Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Life After Depression

It’s a strange question. You would have thought that psycho professionals would have been all over it. Apparently, they are not. At least, that’s what Benedict Carey reports in the New York Times.

The burning question is: what does a cure for depression look like. If you have the flu, cure means not having the flu. If you have heart disease, cure means not having heart disease. In medicine, cure seems to mean the elimination of symptoms and the return to biological normality. If your muscles are weakened by disuse, cure involves therapy that restores them to normal functioning.

Now, when you suffer from a mental illness like depression, what does cure look like? Carey reports the latest research:

Treatment trials typically last six to eight weeks, and they focus on reducing negative symptoms, such as feelings of worthlessness, fatigue and thoughts of suicide. What happens in the subsequent months and years — and which positive developments occur, and for whom — is largely unknown.

Researchers tend to glom on to the idea of flourishing, failing to notice that the word is a mere variant on the word flowering. Their idea suggests that treatment will turn you into a potted plant or a towering redwood tree. More precisely, it will turn you into vegetation.

To be more serious about this issue, psychiatrists mean that those who are cured of depression have achieved work/life balance, general all-roundness and have learned how to enjoy vacations. Unfortunately, in the case of depression cure involves subjective measures, like how people feel. True enough, an individual who has been cured of an infection will feel better, but the better feeling does not, in itself, constitute cure.

Carey explains:

In a forthcoming analysis, to be published in Clinical Psychological Science, the same team of psychologists make a rough estimate of the number of post-depression “flourishers,” using data from a periodic national survey called the Midlife Development in the United States. The survey includes more than 6,000 people between the ages of 25 and 75 and more than 500 who met criteria for depression. About half of the people who had received a diagnosis recovered afterward, meaning they had been symptom free for at least a year, the researchers found. One in five of those — 10 percent of the total — were thriving a decade later. The research team based that judgment on an assessment that includes measures of how people feel, how well their relationships are going, and their work.

Obviously, Carey notes, the 10% number is not very encouraging. It does not suggest that we have beaten depression. To put it in context, he adds this observation:

The best comparison is the portion of people who were rated as thriving who never had depression: 20 percent.

Thriving is apparently a sometime less flowery synonym for flourishing. Still, being cured of depression does not necessarily mean that you are thriving. It might mean that you are functional, that you are doing your job, fulfilling your responsibilities to other people, enjoying what there is to enjoy, being able to focus on the tasks at hand and so on.

One notes that since depression involves an inability to feel pleasure-- called anhedonia-- someone who had been cured will obviously be able to feel pleasure. Since depression often involves a loss of appetite, both alimentary and libidinal, a cure will naturally involve the return of those desires. Since depression involves a loss of pride, its cure would naturally involve feeling pride, in oneself, in one’s community and in one’s nation. Finally, cure might even include achievement and accomplishment … not to mention the ever elusive happiness.

You would think that someone who was cured of depression would be happy, but such seems not to be the case. We would do better to look at the issue in terms of character. Someone who has been cured of depression can not only function in the world, but can function as an individual with good character. In the past, before psychiatry extended its tentacles into the issue of depression, it was considered a character flaw. Thomas Aquinas connected depression with the sin of sloth.

And one must also add that there are several different forms of depression-- and thus, just as one treatment does not fit all of them, so too may different type produce different outcomes.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Women more frequently suffer depression because of God's righteous punishment of Eve for her disobedience. That is why demonic possession of women is most frequent. The new religion of psychology has duped humanity by renaming demon possession.

Psychologists have gifted these demonic entities with different names such as "anxiety", "panic attack", "PTSD", "schizophrenia" and on and on. Obviously they are renaming Satan's demons to make it easier for demons to possess women. This demonic influence over women explains why more women are Leftists and do not vote Republican.

Psychology also allows for the possessed women to be given the wrong-minerals in the form of "psychiatric pills" these are ritual minerals that allow the demon inside them to grow into supermassive Leftists.

