Reader Feedback re: Are People Getting More Depressed?
(Note: The most recent comments are listed first)
Kim from CA: I find myself more confused than ever after reading your essay, "Are People Getting More Depressed?" You seem to be talking about anger and frustration being on the rise due to the changes in our society. But is this the same as depression?
Psychiatrix: Anger, frustration, and depression are very much intertwined. Antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, and Celexa (also Lexapro) seem to reduce anger and irritability and make a person less sensitive and reactive to formerly distressing situations (and people). This may be a significant part of their antidepressant effect (?).
John from MI: I always thought that major life events, such as divorce, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, etc., were the usual causes of depression and not the trivial irritations that you mention in this article.
Psychiatrix: Certainly the major events you mention can precipitate a depression, especially in people genetically predisposed to mood disorders. However, there is some evidence that the accumulation of everyday annoyances can also lead to a state of chronic depression. In this latter case, the dysphoric mood change may creep up slowly on a person. Perhaps this, in part, explains the "grumpy old man" syndrome (?).
Tom from HI: I can really relate to the part about being led through ridiculous voice mail prompts. Sometimes I get so mad, I find the e-mail address of the company I am trying to call, and fire off a nasty note to them. They never reply. I am sure there are times this contributes to a "bad day."
Psychiatrix: Keep those e-mails up, maybe someone out there will finally get the message.
Sara from CA: You don't mention the problems with more and more TRAFFIC out there. After sitting on the freeway for two hours in stop-and-go traffic I sometimes get so annoyed my whole day is ruined. Once I started out for San Diego (from LA) and sat for almost two hours on the 405 freeway. I finally gave up, turned around, and went home. Ten years ago, when I came to California, this whole trip would only take about 2-1/2 hours.
Psychiatrix: The computer and the internet were going to solve this problem by making us all telecommuters. So much for technology.
Rebecca (age 18) from CA: Do you think this problem is the same for everyone or maybe just the older people who remember when times were "better" and they can't deal with the pace of modern life. To me voice mail, e-mail, etc., are normal and not particularly frustrating. Although I hate when my computer crashes.
Psychiatrix: Good point. I am sure there is something to what you say.
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