A new study of depression today reports up to 25 percent of those diagnosed and treated may be only reacting normally to stressful events in their lives such as losing a loved one or a job.
The finding evokes mixed feelings. On the one hand, it will cheer amateur social critics who claim our society medicalizes everything and over-encourages us to solve every problem with a pill.
They have a point, but anyone with a nodding acquaintance with depression knows people, old or otherwise isolated, who might be helped by treatment with the encouraging support of friends or family but suffer needlessly.
Less visible is what may be a social component in depression--a sense of less security in and loss of control over our lives.
Years ago, I heard a story from an ebullient friend, Bennett Cerf, publisher, compiler of joke books, TV personality on “What’s My Line?” After his company’s stock went public, he was feeling so low he went to see a psychiatrist.
After one session, the doctor told him, “You’re the least-depressed person I ever saw. When your stock goes up, you’ll feel better.” It did, and he did.
When we get George Bush out of the White House, so will we.