Fascinating article in Scientific American that possibly answers why depression still plagues roughly 30-50% of all people, everywhere. Since the brain plays such an essential role in promoting survival and reproduction, and depression can debilitate so thoroughly, why hasn’t mankind simply evolved beyond it?
Well, according to Doctors Paul W. Andrews and J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., maybe it’s time we start considering depression a “useful” disorder. One which is, “in fact, an adaptation, a state of mind which brings real costs, but also brings real benefits.” The pair backs this up with some brain-confusing brain chemistry, then moves on to make some simpler sense:
This is not to say that depression is not a problem. Depressed people often have trouble performing everyday activities, they can’t concentrate on their work, they tend to socially isolate themselves, they are lethargic, and they often lose the ability to take pleasure from such activities such as eating and sex. Some can plunge into severe, lengthy, and even life-threatening bouts of depression.
So what could be so useful about depression? Depressed people often think intensely about their problems. These thoughts are called ruminations; they are persistent and depressed people have difficulty thinking about anything else. Numerous studies have also shown that this thinking style is often highly analytical. They dwell on a complex problem, breaking it down into smaller components, which are considered one at a time. This analytical style of thought, of course, can be very productive. Each component is not as difficult, so the problem becomes more tractable.
So, in a nutshell, depression’s nature’s way of alerting you of your need to “ruminate.” Miserable teenagers, take note: The next time your parents hassle you for being a non-eating, Cure...sorry, Horrors-listening recluse, stand up and defend yourself. As a child of the evolution, you’re not depressed, you’re just sorting shit out.
In Scientific American: Depression’s Evolutionary Roots
this entire post from Dangerous Minds
As soon as i read this post i was considering re-posting and adding the Black Flag song to the end. Then when I saw that the original author linked to the YouTube "Decline" version of the song I was blown away and certainly couldn't resist.