I think this is interesting, but I’m not sure how I feel about it just yet.
“What if mental disorders like anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder aren’t mental disorders at all? In a compelling new paper, biological anthropologists call on the scientific community to rethink mental illness. With a thorough review of the evidence, they show good reasons to think of depression or PTSD as responses to adversity rather than chemical imbalances. And ADHD could be a way of functioning that evolved in an ancestral environment, but doesn’t match the way we live today.”
On one hand, I think we could eliminate a lot of the stigma around depression, anxiety, PTSD and ADHD if we understood them to be fairly common, and normal responses to abnormal events.
On the other though, I’m concerned that trying to explain away something that can be as debilitating as depression can be could lead to an increase in people not taking it seriously. Which could lead to people not getting help as needed for it, and being blamed for not just dealing with it, etc.
I also worry that if we define mental health conditions very strictly, we’ll be increasing the stigma of those with other disorders like bipolar, or schizophrenia.
So, ultimately, this opens up a new way of looking at, and treating these conditions, which I am all for, and I would like to think that we could manage this fine line between understanding these conditions as somewhat normal things that we can work around, and solve for, without creating more stigma, but our track record when it comes to stigma as human beings isn’t all that great.