Stanford Professor Robert Sapolsky, posits that depression is the most damaging disease that you can experience. Right now it is the number four cause of disability in the US and it is becoming more common. Sapolsky states that depression is as real of a biological disease as is diabetes.
Stanford University Channel on YouTube:
how freaking stupid are these people to laugh during a class at such a debilitation biological sever enough to set the thoughts in human behavior to points of suicide, harming themselves, or someone they love dearly. i find them horrid, umempathic, and so stupid it's horrifying. so sad. i am unable to imagine this is the world where we live. it's beyond belief they have no clue the difference in stress, anxiety, and depression. these are people so insensitive it is contemptible. this class is what stands to treat such a disabled human being? ... i am appalled at their behavior. And the opportunity for those who imho are disrespecting themselves you and lend society no competence to treat another human. i can only feel sorry for them you and their missed opportunity. i am not able to imagine how depressing it was for you teaching this day.
thank you r s. love your courage and composure.
One should add though that Major Depression Disorder can also come with Overeating and Hypersomnia. The DSM 5 explicitly lists INCREASE OR DECREASE in appetite (and body weight), as well as INSOMNIA OR HYPERSOMNIA as diagnostic criteria.
Depression messes with appetite and sleep, but it can do that in several ways.
Someone watching this lecture without reading the DSM5, relevant studies and other sources might not be able to detect all signs of depression/MDD afterwards. Imagine a MP, often the first health professional a depressed person contacts, wanting to brush up on her knowledge of Depression, watching this lecture and then withholding proper treatment to a patient on the grounds that they dont have a lack of appetite, but overeat instead, and don't wake up early in the morning, but sleep all day long.
Doc says: You don't have depression. Can't be.
The patient protests, and the MP gets out her laptop and plays the part of the lecture, where Sapolsky says: "That is not what you see in Major Depression."
Patient looks increasingly disturbed.
MP shrugs like Seinfeld and that's that.
The problem ist that statements like that sound quite definite coming from such an eminent, famous man. That is why it is so dangerous. Because he is so famous and influential.
Worst case scenario: A deeply depressed person is told that she is not depressed, because she suffers from hypersomnia instead of Insomnia, doesn't receive proper treatment, or is even labelled a malingerer and commits suicide.
The social environment of the depressed person might react similiarly after watching this video.
"You are just fat, greedy and lazy, not depressed! Otherwise you would wake up in the mornings and you wouldn't stuff that cake in your face!"
Also the depiction of the research history and the neurochemistry of depression invites misunderstanding. MAOIs decrease the breakdown of Serotonin and Dopamine as well as that of Norepinephrine. It might be that some scientiststs back in the sixties thought that the efficacy of MAOIs in treating MDD did indeed prove the Norepinephrine-Hypothesis of Depression, but they might just as well have seen it as support for the Serotonin-Hypothesis of Depression, which came up in the sixties as well. It should however be made very clear to the audience that MAOIs also increase Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine in the brain.
The reason why SSRIs have the first S Selective in their name is that, in contrast to earlier antidepressants like Tricyclics they did not work on different neurotransmitter systems at the same time, or at least they were not supposed to.
It appears that scientists did think that the early antidepressants worked exclusively on norepinephrine. Just read the passage about Depression in his book "Why Zebras don't get Ulcers", where it is made very clear that MAOIs and Tricyclics work on the different neurotransmitters. BUT: The problem with the appetite and sleep is also to be found in the book.
This is awesome! Thank you Prof Sapolsky. I'm taking a class on vulnerability to depression, and your lecture gives a beautiful overview of the history of research on depression and in the end links vulnerability and stress together...Definitely recommend !
Is depression a disease or is this grossly dysfunctional collective society we have found ourselves in a disease? Does the key problem rest in an individuals brain or in humanity as a whole? Not all things can be explained by placing it in a labeled box and poking at it with metal instruments.
