Thursday, February 20, 2014

Is Depression an Adaptation? Research Can Help Us Find the Answer

Researcher Position 2/20/14

While symptoms of depression have always been around (Andrews and Thomas), they have not always been as prevalent as they are today, causing scientists to wonder if depression is becoming an adaptation.    In order to formulate my own opinion about why depression is considered an adaptation today, I examined the way depression manifests itself in people of other countries.  Depression is most frequently diagnosed in the U.S. and France, making it most prevalent in those countries (Pappas).  Although many factors may go into determining that statistic, an article from mentioned an interesting observation.  In many countries where quality of life is poorer than that of America, people tend to focus more on getting through their days than they focus on, say, having a generally good day as we would in the U.S.  Thus, when inhabitants of third world nations are alive when they hit the sack, the day has been successful.  In the U.S. a vast number of various stressors could negatively impact the average day of a citizen, leading to a constant low mood even though we may continually survive (Van Dusen).  In this case, depression would be less of an adaptation, and more of response, not an adaptation that is beneficial to our fitness.  While so many questions remain unanswered still concerning diagnosing depression, as we say in The Book of Woes chapters, considering how countries few mentally stimulating events may help us in accurately classifying depression as an adaptation or not.  What do you think? Comment below!

Andrews, Paul W., Thomson Jr, J Anderson.  Depression’s Evolutionary Roots.  Scientific               American.  Feb.  2010.

Pappas, Stephanie.  US and France More Depressed Than Poor Countries.  Livescience.  June.         2011. 

Van Dusen, Allison.  How Depressed Is Your Country?  Forbes.  Feb.  2007.                      cx_avd_0216depressed.html.  

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