Thursday, July 09, 2009

Depression is a sign from our body to chill?

An article in the economist reports about a medical study which argues that depression is a body's natural way of stopping you in pursuing unreachable goals.
So the study's conclusion is that
1. your body/mind gets depressed if you try to pursue certain goals that you(maybe your subconscious) identifies as unattainable
2. since you get depressed you stop doing what you were doing --> you seize to be depressed
3. if you don't stop what you were doing, and do not disengage in the goal, then you are more likely to suffer from serious depression in the longer run.

It is a well known fact that although twice as more women suffer from depression, however, it is the men that suffer from severe depression which are more likely to end in suicide. source for depression rates source on suicide, WHO stats for suicide

Okay. then let's put these two together.
This means that either women usually set up higher goals for themselves on a regular basis, but eventually comes to terms with their limitations and disengage at least at a certain point.

On the other hand, men usually do not set higher goals for themselves, but when they do, they have a harder time disengaging from them and/or these goals are more unattainable than those of the "average woman", and they end up pushing themselves in situations of suicide...

Ofcourse this would only hold true if 1) depression is ONLY caused by not attaining goals, 2) suicide is ONLY caused by severe depression 3) there are no externalities of suicide attempt and success rates.,,, whoa... maybe I'm becoming too much of an economist? :-P

On another note...
Korea has one of the highest suicide rate in the world..WHO document
and the patterns seen here are quite different from the patterns found in, for example, those of Finland, which also has very high rates.
the difference is Koreans have higher suicide rates for older age groups, where Finland this is approximately same across all age groups.

Does this mean Koreans are more likely to have higher goals when older, get depressed and commit suicide? Actually, I think the suicide of koreans, including that of the ex-president which happened quite recently, is more due to the east-Asian culture of getting rid of yourself when you shamed your family/country. something like Seppuku in Japan.

Of course, I would end this whole post with this question. Forgetting about the suicide rates and all, the whole point that our bodies are trying to protect ourselves from causing harm by being depressed means that we are not really programmed to be "persistent" or overly-ambitious. that we are just supposed to chill....