2 July 2008
Depression and Society
A Second Look
Depression. A serious mental illness that can have devastating affects on a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, physical health, and overall quality of life. The prevalence of depression in the United States is staggering. Studies have shown that 17.1% of people aged 15-54 have lifetime major depression (Blazer, Kessler, McGonagle, and Swartz par. 1), and that “about 10% of 11-year-olds and about 14% of 14-year-olds experience feelings of depression” (Kaufman 20). The effects of this disease are felt not only by individuals suffering from it, but friends, family members, and society as a whole.
In this essay, I will be focusing on how depression negatively affects one’s behavior, and the societal detriment that depression presents us. A large percentage of criminals incarcerated in correctional facilities today show signs and symptoms of having serious mood disorders, depression in particular. More aggressive diagnosis and treatment of major depression could lead to a reduction in crime and anti-social behavior in society. I will illustrate the correlations between this disease and criminal behaviors, as well as possible treatments, and approaches to addressing this issue.
First, we’ll need to look at what depression actually is.
Major depression, also called unipolar depression, is a debilitating mood disorder that can cause a wide range of psychological, physical, and behavioral symptoms. It is common for individuals affected by this disorder to suffer from feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt, and persistent extreme sadness (http://en.wikipedia.org par. 3). Often, there are also recurrent thoughts of death. Suicidal thoughts and feelings as well as attempts at suicide are prevalent among those with major depression. An increase or decrease in either appetite or sleep, fatigue, concentration problems, and weight gain or loss are some of the...