Is Depression just a mental illness or body's way of saying something? | Health - Hindustan Times

Is Depression just a mental illness or the body's way of saying something?

ByTapatrisha Das, Delhi
Feb 26, 2022 03:29 PM IST

Depression, more than a mood disorder, has a lot to do with body's response to feel safe and survive an unnatural lifestyle. Nicole LePera addressed the world's largest health problem through a different lens and spoke of how it can be treated.

With the rise of covid pandemic and people being stuck inside their homes causing immobilisation in their movements and lifestyle at large, the issue of Depression has been getting talked about, more than ever. According to Psychiatric Times, Depression is the world's largest health problem that has caused more disability than other diseases. But we always term it as a mental illness. Does Depression have something to do with the biological aspect too?

Is Depression just a mental illness or body's way of saying something?(Unsplash)
Is Depression just a mental illness or body's way of saying something?(Unsplash)

Psychologist Nicole LePera addressed Depression and the many reasons that cause the same through a different lens. Nicole brought a fresh perspective to the cause of Depression and the symptoms, by calling it as body's way of adapting in order to feel safe.

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Depression is referred to as a disorder where the mood gets affected in a way that a person feels sad and meaningless about everything that surrounds them. They slowly tend to lose interest and put no effort in connecting to the things that meant a lot to them earlier. Nicole stated that even though Depression is only termed as a "mental illness," it is more of the body's defense mechanism to deal with the unnatural lifestyle that we put ourselves through. She referred to stress, pressure, unhealthy work culture, and unnatural expectations that put our mind and body through immense drilling – the exact opposite of how we have evolved to be.

Hence, the body senses danger and creates a response from the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), further leading to symptoms of Depression caused by immobilisation. In an attempt of the body to help us survive and stay safe, the immobilisation comes as a response through the Dorsal Vagus Nerve. The symptoms include having a numbing effect – it is natural as a defense mechanism of the body to feel less pain or suffering in cases of danger.

Immobilisation, however, is supposed to be a short-term effect by the body. As we are stuck in an unnatural lifestyle, the symptoms tend to stretch, causing long term effects. Speaking of treatment for Depression, Nicole added that we always tend to go for medication or talk therapy. However, it is better to have a larger perspective – self regulation, widening our tolerance limits, coregulating with people who make us feel safe and mostly, educating about the function of the nervous system. She wrapped up saying that it is also important to build a space where more people feel safer and connected.

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    Tapatrisha is Content Producer with Hindustan Times. She covers stories related to health, relationships, and fashion.

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