Was Eeyore Suffering from Depression? A Permanent Dark Rain Cloud
Have you ever had a bad day and thought about something sad? Eeyore said it best when everyday he exclaimed, “I think it’s gonna rain.” Imagine thinking sad thoughts that engulf your mind at all hours of the day. Imagine living in a deep bottomless pit that no matter what you try to do, you cannot seem to get to the top and out of it. This is depression, and it is a disease. Depression affects a person twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. It knows no escape and it is often hidden. Most people who suffer from depression never seek the help that they need because people do not think it is a pressing problem.
Tons of cases of depression make it onto the news in a result of a tragic suicide because the child or adult in question never knew that their depression was a problem or a treatable disease. Many people think that it is a problem involving their inner flaws and that they have to live miserably everyday for the rest of their lives. A Disease is a medical condition that has set symptoms and treatments, also with stages and types of the condition. Diseases affect other functioning organs of the body as a result of it. Depression fits into the category of disease because it has symptoms and there is a wide variety of treatments for people who suffer from depression.
What is defined as a disease? The official medical definition from Merriam-Webster dictionary defines disease as, “An impairment of the normal state of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that interrupts or modifies the performance of the vital functions, is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms, and is a response to environmental factors (as malnutrition, industrial hazards, or climate), to specific infective agents (as worms, bacteria, or viruses), to inherent defects of the organism (as genetic anomalies), or to combinations of these factors.” (Merriam-Webster) This definition supports the claim that depression is a disease because there are set signs and symptoms to determine whether you have depression and there are forms of treatment for depression. Also, depression can be genetic and it impairs the everyday routine of people who suffer from it.
Many people think that depression is not a disease because they classify it as people just being sad all the time and there is no treatment for it. Depression affects peoples’ everyday lifestyle. People who suffer from depression do not act like themselves and cannot perform to their full potential. Depression hinders people in their performance whether it is in work, in sports, or whatever activity they once loved just does not seem to make them happy anymore. Depression can cause people to function differently and more lethargically than others. Depression is something that goes on inside the mind but spreads to affect much more than people’s way of thinking. True, the mentality of a person is what is affected most but there are visible symptoms that people need to look closely at.
Depression is diagnosed using a book that was written called, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). This book includes the symptoms of each stage of depression. By classifying depression into stages, it separates the condition into certain realms and not just one overall reoccurring mood. It makes it more medical and a problem instead of brushing it off as something that people will get over.
The symptoms of depression according to DSM-IV, are as follows: “Depressed mood (such as feelings of sadness or emptiness), Reduced interest in activities that used to be enjoyed, Change in appetite or weight increase/decrease, Sleep disturbances (either not being able to sleep well or sleeping too much), Feeling agitated or slowed down, Fatigue or loss of energy, Feeling worthless or excessive guilt, Difficulty thinking, concentrating or troubles making decisions, and Suicidal thoughts or intentions.” (NAMI) Set symptoms mean that a doctor can diagnose the patient and help them get treatment. This classifies depression as a disease because there are certain clues that mean a person has that type of depression that comes with set treatments.
Because there are different stages or types of depression, this supports that it is a disease. Many diseases have different stages or types of the condition and different symptoms that go along with it. MS, or multiple sclerosis, has four types of the disease. The four stages are characterized by what goes on in our body that is different from its normal cycle. These types are characterized by Type I, Type 2, Type 3, and Type 4 (Frohman). Depression has types and stages of the disease also. These types include: Chronic depression, major depressive disorder, and Dysthymia, which is a form of depression (Miller). By characterizing the disease into stages or types, doctors can distinguish how early on and in what stage the patient is in to form his or her diagnosis off that. It also helps that diseases are typed because then the doctor can figure out what sort of treatment the patient needs to help decrease major symptoms that are uncomfortable for the patient and to help rid of the disease all together.
Depression may be linked to other illnesses according to the National Institute of Mental Health. “Depression also may occur with other serious medical illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. People who have depression along with another medical illness tend to have more severe symptoms of both depression and the medical illness”. This quote supports the claim because depression along with another disease heightens the symptoms of both. Heightening symptoms can have damaging affects to already damaged organs. This causes twice the trouble and makes the two paring disease worse. The definition of a disease says that a disease affects other functioning organs of the body. By pairing depression and another disease, heightening the symptoms can have more affects on peoples’ bodies and they way they function.
Depression can be genetically passed down from one generation to another. People who suffer from depression are more likely to have a family member who previously had the illness. A quote from Robert Miller states, “In a recent study of identical and fraternal twins, depression was found to correlated significantly more by heredity than by childhood environment. Depressive symptoms were most significantly linked among pairs of identical twins and correlated to a lesser extent between fraternal twins.” (Miller) This says that depression is mostly passed down through genetics instead of childhood development.
Depression being more a result of genetics than what happens during childhood shows that people can be born with this disease instead of it just being triggered by events. This next quote emphasizes how it is genetically passed down and the science behind depression. “Research has shown that serotonin is a key neurotransmitter involved in mood disorders. It has been speculated that reduced levels of serotonin in the brain is responsible for depressed moods and other mental disorders.” (Miller) These quotes support that it is a disease because in the definition, it says that diseases can be genetically passed down. The quotes from Robert Miller and the research studies back up the conviction that depression is a disease.
People need to realize that depression is a disease. Many horror stories consist of friends and relatives of someone suffering from depression wishing that they would have realized that there was help and treatment for people with the symptoms. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says it best when quoted on the reason people must draw awareness to depression being a disease. “Major depression frequently goes unrecognized and untreated and may foster tragic consequences, such as suicide and impaired interpersonal relationships at work and at home.
The use of medications and/or specific psychotherapeutic techniques has proven very effective in the treatment of major depression, but this disorder is still misconstrued as a sign of weakness, rather than being recognized as an illness.” (CDC) Depression is not a weakness. Depression is a serious medical condition that the population needs to be aware of and how to prevent bad results of it before the disease gets too out of hand. Saying that depression is a problem is an understatement. The first step in realizing that depression is a disease is realizing that it is not something that is just wrong with a person. The disease affects everyone that is near or close to the person. The disease affects relationships and the mental well being of the person. Awareness for the disease should be brought to light so that many people are saved from the fate others seek when they think that there is no way out of the dark cloud that always seems to be following them.
CDC. “Depression.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Dec. 2011. Web. “Depression: Symptoms, Causes and Diagnosis.” NAMI. NAMI – The National Alliance on Mental Illness, n.d. Web. “Disease.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web.
Frohman, Elliot M., Michael K. Racke, and Cedric S. Raine. “Multiple Sclerosis — The Plaque and Its Pathogenesis.” The New England Journal of Medicine. Massachusetts Medical Society, 02 Mar. 2006. Web. Miller, Robert M. “Analysis of the Spectrum of Depression.” Analysis of the Spectrum of Depression. Serendip, 07 Jan. 2002. Web.