Depression in the United States

The article I chose to study had to do with how Depression effects American Morality. Previous studies have indicated inconsistent results on how depression effects morality. In order to get this done these researchers examined both the diagnosis of depression at hospital admission and past documented cases of depression. medical impatience aged 65 and older were brought to two Montreal hospitals and were tested for depression. All those who tested positive for depression and also a random sample of non-depressed patients were given the option to participate. The data collected had to do with a few key health characteristics. Some being severity of depression, history of depression, severity of physical illness, and health service utilization. Then these participants survival was studied for a 16-52 week follow up period. The results from the study indicated that only those with both current major depression and those with a history of depression had a morality that was lower and significantly different than all of the other patient groups. Therefore those with no depression and no history of depression seemed to have an overall higher morality. This really emphasizes the impact that depression can have on the health of an individual and how this disease should be treated as a serious mental illness, which demands treatment.

There is both biological, cultural, and individual dimensions of the illness. The biological dimensions of the illness depend on whether depression runs in the family. Some say that mental illness, including the mental illness of depression can run inside a family and be passed from one generation to the next. Currently some doctors say they have found a gene that can be linked to depression. They say 40% of those diagnosed with depression carry the link known as 3p25-26. They say that those who have a sibling or parent diagnosed with depression are up to three times more likely to be diagnosed too with depression. The cultural dimensions have to deal with how some cultural seem to treat or value individuals. Cultures high in respect of others have lower rates of depression, where as the United States where many cultures idolize the ideal of beauty, and having a very slender bodily shape suffer with high rates of depression, thought to be linked to many being unhappy with themselves and their lives if they do not fit this mold of what is “beauty”. The illness also has individual dimensions that can be based on ones own individual personality. Naturally some people are more likely to internalize their problems and take all criticism to heart, and people pleasers, these people are more prone to depression steaming from a low self esteem.

Depression can be evaluated through a series of questions that allow a medical expert to evaluate the mental state of an individual. This disease can be treated by both medicine and the therapy. The medical aspect of treatment includes the prescribing of anti-depressive medications, which work to increase often serotonins levels and block serotonin re-uptake. The therapy aspect of treatment deals with those seeking treatment from through therapy performed by either a therapist or psychologist. The most effective way to treatment is said to be a mixture of both medicine and therapy.  However, some cultures choose to treat depression as a disease while others seem to think much less of it and do not treat is as seriously. This is often due to a lack of understanding of depression. Here in the United States depression is thought of as a form of mental illness that demands treatment.


McCusker, Jane, Eric Latimer, Antonio Ciampi , and Martin Cole . “Does Depression in Older Medical Inpatients Predict Morality? .” The Journals of Gerontology : 975-81. (accessed ).

Faris , Stephanie . “Is Depression Genetic?.” Is Depression Genetic or Environmental?. (accessed July 18, 2014).

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Natasha Mehta says:

    “Culture” is the shared values and beliefs of people living within the same community or society, and thus living under the same circumstances. I definitely believe that depression can be a culture-bound syndrome, although it is found in many cultures around the world. However, in my research, I have noticed that one thing all of these countries have in common is that people seem to be getting depression for similar reasons, thus it makes it possible that the cause is cultural. I thought it was really interesting that you compared the causes of depression in the United States compared to other cultures. I agree that many other cultures put respect for others at a high value, whereas in America respecting others seems to become less and less important in this day and age. I think the way we treat people has a very big impact on how they feel, and because we don’t put a big emphasis on how important it is in America, I am not surprised that there is a rise in depression here. One example of a rise of depression in another culture and how it is explained has to do with depression in women in India. Instead of it being caused by a lack of respect towards all people, it actually stems from the way women are treated in Indian culture. Although women there technically have the same rights as men (for the most part), the way they are treated is less than equal. Of course this doesn’t include every person in India, but as a whole, there are many expectations and limitations for women, especially in rural areas, which cause them to become depressed.

  2. Lindsey Green says:

    Culture is a way of life. It is a group of people, behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that make up a unit and that are passed on from one generation to the next. Culture is a symbolic communication and can be perpetuated in a society through its organizations. I believe that depression could be a culture-bound syndrome. Even though depression is found all over the world different cultures can provide different types of depressions. Here in the United States, depression could be faced with losing a job or a loved one. Depression in the heart of Africa could be from losing land or a loved one. There are different cultures around the world that affect the types of feelings we feel. I believe it is a disadvantage here in the U.S. because the way we value a human life is so little compared to other countries. Women are objectified, people are discriminated against because of their weight and race, and the poor stay poor. Through the eyes of a different culture we I believe are looked down on. Other cultures and countries think we are fat and lazy. Depression is inevitable. We are unsociable; we work too hard and spend no time with the people we love. The people of the U.S. definitely put a lot of pressure on themselves, which leads to types of illnesses including depression.

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