Depression is Society Taking the Wrong Approach

As a biologist and as someone who has suffered from depression most of my life, I can safely state that society is taking the wrong approach in diagnosing, treating, and living with people who have depression.

Depression for many chronic suffers is a biochemical disorder in their brain.
Therefore, they lack a chemical in their brain that makes them feel “right.” But many in society hold the belief that you can simply will yourself out of depression which is simply not true since for many there is something biologically wrong with them. You can take medication to correct the situation, but for many the medication has many bad side effects or one may have to try many different drugs to find the one that is right for them. Plus many in society also hold the belief that if you seek counseling or medication for a mood disorder then you are weak or crazy. Which is a stigma that needs to be changed within society. This missing chemical may also effect eating habits and sleep cycles so that people with chronic insomnia or chronic overeating may also be cured by these replaced brain chemicals.

I like to see the diagnosing process become more refined. Currently for most mood disorders you take some sort of personal quiz and see a therapist who sends you to a M.D. licensed to give out the mood altering drugs. They try you on different drugs until they find the one that helps you, and its the medication that determines you disease as there is no common list of maladies to define specific mood disorders because they are simply too varied from person to person. I would like to see a genetic test developed for the mood disorders so that people can be tested when they are young so that the disorder can be treated when they are young and in stages so that the person can better deal with the disorder instead of waiting until they are much older when its a lot harder to change destructive behaviors.

I would also like to see safer and better drugs developed, ones without all the bad side effects so that patients would be more likely to take them.

We have a long way to go in the area of mood disorders and we are just beginning to understand what goes on in the brain. This is an area that I see biology expanding into soon as a result of the genome information boom.