Each individual's circumstances should be considered and if there is nothing that can be done to help the person and the person is determined to die then they should be able to access the means to die a quick, painless and dignified death regardless of whether they are terminally ill or not. I can not stand these Anti- Sucide campaigns as they do not care at all about how the person came to be sucidal, all they care about is stopping the person from killing themselves, their motto is that you should continue to exist NO MATTER WHAT, quality of life being irrelevant. We live in a society and system obessed only with quantity of life and not quality of life. Quality of life is much more important than quantity of life, given the choice, if I was given the option of choosing between 5 more years of life but great 5 years of life and given 40 more years of life but miserable ones then I would take the great 5 years of life anytime. Quality of life over quantity just for the sake of quantity. Unfortunately we live in a society and system obessed only with Quantity of Life and NOT Quality of Life after all the longer one exists the more one consumes and the more money is made out of the individual hence " let's keep everyone existing for as long as possible no matter their quality of life or lack of it." As someone who was abandoned and abused as a child to then be adopted by 2 abusers at age of 5 and who because of that tried taking my own life within a month of turning 16 and then moved to a country at 19 where making friends has been impossible for me and there therefore have now lived my entire adult life all on my own ( 34 now ) and NO I don't have Asperger's or some personality disorder or Bipolar.When I lived in country of birth I had a few friends and never felt completely disconnected and like an outcast and when I did a Working Holiday in Canada I made friends there. I literally am alll ALONE in the world. I have not found my place in the world. I have tried Suicide a couple of times cause of my circumstances. When I have had to fill in paper work that require a contact of next of kin and leave it blank they won't let me leave it blank and as I have nobody i just have make one up. I would NEVER talk to a "professional" if feeling Suicidal cause I know they do not care for the individual they just care about their agenda. I think it would be rather cruel to insist that I should keep existing as I have been till I die of cancer or some other horrible disease. Suffer and Suffer and Suffer. But Suicide is "Forbidden" "Anything but Suicide" is the motto.
Why do we need to fill our lives with stuff, entertainment, find a reason to live, find meaning in life etc? If Life truly was such a wonderful thing then Breathing only should be enough, being Conscious only should be enough and yet it isn't because Life in itself and just by itself is pointless and meaningless. It is up to each individual to find a meaning to it and give it a meaning and that varies from person to person. Some of us see that even if we fill it with temmporary pleasures like sex and stuff, tv, music, books etc that at the end of it all it is all still very pointless, it is just distracting us from the fact that there is nothing meaningful in simply just existing. I hate quotes like "Life is a Gift, that is why Today is called the Present. " Life is imposed and unlike a Gift it is not so easy to just give it away or get rid of it... How many of us if we could pick if to be born at all or not, having lived what we already have would choose to simply never be born? I am one of them. We are born into this Cult called Life of which we had no choice and if we ever announce that we prefer Death and want to die they lock us up for our own good so they say, to "save" us from ourselves, like cult members forcibly try to stop people from leaving their cult once they joined or are born into it. There are many different reasons why people feel suicidal, it is case by case. For some, things NEVER improve and will NEVER improve. I am one of those people for who this is true. Killing yourself is okay, it is like abortion, your body and your choice same with suicide. If my body and my life are not mine, then whose are they? Who does my Life and Body belong to? The Government? Society? I am fed up with all these Anti Suicide campaigns and these Anti Suicide Marches. All futile of course, Nobody is protesting in marches against Murder, they know it is ridiculous, how are you going to stop murder from happening ever? Same with Suicide, Suicide IS Self Murder. It all comes down to something called FREE WILL. I'm a good person so I feel a painless exit is warranted.
Hello. What is it that keeps you going? I resonate with your journey a lot. I know the place you are in. For some reason just ending it all doesn't make sense somehow and also committing suicide is a terrifying act in my mind, like drugs or drowning or hanging or slitting wrists or jumping in front of a train etc etc . Do you ever feel like you don't necessarily want to die you just don't want to live lie this anymore?
Depression is not a disease, is actually the empirical finding of much of psychiatric clinical research. A good summary of the evidence against the disease argument can be hearded here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep1ODxCoYlI
I'm 25, I've had clinical depression for years now probably about 10 years. I hope I get out of it soon it fucking robs you of everything and molds your personality to that of nothing, fuck depression.
