Depression - what it isn't ...
» an illness
Depression, as experienced by the vast majority of sufferers, is not a biological illness. While there are good reasons for calling it an illness so people are less likely to blame themselves and more likely get help for it, depression is not like diabetes. How a person defines depression makes a huge difference in how they respond to it and whether they recover from it.
» universal in every culture
As far as psychiatric anthropologists can tell, the Kaluli tribe in New Guinea depression is a non-existent phenomena. Also, amongst the Amish people, depression is a fraction of what it is in the rest of American society.
These cultures do all the things we don't do any more, which is why, when you look at
cross-cultural studies you always see that, as any society Westernises itself, its rate of depression
We have an overcrowded world where people are dying of loneliness. We place the emphasis on me and what I think and what I feel. And there is no real emphasis on connection anymore.
» a genetic illness
Depression is not a genetic illness. The marked increase in the rate of depression revealed in epidemiological studies shows that depression cannot be a biological disease carried in our genes. Genes do not change that quickly.
When we are children, it is our parents' responses and attitudes to circumstances that we our most intensely exposed to, and this is why we may seem to 'inherit' a tendency towards depression.Griffin, J & Tyrrell, I 2003 Human Givens: a new approach to emotional health and clear thinking HG Publishing UK.
» caused by difficult life events
It is a myth that difficult life situations cause depression. Throughout the ages people have struggled with life-threatening circumstances; war, famine, floods, disease, and survived great hardships without becoming depressed. The message is clear. It is not circumstances that lead to depression but how you respond to them that matters.Griffin, J & Tyrrell, I 2003 Human Givens: a new approach to emotional health and clear thinking HG Publishing UK
» a recurring illness
It is a myth that depression is an illness that you can get again and again. It isn't depression that is recurrent but the difficulties that life throws that us. It is because people tend to react to difficult circumstances with the same attitude and responses each time that many people suffer from recurrent bouts of depression.Griffin, J & Tyrrell, I 2003 Human Givens: a new approach to emotional health and clear thinking HG Publishing UK
» a chemical imbalance
If lowered levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin were a cause of depression, the restored levels could not come about by the taking of a placebo, or by effective psychotherapy. Serotonin levels fluctuate constantly and any lack of this 'feel-good' chemical is more a result of, not a cause of depression.
More complete articles can be seen on the Human Givens Institute website. "Depression, some distortions of fact" for example.