone gets depressed over the loss of a loved one, disappointment in career or relationships, hundreds of things - yet we can overcome and rise above.
Clinical depression is an actual illness that many people have their whole life and have to be treated for it. Another medical term for clinical depression is "major depressive disorder" and it is a mental disorder.
There is a real misconception about depression and people need to know the seriousness of "major depressive disorder". Quite often a seriously ill person will be told to "just get over it!" Educating one's self on this condition can mean the difference between compassion and ignorance. Many people who are really ill are often deeply hurt by the ignorance of others.
You are absolutely correct Phyllic Doyle Burns. There is a big difference.
Would you say that there are times however, when a period of low spirits are "read" [by the doctor] as depression, schizophrenia or similar illnesses? Thanks again Phyllis.
I suppose there are still doctors around who are "pill pushers", but an experienced and professional doctor would send the patient to a psychiatrist for proper diagnosis based on APA diagnostic and symptoms standards. Thanks for asking, Maria.
Thank you for your thorough response Tim Mitchell.
I feared that my explanation was not clear seeing that I was allowed too few characters to work with. But you seem to have grasped the concept well and as you say, there are gradings and variations, but in the final analysis the experienced doctor will know how to sift the casual from the ever-present, and that which has a detectable cause from that which seems illogical.
What about a small child Tim? Children as young as 5 already live on anti-depressants and sometimes even pets!!
I guess I am also concerned with what we in the west consider a malady in younger people, which would probably not arise in other countries where there is not the expectations of reaching this or that goal that proves success.
Thank yuo Tim Mitchell.
Your welcome. Thank you too :-) I am not sure of children. Living on antidepressants is a large question. Anti-depressants do not have to be taken for a lifetime just like we do not have to take aspirin all the time. Medicating is a whole new area.
No wonder you sounded so authorative on the subject Tim. I am sorry to hear that you have that condition, however, you sure sound as if you are in full control of your emotions. I am concerned mainly about over-medicating.
Life as it is commonly lived in the 21st Century is not conducive to our mental or physical health. The frustrations of life are inevitable. Our ability to "bounce back" from challenges is greatly limited by our nutritional, sleep, and exercise status.
Our food, even if it is the finest organically-grown, non-GMO variety is likely deficient in many of the major and trace minerals, without which we can't manufacture all the enzymes, neurotransmitters, etc., necessary for the function of our highly complex body. Lack of sun exposure is another common reason why we are depressed. Lack of physical exertion is yet another. Good social relationships are also important.
We don't need drugs -- though some herbs can help. Nature has provided what we really need. Our challenge is to organize our life so that we have access to the necessities of health. Psychiatry wants us to believe there is something genetically defective about us. No, when we provide our body what it needs on a regular basis, it returns to health and happiness and optimism.
Good question. We over medicate that is for sure. Natural alternatives are often not considered. Some people are having spiritual experiences, but we think they are having hallucinations. Psychic and spiritual experiences happen to many people, but they often do not talk about them unless someone talks about it. Every person is biochemically different, so what one person can tolerate another person cannot. If you are allergic or intolerant to certain foods, it will effect your mind.
Given the society we live in, there is some confusion about depression and other mental illnesses. We in the west tend to believe that a pill can cure anything, and so if we feel sad over the death of a loved one or a break-up or some other disappointment, the first thing we think is that we ought to take something. Sometimes it may be necessary, however, doctors use certain criteria to determine if a person is clinically depressed and should be treated.
Some of these criteria are: feelings of sadness, lack of interest in things we once enjoyed, lack of energy, insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much) isolation and even suicidal thoughts. These factors must be severe enough to interfere with normal functioning and must be present for a period of at least two weeks.
I would be really concerned if a five-year-old child were to exhibit some of these symptoms. Like someone said, we can try other things if a person appears depressed, but if it lasts too long, or the person has a family history of depression, I would definitely recommend treatment.
I have been practicing in the mental health field since 1967 in a variety of jobs, and since 1982, I have maintained my own private practice in Marriage Family Therapy. Clinical depression is one of those misnomers that really makes no sense when you really think about it. Every second of every day is a chemical imbalance in our brain. The brain is hardly static and it is always responding to our experience. And the brain can get stuck in certain response patterns. But the brain can become equally unstuck and WITHOUT artificial medicine. Our body has plenty of its own medicine.
I have yet to work with a so-called depressed person who has not experienced LOSS and usually multiple losses. Depression does not come about because of a chemical imbalance that just pops up one day. The chemical imbalance is a result (not necessarily cause) of depression ungrieved.
When we experience a loss, no matter how "small" the body demands we travel through a grief process. If we refuse, because we are above that, because we are stronger than to have to grieve, then our body will take us down, sometimes in the most unwelcomed ways. If depressed people would allow themselves to cry for as long as it takes, if the entire world would have a good cry in the morning when we wake up and another good cry at night, there would be plenty of grieved depression, not clinical depression, and we would also have no more wars.
Losses come in many packages and disguises and it is amazing to me that even therapists are not able to recognize LOSS.. To tell a depressed person that you think they are clinically depressed is just a way out of having to say "I don't do well with my own losses, so there is no way I can support you with yours. So let's get you on some meds."
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