This is an extraordinary talk for the layperson. I loved the way he gave insights into the underlying biochemistry to finally include the psychiatric and psychological manifestations to create an unified understanding of the depression. Such talks should be adapted and given in schools, high-schools and universities to make people aware from young age about the devastating effects of this illness and about the how it can affect and sometimes shape ones life. Can be life savers!
Probably a service dog, to help a person with depression? Pets CAN be a lifesaver for a depressed person. BUT, they can also suffer the dire consequences of their owner's depression. A lady on the next block lost her partner to diabetes. She fell into a serious depression, stopped going out, started hoarding trash, cutting herself, neglected her pet finches. The super discovered her condition and her trash-filled apartment and called in adult services. She was hospitalized and put on the road to recovery. Unfortunately, her finches were dead on the floor of their cage. She just stopped taking care of them.
My husband and I were studying in London when we were young, and he starts to feel sad, lost his apettite and the sound of dried leaves on the streets made him cry. We are from a tropical country. The night comes to early in england, it is cold and cloudy in the autumn. The lack of sun made him depressed, he stopped to eat, sleep and during the night he start to have panic attacks.We came back to our country ealier although everything was paid.He starts to feel better in the first week. Sun is everything for him. I didn't feel the same, the lack of sun does not affect me. If I knew this, Í would have traveled in the summer, but I couldn't have imagined this would happen.
Have any depressed individuals tried the carnivore diet? It cured Jordan Peterson's depression (and his daughters too) and I want to know if it works for others as well.
If you're depressed and you're apprehensive about trying it, what do you have to lose?
Would not it be hard to be depressed in a safe, beautiful environment, on a bright, sunny day, being in love and connected to others, surrounded with exciting things to explore?
Maybe depression is a way our body has to signal that something is terribly amiss in our life / environment. At the end, we have so little energy left that everything looks futile and every task looks so taxing that the only place we feel ok is a corner we turn our backs to the world.
The loss of meaningful rapport to the world and others is the cause of depression. Make life meaningful and depression will clear away.
One thing I could never understand was how is going through CBT may possibly help to ease or treat depression. I even tried CBT with an open mind and it didn’t just fail for me, but my condition got much worse after that. I gained almost no valuable information from the therapy and was mostly told the things I already knew such as: “Breath in this manner. Exercise more. Spend more time talking to people and doing things you enjoy.”
I have no clue how it helps people.
There is a treatment (not a cure) You have to focus on survival. Death is coming, at DEATH, there isn't a single thing. There are zero things. There is no emotion, there is no thought. There is no spoon.
When you are in a totaly black room you see black. When you turn around from your mother you can't see your mother. There's a difference.
When women want to flirt with a man they admire and attracted to, they'd laugh at anything joke he tells .Loudly. Even at light sarcasm. Please get a grip on your vaginas, divorced psycholigsts females.
I’ve always read in medical world that once you have your 1st major depression bout (not sadness), you have a 50% chance of having another. And after the 2nd, the percentages go up. Tells me you’re already genetically predisposed to a lifetime of depression. I was SUCH a happy child. Had nothing but a positive and “love life” attitude. Then, at 26 years old, my first bout lasted 18 months. I didn’t even know what the hell happened to me.
Comic relief while dealing with a very serious topic. Sort of like when I began giggling at my great auntie's funeral. She had professional wailers. I didn't know how to react, so the louder they carried on, the more I laughed. Bubbe ushered me outside and smacked some respect into me on the sidewalk, in public in Boro Park, Brooklyn. Very embarrassing.
My mom has been depressed her whole life, and has taught me a lot about how it works. I also recently started taking Prozac to help treat my own mild depression, as well as my autism and OCD. All that said, I probably learned more about depression from this one lecture than in the whole rest of my life combined. Sapolsky does an incredible job of explaining the nuts and bolts of how the disease works, and gave me a deep understanding that even experiencing it for myself couldn't. it completely changed how I think of depression in a biological sense.
