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Allan Macdougall

TEDCRED 50+

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Is depression a dysfunctional reaction to something considered 'normal', or a normal reaction to something dysfunctional?

I find it improbable that there happens to be in these modern times, a pandemic of neurochemical deficit in westernised populations giving rise to depression.

What I would like to know is:

Why is depression less prevalent in more traditional societies?

Is a neurochemical deficit (ie serotonin, dopamine etc) a symptom of depression rather than a cause? If it is, then are we mistakenly treating it as a cause? Are we treating the wrong thing by prescribing more chemicals (antidepressants)?

Is depression really an illness, or is it an indicator of something more fundamentally wrong, external to ourselves (illness in society maybe?)

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  • Aug 12 2011: Very interesting question concerning directionality and I believe the answer is- both. There are examples where one comes before the other. I think that it is often the case that we are merely reacting to our environments. I'll give you an example: Today we have become masters of multitasking as a result of the over stimulization and the fast-paced world around us. As a result, we have what I refer to as "self-induced AD(H)D". We have actually had to react to the world in a manner that makes us appear to have a disorder when we are actually just adapting to our surroundings. This is a very interesting topic....
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      Aug 14 2011: Over stimulation of the consciousness is dangerous - I agree. Switching that part of the mind off is very difficult, but I think it can be done - and needs to be done in order to allow the subconscious to get some 'airtime' for a change. This, I believe, is what happens in meditative practices.
      • Aug 15 2011: I agree that a balance between work and play is very important and healthy. Today we are 'busy' and 'connected' 24/7/365. Even though we may think that this is a good thing- it isn't.

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