Depression, Stigma, and our Toxic Culture

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From Medium: Often after the suicide of a public figure, there is an increase in articles published attempting to destigmatize depression by categorizing it as a biological illness or neurochemical imbalance. However, this biomedical conceptualization of depression is inaccurate and fails to acknowledge the social factors that can lead to suicide.

“By attributing depression and suicide to disfunctions in one’s brain, we ignore and lose sight of the psychological and social forces that play an equally powerful role in the formation of depression. If we think ‘poor guy, if only his brain hadn’t been broken’, we shift our focus to the underlying neurology and refrain from asking questions about the social forces that often create an atmosphere so unbearable for people that ending your life seems like the only escape. When we focus our attention on the individual’s brain, we stop caring or working towards creating a society that is more tolerable to live in. We shift the blame and responsibility to forces beyond our control and thereby do not engage in the project of altering social conditions (such as poverty) that are heavily correlated with depression. We rob ourselves of the power we have to actively make a difference and shift that responsibility over to psychiatry and medicine.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. There is nothing worse, then going through hell of depression. You wake up each day, not knowing if you will make it
    ’till night, or you will simply give in, and end it all yourself. The drugs sometimes help, and sometimes make it worse.
    Felt like I had no control whatsoever over my own life. But with some help from my family, the people who truly love me, I
    managed to get myself out of that hell-hole. It took me a while, but I managed to teach myself how to push trough the day, and keep on fighting.
    In the end, it all comes down to helping yourself get up and fight, because without that no one can truly help you, no matter how much they would want to.
    To conclude, help yourself, so you could go out into the world, and start truly living, and that will be a cure on it’s own.
    http://lookingupstuff.com/mentalhealth/2015/02/06/how-to-destroy-depression/

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  2. I suspect there would be less nonsense if you called depression a syndrome instead of a disease. Then you could medicalize all you wanted if you performed a real examination and treatment, instead of a simple “pop these” kind of regimen.

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