Why do we get depressed?

Written by: Enrique de la Torre Martínez
Edited by: Anna Raventós Rodríguez

Depression is a common mental disorder that affects nearly three hundred million people worldwide. It is the world's leading cause of disability, and in proportion, affects almost twice as many women as men. In Spain, the percentage of people with depressive symptoms reaches 4% annually.

It is between the age of fourteen and forty-five years where the highest prevalence of the disease occurs. It therefore has a major impact in the fields of education, labor productivity, functioning and personal relationships. Also the symptoms are linked to the age of precipitation; For example, in young people the symptoms are mostly behavioral, while in adults the somatic theme reaches frequent levels in symptomatology.


The Depression

Depression is a fundamentally modern phenomenon. It has spread like an epidemic since 1970. A date, it is usually said of birth, but we must understand it as the emergence of the term "depression" and not the "disease" itself.

In the nineteenth century this term did not exist. In 1904, Larousse gives a figurative sense derived from the eighteenth century: "depreciation". There is a literary occupation where sense is applied to the soul without being linked to a pathology, and a medical use that alludes to a diminution of "physical and moral" forces.

From the time of antiquity until 1970, depression was a phenomenon or manifestation that could occur in every individual and in every great pathology, without being specific to any one in particular.


Symptomatology of depression

Depression appears as a set of symptoms of affective predominance, that is, pathological sadness, anhedonia (lack of desire), apathy, decay, hopelessness, subjective feeling of discomfort and impotence in the face of the demands of reality. Likewise, symptoms of cognitive and somatic cleavage also manifest, allowing us to indicate that it is a global affectation both psychic and physical, emphatically emphasizing the affective domain.

In addition, other symptoms such as feelings of guilt or disability, irritability, pessimism about the future, ideas of death or suicide, loss of self-confidence or loss of self-confidence, decreased concentration And memory, restlessness, sleep disorders and decreased appetite and libido, among others.


Melancholy, sadness and depression

For a specialist in Psychology it is important to distinguish the why of depression, if it corresponds to something of the order of neurotic character or to a trigger of psychotic character. Hence, depression is also associated with melancholic states.

The melancholy is a burden of sadness, with a kind of intransmisible pain and that makes the person lose the taste for almost everything.

What we now call depression was indicated in her day as sadness, was her first approximation (an important question because she herself speaks of a failure, something that has fallen: desire). Here it is not a question of a more or less, something quantitative, but something much deeper that is the faintness of what is the motor of the human being, the desire.

The pharmacological approach of depression leaves aside the question of the subject, of subjectivity, reducing the problem to a state of mind, and that from the prevailing science responds to a chemical "imbalance". Thus, it is argued that fluoxetine, which is a drug that intervenes at the intersynaptic level in the reuptake of serotonin, and reaches the idea that a subject who is depressed is because he is at a low level of serotonin, and therefore creating A higher level of it, would reverse the mood.


Depression: impotence in the inability to achieve a desire

The depressive subjects do not usually express a demand for treatment, and before that, they respond with something of the type "that's it, there are few things to add". Unlike the anguished subject who anticipates somber and catastrophic events, the depressed subject speaks as if such events had already occurred in the past. His state does not produce enigma in him. When he comes to consult us it is usually by some indication or some strong impulse given by another, but not by himself.

If things have value for a person is due to how it is related to their desire, not because things have a sense already given in advance, but in the relationship that each subject maintains with that which causes his desire. Therefore, it is fundamental that we can inquire about the state of the desire of the subject that appears before us and that the opinion is that no matter what happens to it.

Thus, the predisposition to depression is given by the attachment to experiences of impotence / helplessness. In this way, each time the person feels powerless in relation to their aspirations, all those experiences, real and imaginary, in which that feeling dominated will be reactivated.

The elements that would conform the depressive state as necessary conditions that define its structure are:

  • Existence of a desire that occupies a central place in the psychic economy of the subject.
  • Feeling powerless to make a wish.
  • Impotence for the realization of desire that is not restricted to the present but also encompasses the future; That is feeling of hopelessness.
  • The motivational consequences, abulia and psychomotor and affective inhibition, sadness, the feeling of impotence / despair.
*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Enrique de la Torre Martínez

Martinez Enrique de la Torre is a leading expert in psychology. He is director and psychotherapist at the center Opening Psychological.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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