Severe depression, otherwise referred to as clinical depression, is a mental disorder whereby an individual experiences persistent and pervasive low moods. Individuals who suffer from severe depression also suffer from other symptoms including a low self-esteem and a low level of interest in normal activities that other people would find enjoyable. Severe depression can have a dilapidating effect on the sufferer’s family life, work, social life, sleeping schedule, eating habits, and his general health and well-being.
The reason I have chosen the topic on severe depression is due to its striking connection with suicide. More than 3.5% of people who suffer from severe depression commit suicide and this is a statistic for America alone. Globally, more than 60% of people who have died from suicide had exhibited signs of severe depression before committing suicide (Kendler, Gatz, Gardner, & Pedersen, 2006).
The alarming aspect of statistics such as these is the persistent connection between severe depression and genes. Research has shown that depression is more common in people who have relatives who also suffer from the same disorder. This means that there are several instances where an individual’s depression is as a result of inheriting already affected genes that predispose the individual to a constant state of despair and hopelessness.
To put it in a bigger context, the sometimes-hereditary nature of depression has naturally predisposed millions of people across the globe to develop systems of severe depression. The strong connection between severe depression and suicide implies that there are millions of people across the globe, who are genetically predisposed to get depressed and kill themselves (Kendler et al, 2006).
There is no underestimating the impact that such a link has on the way the current world works. Millions of able-bodied people are unable to carry out their duties due to their genetic makeup. This has a significant impact on the economics, politics, and societal structure of the entire nation. The situation is greatly worsened by the fact that majority of these individuals will commit or attempt to commit suicide at one point or another especially when they are still in their productive stages.
My research on this topic is fueled by my desire for the global community to realize that depression is a global problem. It is time that clinical psychologists raise awareness about the scourge and the fact that sometimes the disease can be spread through the inheritance of infected genetic material. Awareness on the subject matter will raise questions on how we can isolate the depression gene from DNA so that we can save entire generations from being completely wiped out due to suicides owing to severe depression. Awareness will also be a useful tool in promoting monitoring individuals who exhibit severe depression symptoms and looking for efficient ways of preventing them from committing crime.
Kendler, K.S., Gatz, M., Gardner, C.O., & Pedersen, N.L. (2006). A Swedish National Twin Study of Lifetime Major Depression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163 (1): 109-114.