The most typical way it's used to diagnose clinical depression is based on the symptoms. Unlike physical ailments, mental disorders are much more difficult to accurately diagnose as many of the symptoms are based on perceptions.
At issue is what determines the baseline measurement? Take for example to very common symptoms.
1. Feelings of overwhelming sadness or fear.
2. Fatigue or a loss of mental or physical energy.
If you consider society at large as the baseline measurement for the degree of sadness and fear, we have a problem. It's no secret that least in today's society there is very little true satisfaction in employment in many cases family life. This is very evident by the fact that we have such high rates of divorce, job hopping and an unwillingness to make or follow through on commitments. Using society at large can be dangerous. Remember that at one time most of society thought the world was flat.
Is it possible that those of us diagnosed with depression may simply have a different or even deeper understanding of the world and life in it? While many psychologists work to understand the symptoms and provide an accurate diagnosis of depression, getting to the root cause is much more difficult.
Is it possible that people with depression may have hypersensitivity to the world around them? Do they recognize the world is in serious shape and they are unable to adjust their internal integrity and need for justice. In a world where abuse of your fellow man can bring not only riches but recognition by society as "successful" it's no surprise that sensitive and thinking people may exhibit the symptoms of depression.
Is it possible that some of us are depressed because we see the definition of success in society is more stuff that ends up having little or no value? Do depressed people recognize the inherent inequity of the larger rules in play and have no answer or solution? Mental health professionals may recognize these types of outlooks and their answer is often times to encourage a depressed person to recognize that they can't fix everything.
Although there are treatments, they assume the person diagnosed with depression is the one that is actually ill. If the root causes of depression are a recognition of our need for fairness, equity and justice, treatments may only change our mental perception at our own expense. This might explain why depression is a chronic condition that many fight their whole lives to control.
If at least somewhat accurate, people with depression are in mental combat with their own possibly deeper understanding of life and what they see throughout society. Wouldn't it be interesting if between the depressed and nondepressed groups, we've unwisely identified the wrong ones as having a disorder.
This article offers a different perspective on identification of depression as a disorder or illness. Many of us apparently can manage the severity of the depressive symptoms because the great majority of us don't seek help. If you're suffering from depression and the symptoms are starting to be overwhelming, please get some help as quickly as possible. If you're having thoughts of suicide or have simply given up, you need to get some help.
Abigail Franks writes on a variety of subjects which include anxiety and depression information. For more on depression visit