Our expert says:
Firstly, much depends on what you mean by "depression" Every normnal person gets sad or blue now and then, usually for good reasons, and they improve naturally and before long. If one uses internationally accepted definitions and criteria for diagnosing Depression, then indeed quite a proportion of the population seem to suffer from it at one time or another.
A tragic misunderstanding, created by those who are NOT actually Depressed, is that its a minor thing which you can just "smap out of " with encouragement from others. It isn't, and its a serious disorder with a significant death rate, especially if untreated.
Helping people be guided into more positive ways of dealing with their moods and the problems they encounter, in the form of Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ( CBT) for instance, has been shown by good research to be very effective in managing depression, even without drugs.
But some people are too severely depressed to rely on psychological methods alone, and some do respond well to antidepresant meds.
Personally, I don't think such meds should be used ON THEIR OWN to manage depression, but should always be combined with counselling.
Some of those do indeed feel unpleasant side-effects such as emotional numbness, but not on all doses of all drugs, so its worth taking the time to find which treatment suits each individual best
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