Depression for Algernon

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/12/12/the-two-faces-of-depression-two-studies-switch-off-symptoms-in-mice-but-in-opposite-ways/#.Ul66lVM7xSM

So, I can’t comment directly on the research without seeing the research directly (it’s behind a paywall). So, I can’t *authoritatively* say just how crap I think the research is, or just how unfounded the conclusions are (but, I always find something to criticize, of course).

That said, the broad conclusion reached is, well, also brought to you in part by Captain Obvious. Different kinds of stressors generate different kinds of reactions, and those reactions also vary based on the individual. Like, no crap, dude.

That said- and I’m dodging so very, very many tangents and pet rants, I promise you- the subject of learned helpless is one that does kind of fascinate me, because it hits on an oft-ignored aspect of “depression,” which is this: *It does what it does for a reason.* Hence “learned.”

Insanity* has been operationally defined as repeatedly trying the same thing and expecting different results. Why on earth, then, is it considered a form of mental illness to, after a series of defeats, *stop trying?* Really. Think about it. The fact that capitulating to depression is *usually* a bad idea aside, it’s also something that often *makes sense* to do.

Anyway. So, science continues to tell us that we can make mice depressed or not depressed based on different factors. Hooray for us.

*if you ask someone in a 12-step program, anyway. It’s actually more precisely a legal term that refers to the ability to know right from wrong, but let’s pretend, for a moment.

Advertisements