Wrong-minerals are not the problem however, the demon does not actually require to be fed wrong-minerals to thrive. Oprah is a much stronger demon fertilizer than wrong-minerals.

Shaun F said...

Wow. The above comment was really kind of uplifting. Not only because I agree, but also because it's nice to see other people that see things "that way."

Anonymous said...

Stuart - seligmann's studies on happiness(and others,more recent) dont address this?
Nor CBT?

Anonymous said...

Seligmann was a Son of Satan, that is how he was able to give you advice on how to worship Satan properly.

Nothing cures demons except for the Spanish Inquisition.

Anonymous said...

The devil is an accuser.
You score a 10, anonymous 3.20pm.

Ares Olympus said...

I recall Thomas Moore's book "Care of the Soul" talked about ordinary depression as being connected to melancholy of Saturn, and he saw it in part as a calling of the soul to pull one back towards a deeper path of personal meaning, which requires a different energy than the frantic modern one that produces external success and connections. And it makes sense there's many sorts of needs we have, and some can be ignored for decades, but eventually make demands on us, and until we can figure that out, things won't make sense like they used to. He made it clear to me that part of depression is about "shoulds", or basically we can judge ourselves mercilessly for not living up to our ideals, and so depression offers a chance to step back and confirm the world won't collapse if we take a break from things.

The ideal for me is cyclic depression to get me to slow down, and I can see and remember the ups and the downs, and be able to see through some of the illusions of both. So just because I think I want to do nothing doesn't mean I won't feel a lot better after getting some exercise. I feel sure I won't, but I remember in the past that often it works! And of course when you slow down, you can also identity bad habits you developed to keep going in the past, and try to reset some of them, like too much coffee or bad sleeping or whatever. It's certainly fortunate if life allows this, while adult responsibility can make it hard for many people to step back, and money most of all seems a deadly problem where you almost need a doctor to name a fake disease to justify slowing down.

Anonymous said...

Saturn sadly is a real force. Skewed demographic trends, the big fucking tent of standard (poor) human-z behavior(s), and gravity makes Saturn very real.

Either way humans have way less than 600 million years to find a different habitable zone or go extinct. That is a highly optimistic prediction.

A likely prediction is we will contribute somehow to our own extinction in less than 1million years if we don't find a viable way to travel to a fucking far away distant habitable zone.

Most likely it will end up to be some shitty mega structure hell humans will be attempting to survive in, unless Star Trek fantasy science pulls a miraculous Jesus out of its hat.

Either way they don't sound like pleasant distant futures. For material existence Earth is probably about as good as it can get.

Anonymous said...

[Ares]

Severe Depression is one of the best fucking chancres that ought by force if necessary to bless the lives of every person, at least until the extinction of the very last human apeoid occurs whenever.

Without the pure bliss of decades of unproductive snowflake-annihilating realism (aka 'depression') many useless meatbags will never actually get the chance to see or 'experience' the stupendous Glories of Superhappyfunpark.

Superhappyfunpark is free and fun to ride, it will instantly makes you Gay-as-fuck-Happy and doesn't require the use of ANY alcohol/substances (you certainly can bring Weed or any other crazy shit along with you for the ride, but the ride will be so FUN that you won't bother to remember weed, Jenkem or whatever the fuck you are addicted to).

Superhappyfunpark will never demand you do anything that you don't 'want' to do =D

Superhappyfunpark cures trivial shit like depression with ease and in seconds. Superhappyfunpark will laugh at your trivial health conditions such as micro-penis, HIV and stupidity and then spit them out like maggots, all brand spanking new and full of health and youthful rigor.

We only need learn how to accept feeling super-positive and happy about Glorious Superhappyfunpark.

Say "YES!" to Superhappyfunpark where your wildest dreams come true and 'you get to' ..the Noodle rides 'YOU' like a sexy 400 kg black woman that has the stamina of an endless herd of stampeding buffalo.. sounds great, right?!

SHFP!!! It truly is THAT fucking Happy!

Henry Matthew said...
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