I was interested to read through this self-help piece which claims to offer a modern and up-to-date understanding of clinical depression. I came across the article while reading commentary on the end of a TV series I just finished watching; someone on a message board linked to this to help people finishing the series cope with its end.

Understanding Depression: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

I hadn’t read an explanation of what the “chemical imbalance” that is often talked about actually amounts to, so I enjoyed learning about that. The article is unambiguous in its view of antidepressive medication and how depression ought to be tackled, and for that I should think that it would offer a lot of hope to someone suffering from depression. Also to its credit, it doesn’t make it easy to diagnose yourself as depressed by giving a long list of vague symptoms that everyone suffers from from time to time.

The editorial view of the article is that prolonged periods of stress deplete seratonin, and that the only thing to be done is to get these seratonin levels back up, which is what antidepressants are for.

In selecting a therapist/counselor, each one is different. All have different personalities, styles, and attitudes. Select one that has your style and most important – somebody that makes sense. If you meet one that says “I don’t believe in medications” – get out of there! That therapist is about thirty years behind modern treatment.


As a word of caution, many inexperienced therapists or those with limited training may miss the fact that you are depressed. You may arrive at the therapist office preoccupied about something in your childhood that actually happened 20 years ago. […] The inexperienced therapist might focus on the “garbage truck” thoughts and miss the big picture, the presence of depression. If you are clinically depressed, weekly discussions of your past as told by the garbage truck will only prolong your depression and possibly intensify it.

A response to this is that a therapist who focussed on seratonin levels might be missing the bigger picture. If you’ve been under a prolonged period of stress that have caused your seratonin levels to drop, then your life choices might not be in order, and it might be things from twenty years ago that had you making those choices. I am suspicious of the idea that the stream of negative thinking and doubt that piles in continually into the mind of someone who is depressed should just be dismissed, when psychoanalysis has been able to harness it as a rich source of information leading to the development of treatment for people’s deepest and more reoccurrent neuroses.