Clinical depression and its impact on today’s society

Clinical depression is well known to be one of the most common psychological disorders in the most industrialized countries or of Western culture.

However, that doesn’t mean that we humans have more of a biological predisposition to just “get sad”. In fact, if this change of mood has become so widespread in the most industrialized countries, it is because our way of life, even if it is capable of bringing us a lot of well-being and a better ability to dodging death for many years also exposes us to certain situations that make us vulnerable to depression.

    Major depression: a phenomenon linked to the current lifestyle

    The fact that depressive disorder has been linked to the lifestyles of societies is not new, nor is it something that only happens with mood swings. Almost all psychological problems they can be favored or weakened by the way we tend to interact with the environment and with ourselves, which depends both on the culture in which we grow and learn, and on the material reality of the countries where we live.

    And it is that the differences between living in 21st century Spain and living in ancient Greece are not reflected only in the way we think and interpret reality; they also have an effect on the predisposition to develop one or the other psychological disorder. And in our case, it appears that we are particularly vulnerable to clinical depression for the simple fact of living in “today’s society”.

    A sedentary lifestyle disorder

    It is believed that while there are currently many people who will develop clinical depression throughout their lifetimes, this is in part because we are just getting to a later age and our basic needs are being met (or less more covered) than several centuries ago).

    Thus, depression would be a disorder typical of societies in which not having autonomy or being able to fend for yourself does not mean dying in a short timeBecause behind each individual, there are health establishments and social assistance networks that provide the necessary resources to continue living. Thus, clinical depression is defined as a disorder of those who simply survive despite the discovery of serious problems to justify their existence as individuals.

    As a result, the typical symptoms of clinical depression are associated with passivity and sedentary habits. Those who suffer from this psychological phenomenon are not able to get excited about almost everything and are not involved in hobbies or projects that they would have liked at some other time in their life. In addition, on many occasions their ability to experience pleasure is diminished, which is called anhedonia.

    It is true that we know of ancient and even prehistoric societies in which it was not uncommon to treat people with chronic disorders throughout their lives, but it is difficult to imagine an archaic model of organization social in which it was possible to maintain oneself for months. or years in most people with depression, who in many countries now make up about 7% of adults.

    But beyond the simple fact that in contemporary societies, life expectancy has also greatly increased there are other cultural factors common in the West which seem to facilitate the onset of clinical depression. Let’s see how they do it.

      Factors in everyday life that reinforce depressive disorder

      These are different habits and routines that fuel clinical depression and are fostered by our current lifestyle.

      1. Rumination

      Our lifestyle fills us with opportunities to spend much of the day thinking over and over again about the things that matter to us. This vicious circle of unpleasant and intrusive thoughts is called psychological rumation.And this is one of the factors that keeps depression at bay (which is why, in psychotherapy, we put a lot of emphasis on helping patients fight it).

      Rumination is not only fueled by free time in which we have no plans and we let our mind wander through a series of negative thoughts; furthermore, tools like the Internet can cause us to be constantly exposed to content that feeds our worry and despair. Think for a moment of the teenager who feels bad in his body and looks for hours at photos of models, on the one hand, and blog posts or social media of other young people who share his most pessimistic thoughts even most pessimistic. and all his desires to end his life at some point.

      2. Social isolation

      Today it is perfectly possible to go several weeks without speaking to virtually anyone, or directly without leaving the house. That kind of extreme social isolation increases the likelihood that depression will occur and persist, For various reasons: deterioration of physical health, lack of references on how to deal with sadness or melancholy, lack of reason to think that you care about someone, etc.

      3. Lack of sound

      Poor sleep is also surprisingly common today, and is another phenomenon that increases the risk of clinical depression. The unstructured working hours typical of self-employed life, overwork, loneliness or lack of plans, for example, increase the possibility of that we don’t have to sleep enough hours or at the right time.

      4. Competitiveness

      The competitive mentality taken to the extreme, so typical of today’s job market, it makes us tend to constantly compare ourselves to others. This creates lots of opportunities for us to feel bad about our lifestyle and get frustrated at not achieving unreasonable goals, even though we have objectively covered our physiological needs.

      Are you looking for help to generate new habits?

      If you think your lifestyle is causing you to exhaust your psychological well-being, the best thing to do is go to psychotherapy. Psychologists are experienced professionals who help us generate new daily habits that allow us to aspire to greater happiness.

      To see the contact details of the Begoña Fernández Psychology Center, the place where I frequent in Madrid, click here.

      Bibliographical references:

      • American Psychiatric Association, Manual of Diagnosis and Statistics of Mental Disorders. Fifth Edition, American Psychiatric Publishing, Washington. DC
      • Viegas, J. (2010). The first traces of disabled and elderly people have been found. NBC News.

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