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Is Depression An Epidemic Illness Or A Celebrity Trend

2189 words - 9 pages

Mental health is commonly discussed in newspapers nowadays, where it is claimed that depression and anxiety are greatly increasing (Batty, 2011; Street-Porter,2010). However there is disagreement whether more treatment interventions are needed (Swinson cited by Batty, 2011), or the diagnosis is flawed (Street-Porter ,2010). Elsewhere there are conflicting opinions about reasons for the increase. Barker (2010) cites Wakefield (1992) arguing that psychiatric conditions are difficult to assess, and Shorter & Tyrer (2003) arguing that depression is similar to anxiety and psychosis, and that diagnosis is problematic. However Winnicot (1988), cited by Barker et al (2010:31) argues that reactive ...view middle of the document...

She points out that the nation has become obese and unhealthy, and advises that it is best to disregard invalid lifestyle advice in the media, to be thinner, richer and more successful, avoiding discontent. She suggests that it is acceptable to claim an inability to cope, which nowadays has little stigma. She reiterates that women are bombarded with images of youthfulness, with which they are unable to compete. Women feel fragmented by multiple roles!
However, Batty (2011) argues mental ill-health may be increasing. Anxiety and depression have been medicalised and accepted as valid illnesses. The World Health Organisation (WHO) state that depression is a pandemic of modern populations (Murray, Lopez, 1995), cited in Barker (2010:33) Academic research by the House of Commons, cited by Batty, (2011), shows that prescriptions for these mental-health problems are on the rise. Batty informs that treating this pandemic is costing the nation considerable loss in working revenue, sleep-disorders and suicide. In Britain, anxiety and depression affects 1 in 6 each year and depression is costing £11BN a year, through lost earnings, NHS care, treatment, illnesses, drug prescriptions (Office for National Statistics,2009).
There may be several reasons for the increase in diagnosed mental health problems. These include economic downturn and better public awareness, as suggested by Paul Farmer (Chief Executive of Mind, a mental health charity), cited by Batty (2011). Other reasons include less stigma in seeking treatment for psychological problems, greater NHS access to talking therapies, and greater knowledge of pharmacological interventions. However, social stigma on mental illness is still evident to some extent (Pilgrim 2005) cited in Barker (2010:4) but this is diminishing, although it may hinder finding employment.
Layard (2006), argued in the Depression Report, cited by Batty (2011), for greater availability of mental health treatments. As a result, many CBT therapists have been trained, and access to psychological therapies has been made easier through the IAPT initiative, (Improved Access to Psychological therapies).
Many authors write about own experiences of depression (Barker et al, 2010:2). This serves to make depression more accepted.
Before treatment there must be diagnosis. Barker et al (2010) explain that diagnosis for psychiatric illnesses first evolved during the 19th century. It first focused on madness (mania), dementia praecox (schizophrenia) and melancholia (depression). The German psychopathologist, Emil Kraeoelin (1883) classified 3 aspects called medical naturalism (Hoff, 1995), that mental illnesses are genetic, separate, fixed and deteriorating and needed medical control. The Victorians believed that mental illness was genetically caused.
Research into mental health issues evolved from a eugenic ethos of the Victoria era, whereby the birth rate of the lower classes was supressed, as it was thought...

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