“Depression” started out as a clinical, psychiatric term.
It applied to a pervasive, irrational and consistent feeling that one is helpless and has no control over one’s life and existence. Depression applied to an unfortunate minority of the population. In recent years, the concept has become something very different. The psychiatric industry has converted the concept into an exclusively physiological one. Despite hard research evidence that depression has at least as much to do with cognitions and ideas as with brain chemistry, brain chemistry won and cognitions are treated as nonexistent by most mental health professionals today. At the same time, popular culture has redefined “depression” as any indication whatsoever of the absence of good feeling. If you’re upset for three hours and know why, you’re depressed. If you’re hopeless and in despair all the hours of your life, you’re depressed. It’s all the same, and it’s all physiological. I’m on the verge of no longer using the term “depression” for this reason. The context people hold for this concept is too broad, too vague and too erroneous to much matter any more. Merging the views that (1) all negative emotions constitute “depression,” and (2) that all depression is physiological, amounts to nothing more than a recipe for medically sanctioned drug abuse.