People have neurotransmitters for a number of things, and "happiness" is one of them. Ever hear of endorphins or serotonin? Some people make a lot of these neurotransmitters and some people make very little of them. They may also have very few or very many receptors for these "happy" messages. Or perhaps the receptors are defective... Not efficient or they don't really accept the neurotransmitter, the happy message.
One might wonder how someone could ever be depressed (e.G. "Why can't they just snap out of it?"), but I'd like to point out that people also wonder how people have problems with other kinds of neurotransmitters. Like pain messages. Some people literally cannot perceive pain because of a neurotransmitter/receptor based problem. Other people feel a lot of pain! Every bump and bruise is torture! Think about the elderly in that case.
Anyway, people definitely vary in their abilities to cope with stress. If there's less happy neurotransmitter/receptor action going on, it's going to be more difficult to cope. For some, their neurotransmitters/receptors alone *really* just don't cut it. Or perhaps something is affecting the levels and performance of those little chemical messages.
Depression usually needs some form of medication to overcome it. While most cases of depression do not require a life time of psychosomatics the fact is that there are some cases that do require their use for a life time.
However, in both cases to get over the initial depression drugs surely should be recommended. Thereafter, in a non genetic case some solid therapy will help in the long term to not lead to relapse. In contrast a genetic depressive disorder will never be helped totally just by therapy.
Depression happens due to chemical changes in the brain, triggered by a confluence of circumstances.
Depression can be triggered by a deeply sad memory, or even by poor diet which slows the production of certain brain chemicals.
It is a very real, and fairly easily diagnosed condition, but the treatment requires quite a nuanced approach.
It can be as simple as a dietary change, or as difficult as changing an entire lifestyle. The first step, is always admitting one has a problem.
Even if there was nothing neurological about it at all it would still be a real disease because it causes personal distress. That being said depression is overdiagnosed. At least this is my impression from having thought I was depressed and knowing others who thought the same things and now in retrospect realizing I was just being a whiner and being lazy.
It's not so much that people are just sad, they are unconfident and unmotivated. So you usually find serotonin is reduced because that's the most linked to being confident. Dopamine is lower when people are unhappy, but sometimes very unhappy people are jumping around and seem to be happy but it's only because they are trying very very hard to figure out ways to make themselves happy. ADHD is more likely to really be just unhappiness than depression even if your kid doesn't seem unhappy.
And yet much of what I said while supported by the best science is still just conjecture because well most neuroscience is just a best guess.
Neuroscientific studies often have many problems. Often they use small sample sizes, they may test people only within certain cultural contexts, and people examining studies have sometimes found that there were 7,000 different ways to interpret fMRI results in many cases. Of course researchers would highlight what ever ones they liked the most or what ever would get themselves published. Science is an indispensable tool for understanding the world but we must remember human nature is everywhere including among scientists.
The media and researchers wanting to make names for themselves during interviews love to get excited about neurological findings and act as if they were certain. But in reality a great deal of these findings are just leads, most things we don't know for certain. An example of something that used to be though certain is the fusiform gyrus being singularly involved in facial processing. New studies suggest the face is actually processed all over the brain and the role of the fusiform gyrus is less than researchers had thought if it is even special at all.
Data in neuroscience and the conclusions from researchers are always changing. A decade from now researchers will be looking back and saying "previous studies suggested this but it turned out they were flawed..."
It's a valid field of study but neurology has a very very long way to go before it gets anything definitive.
And there may well be a nonphysical component. Micro-tubules could connect to the quantum realm and below that random fluctuation. Random fluctuation could be "the true self" and a basis for "free will" at least once you've come to be in touch with your true self.
Serotonin links to confidence, more and more people argue we have no free will, no wonder more and more people are depressed.
People choose to feel sad, happy, angry, etc. We let emotions into our lives based on our train of thought or the circumstances that necessitate those emotions. However, in today's society we forget that, to a large extent, we have great control over our emotions. Science says other unsubstantiated things. Science has not even fully clarified the cause of depression- they've only gone as far as saying it has something to do in the pre-frontal cortex. It's unsubstantiated.
To say it exists as a medical condition that can be treated by drugs alone only makes it worse because it furthers depressed people into that mindset and their sadness eventually ripples to other people who may eventually believe they have depression. To help, we have to rethink the way we treat depression: help them become part of a larger community that reaches out beyond themselves and teach them to BREAK chains of negative thoughts. Really, if you CAN truly understand and act that depression doesn't exist for 1 hour, then that's the CURE.
People should stop claiming depression, it is just sadness. We all have gone through it . People are making a big deal over little of emotion. Placebo and the actual medication are both equally effective. It was proven by an experiment. People are just sensitive, get over it. That is life.
They call normal anxiety or sadness to deprresion.
We haven't know about brain which has most complex system in our globe. So so called mono amine hypothesis is too superficial.
That may be a demagogue from big Pharma.
We have to think about more and more thoughtfully about tha huge problem.