The Myth of the Benefits of Depression

He lost his appetite, lost weight, suffered from insomnia, completely lost interest in sports and games on the stock exchange, hardly communicated with his wife and children. He was more often visited by the thought: "Is it time to end all this?" And only after the beginning of psychotherapy and treatment with antidepressants it became better. After a month and a half, most of the lost desires returned to Jack, and two months later, he said, he "felt that he had finally returned to himself."

Those who are depressed feel: their soul has been stolen. and only having recovered, they can return to themselves

I thought about Jack, reading the reasoning of fashion journalist John Lerer * about the "bright side" of depression: it is proposed to be viewed as a condition that can be productive and teach us a lot. Indeed, writers and my colleagues sometimes tend to call depression a "purifying force" or "an attempt to adapt to new circumstances." However, my experience tells me something quite different. People with depression, whom I consulted for the last 30 years, almost never rated their condition as a kind of "spiritual bonus".On the contrary, they felt as if their souls had been stolen and only after the cure for depression had the soul returned to them.

It is often heard that antidepressants are a false choice. John Lehrer, for example, argues that people who get out of depression with their help, can not in the future independently cope with life's problems. But after all, medicines, in some cases, vital, do not completely abolish full-fledged psychotherapy. And there is no conclusive evidence that antidepressants further suppress the ability to cope with problems on their own.

However, in the prevention of recurrence of depression, successful psychotherapy can have a greater positive effect than antidepressant alone, and in the treatment of mild forms of depression it is psychotherapy that is the first choice. Of course, we must not deny that that part of our "I" that causes depression, - a reflection of a complex, amazing human nature.

But poeticizing depression is extremely dangerous, because in this case there is a risk of staying for a long time in this state, neglecting the help and believing that this in itself will lead to new life guides.It is impossible to cherish the illusion that depression can help us solve a complex set of problems. This, in my opinion, is an extremely destructive myth - albeit created from the best motives.

* Jonah Lehrer is a journalist, blogger, collaborates with The New York Times, The Washington Post, Nature and Wired, the author of popular science books, among them the best-selling book How We Make Decisions (Corpus, 2010).

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