- Rates of depression have risen in recent decades, at the same time that people are enjoying time-saving conveniences such as microwave ovens, e-mail, prepared meals, and machines for washing clothes and mowing lawns.
- People of earlier generations, whose lives were characterized by greater efforts just to survive, paradoxically, were mentally healthier. Human ancestors also evolved in conditions where hard physical work was necessary to thrive.
- By denying our brains the rewards that come from anticipating and executing complex tasks with our hands, the author argues, we undercut our mental well-being.
For several decades, the multibillion-dollar antidepressant industry has pointed to imbalances in the neurochemical serotonin as the cause of depression. But research has yet to find convincing evidence that serotonin imbalances represent the indisputable cause of depression, and despite the unprecedented number of pharmacological treatment options available today, depression rates are higher than ever.
If Big Pharma does not have a cure for depression, shouldn’t we pursue a fresh approach to this vexing problem? Could there be a nonpharmacological treatment strategy that would bring relief to the increasing number of people struggling with this mood disorder, for instance? What do we know about how to preserve good mental health? Is it possible to maintain a sense of control over our increasingly stressful daily lives, so that we can refocus our attention on more meaningful psychological endeavors, such as the challenging issues of problem solving and planning for our futures?
This article was originally published with the title Depressingly Easy.