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Opposing Viewpoints On Depression Essay

2480 words - 10 pages

As Descartes argued, the mind and the body are the base of our existence, and many different cultures view different illnesses positively or negatively. Certain cultures, like the Hmong, believe that epilepsy is a good spiritual thing, but others, such as Western culture, believe that it is medically bad because it could cause death. Many illnesses can be viewed both negatively and positively, some more than others. However, one such illness that is mostly viewed negatively is depression. It is viewed negatively in a symptomatic sense – the symptoms are useless – and in a diagnostic sense – those diagnosed with depression are not actually depressed and the illness itself does not exist; it ...view middle of the document...

In addition, depression is extremely stigmatized. Depression is often seen as a lack of effort, a cry for attention, or simply laziness. This stigmatization causes a lot of people with depression to ignore the symptoms – some of which include the inability to focus, an unexplainable sadness, or a very large difficulty in doing things, including simply getting out of bed. Another important aspect to note is that most people have felt this way at some point in their lives, perhaps after a traumatic event or simply a stressful day. Those with depression experience it for longer periods of time, and the fact that others have experienced it causes those with depression to believe that their illness is not really there, simply a prolongation of the symptoms of others. Many cultures have different views on depression – some, like Eastern European cultures, tend to believe that depression is not a real thing; others, like Western cultures, actually tend to over diagnose depression – and throughout history, people have had different ideas of the reasons for depression.

Because depression is portrayed so vastly differently across the globe and in different humans, there are different approaches to the causes for this mood disorder. Unlike a flu, for example, that has specific visible symptoms, such as a fever, vomiting, and feeling exhausted, depression essentially does not have any visible symptoms that are applicable to most situations. A particular symptom of depression is self-harm, but that symptom, although visible, was controlled by the mind, whereas a fever during a flu was not controlled by the mind. This is where diagnoses get difficult. On the one hand, a person is inflicting pain on himself, but is he really sick or does he just want to prove himself to others? Or perhaps there is a spiritual reason for hurting himself, and he is not depressed, but simply doing what he believes his religion needs him to do. The variety of psychological perspectives across the world is enormous. Some psychologists have a biological standpoint, some psychologists have a cognitive outlook, and still others have a behavioral stance.

Those psychologists who believe that depression is a biological malfunction focus specifically on the neurotransmitters in the human brain. Neurotransmitters are the “chemical messengers” by which neurons communicate and like the regions and functions of various parts of the brain (Hammen 64). The monoamine neurotransmitters are known to be especially important in the limbic system, areas that are important in the regulation of drives and emotion. Specific neurotransmitters that biological psychologists believe have an impact on depression are serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The most important one is believed to be serotonin. Many biological psychologists have prescribed different medications to combat depression, and most of these are SSRIs, or serotonin reuptake inhibitors. In essence, it is believed that people with...

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