The Depression Cure: Depression as a disease of civilisation

Author of The Depression Cure, Dr Stephen S Ilardi has delivered a TED talk  in which he speaks of his theory of the origins of depression.

His arguments fit well with my own views and I believe that you’ll find it truly worthwhile taking the time to watch this video.

If you’ve followed my previous posts you’ll remember that I have written about the poor outcomes often seen from the use of antidepressant meds.

I often make the point that because depression is most noticeable by profound psychological disturbances and is most effectively treated by psychological interventions that it makes most sense, for most people, to consider depression a psychological problem.

The Depression Cure: We are hunters who no longer hunt

Dr Ilardi expounds his theory that human beings are evolved to live a hunter gatherer lifestyle. Most people now do not live like this anymore. As part of his research Dr Ilardi has looked at the lives of the aboriginal groups who rarely suffer from depression.

Think about it. If you work in an office you might drive to work, sit at your desk in front of a computer all day and eat lunch while you work. Perhaps you work long hours and then don’t feel like cooking a healthy meal when you get in choosing instead to grab a takeaway. This has profound consequences on every aspect of our lives.

This lifestyle is nothing like the hunter gatherer lifestyle and yet our genetics haven’t changed much at all since then.

Therefore a complete reversal of this ever increasing tide of more depression probably requires a very different way of approaching our lives.

A different viewpoint, a different attitude and a set of different practices that respect our genetic heritage but are also manageable in the modern world.

This is what the Library Journal had to say about The Depression Cure:

“[Ilardi] presents his alternative approach based on cognitive-behavioral therapy with an anthropological twist . . . Research findings (including the author’s own study on the treatment’s efficacy) are translated into readable terms . . . The positive aspects of the TLC model are obvious, but Ilardi’s composite program—rooted in the hunter-gatherer way of life—is novel. Practical, straightforward, grounded in persuasive research, this book is recommended for anyone seeking an alternative approach to treating depression.”

I found this talk interesting. Let me know what you think.

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