If there is a TOP Ten list of unpopular topics, I believe mental illnesses would qualify.
To quote an answer in Quora: Illness and disease both cause the same feelings of discomfort, pain or unease in people. However, an illness is more of a subjective feeling. This means that there is really no identifiable reason behind the condition. If the condition behind the illness is identified, it is more often referred to as a disease. However, in more generalized terms, we can define an illness as a state where the person has feelings of pain or discomfort that does not have an identifiable reason.
Thus it is not easy to categorize depression as either illness or disease. If it is a subjective feeling that one does not feel well, then that is probably what it is; not feeling OK.
Sometimes one might not feel like walking up from bed but if it is due to tiredness from work and then one recovers the next day, that does not qualify as depression, isn't it?
Then if one were to feel sad for more than two weeks, it is likely a symptom of depression. So sadness itself is not depression, it is the duration and intensity of it that counts. It is more of persistent of several symptoms like anguish, anhedonia and even memory loss.
Till now, scientist have hypothesized several theories of depression like lack of neurotransmitter, genetics and environment. There is no one ultimate cause. So instead of looking for causes, I suggest a Model of Depression (Mode).
In the Mode, we can see how one condition lead to another without pinpointing any single cause as the beginning. Although rumination is not necessary the cause, we have some researches that point to it as major factor for symptoms of depression.
In another we are looking at all factors that could play together towards the experience of depression. When we look at the Mode, it gives a map of possible reasons and conditions that lead to depression.
Thus a depressed person could make an educated guess that his back pain could be a factor and then the person could work on healing the pain. So instead of over-thinking about why he has serious back pain and merely takes painkiller, he could explore possible solutions like acupucture.
The Model helps the person to better understand his own erratic thought and negative emotions like anger and anguish that could have serious long-term consequences if it is not dealt with proper interventions.
By looking at the Mode, the intervention for depression is not always talk therapy or medicines, it could be healing the physical pains too. Then we could also learn to relax the tensed body through massage or yoga as a form of interventions.
In the end we are looking at a holistic way of dealing with depression rather than just talk therapy and medicines.
Although we have problems in life, it is the way we look at the problems that is the problem too. So when we keep looking at depression as strictly mental illness, then we have limited options about how we can deal with the problem. In fact cognitive behavioral therapy is premised on the cognition, the way we think. Nonetheless negative thoughts seep into our minds unconciously and we keep replaying the thoughts and then we feel the negative emotions and back to the same thoughts like a broken record called rumination.
Then we might have narrow perspective on the problem: I am the problem or I cannot handle the problem.
The Mode offers us a different lens of looking at the same problem: I see the problems and find different ways for interventions. Then you must affirm that you have the power over the problem.
The Model of Depression is not a model of cause and effect. Rather it is acausal in looking how one type of condition could possibly affect other conditions based on widely available researches. In the model, a patient with stroke could feel bodily pains and discomfort leading to disturbed and insecure minds. The stroke patient could ruminate about her/his condition and that propagates mental anguish and bodily pains. Then the person could ruminate over his or her stroke. Thus depression could be seen a manifestation of mind-body conditions.
Researches have shown that rumination is prevalent in patients with clinical depression. Thus the repetitive negative thoughts been linked with symptoms of depression such as sadness, low mood and tiredness. Certainly it is linked with anxiety disorder. In the long run it could also lead to dementia and even Parkinson's Disease.
The model could help patients and anyone to be aware of how one bodily pains could also lead to mental disturbance to depression and the whole circle could continue until an intervention in implemeted.
The model also help us to understand why certain intervention like taking medications could reduce the symptoms of depression. If we were to look at the biological aspect of our bodies, medicines could affect neurotransmitter and thus the functionality of our synapes in the brain.
By now, we know that bodily pain could lead to depression and vice versa. Thus it might be helpful to reduce or massage away our bodily discomfort. Personally I am fully aware of that and I have gone for acupuncture to heal my stiff muscles and numbness in my fingers.
Since research points to strong link between depression and rumination and it is bi-directional; that means one could lead to another; we could also reduce rumination as an invervention.
Could one feel down due to lack of stimulation from hormones like oxytonin. Therefore exercise could release the hormone into the bloodstream and lead to less symptoms of depression.
This model helps us to pinpoint all possible interventions at our disposal in dealing with depression.
We know some depressed people suffer from memory loss. Is rumination or the state of depression itself contributes to the loss?
In a 2012 study, researchers tested sick and healthy people’s decision-making on a driving simulator and found that sick participants demonstrated significantly slower reaction time. This is in line with prior research showing that just feeling ill is associated with slowed memory and worsened mood.
So, our memory, reaction time, and mental health all appear to suffer when we’re ill and have higher levels of inflammation. In fact, when it comes to mood, the scientific connection between inflammation and depression has become quite robust.
Although we could not ascertain the exact causes of depression, the Mode provides us an overall view or map of all possible conditions that would present within our mind-body system for someone to show the symptoms of depression.
In terms of emotions regulation, it is interesting that Identifying was linked both to years in treatment as well as modalities in psychological treatment, but Processing (not Identifying) was linked to well-being across the general population.
Various modalities of treatment, including CBT and psychotherapy have a long history of enabling patients to identify emotions and understand their meaning within present and prior contexts. Expressing emotions and being able to communicate them is also a valued concept. However, Identifying was not linked to life-satisfaction scores, and Expressing was not a significant predictor after controlling for prior trauma variables.
This suggests that psychological treatments may want to focus more on processing emotions than only identifying them. There may be false beliefs, where the goal of treatment is simply to identify emotions and understand their meaning. However, these results suggest that without the capacity to modulate and refine them, well-being will not be increased.
Thus there has been a research and development of a digital therapeutic app (Nuowave) to fill the gap in treatment that is based on emotion processing, neuroplascity and music/sound therapy (proven to reduce symptoms of depression).