Major depression have people with primary adrenal insufficiency - Addison's Disease. This is not a usual depression but style of living, entwined with unique feelings about human emotional sphere due to the lack of DHEA, cortisol and aldosterone.
the problem with arguing that depression is purely a biological disease is correlation/causation issue. yes, depressed people have different biological indicators but is that the cause of it? or is it just mere correlation with a psychological condition?
I just saw this link in a comment below that I'd like to share as a contra-point to Sapolsky's lecture. I'm doing this because I think it's always interesting to have a second expert comment on a subject so important as this:
bang zoom's comment :(~ 2015)
In particular, the following quote, of the article, seems to contradict what Sapolsky is saying in this video:
_".. there is absolutely no evidence to support it. Recent reviews of the research have demonstrated no link between depression, or any other mental disorder, and an imbalance of chemicals in the brain (Lacasse & Leo, 2005; (Valenstein, 1998)."_
39:55...you have lost a loved one. That can also be a loved concept, a loved goal,...
40:10....most will mourn then come out the other end. Melancholia is the subset of people who can't put the negative feelings in the background and instead are awash with love and hate
Out of this comes the line, depression is aggression turned inward....
43:55... learned helplessness....
44:33...lose a parent to death before the age of 10 years old, and for the rest of your life your are more at risk for a major depression....learned that there are things that you can't control and sometimes they are just awful...and you're much closer to the edge of this learned helplessness cliff for the rest of your life.
49:30....those who have a good version of the gene,...
are more able to pick themselves up after more and more exposure to major stressors....
Now that it's becoming better understood that post partum depression typically occurs when there has been extensive medical and surgical intervention in the birth process, is it not possible that those interventions have interrupted a concurrent hormonal process or sequence which is analogous to the process of premenstrual depression which is expected to clear when menstruation is completed?
I see some comments criticize the laughs in the audience. Please consider that a good lecturer understands that humor helps the audience maintain their focus on the subject. The purpose of the lecture is to transmit the information and to help the audience retain it; a little bit of entertainment helps toward it.
I still remember the time when I got myself out from depression months ago thanks to this depression treatment method “fetching kafon press” (Google it). I was unemployed on crutches abroad living in a shoebox with a busted soul. I feel a sense of alleviation today because I wish to become better and I`m shifting towards the right direction.
So, if you will excuse the pun: Depression is bad news!!! I wish I had known about this, I lost my husband in 2015 to suicide. He had been diagnosed as having Adrenal Fatigue in 2013, and he was under extreme long-term stress due to loss of work. We relocated in 2013, and I think that being away from all our friends, and everything that was familiar, had a snow-ball effect on his deteriorating mental health. His eating habits were atrocious, and needless to say, diabetes also ran in his family (although he was never diagnosed as being diabetic himself). His mother has full blown Alzheimers, and I beleive it is now being called Diabetes Type 3. I am currently studying Naturopathy, which is very involved with the Nutritional side of Biology and the effects on human health. I have chosen Depression as my closing therapeutics assignment. That is how I stumbled upon this link. Hopefully I will be able to help someone else who might be struggling out there. I really enjoyed the relaxed style of this lecture/er and I can say that it makes a lot more sense the way that Prof Sapolsky has explained it. Thank you.
If you are just discovering this video, don’t bother reading the comments. It’s just a bunch of people unable to understand obvious jokes, and laughter. If you want to get offended by a lighthearted lecture meant to talk about depression without giving it to you while you listen, then by all means continue to the rest of the comments.
i still do think that a bit of "hey, pull yourself together!" at least for myself when i realized that i needed to overcome this depression somehow does have some impact. Like he said, people do have the power to "cope" and i think a lot of depression is that people, in the words of edgar allan poe "and so being young and dipped in folly, i fell in love with melancholy" Is people perhaps become used to it, or perhaps they enjoy the sadness on some level, perhaps they enjoy maybe the sympathy they get in some kind of munchausen type deal, or perhaps in many cases it is just biological and they can't help it, which does exist don't get me wrong.
This depression therapy “fetching kafon press” (Google it) really aided me pull myself out of a dim hole many months ago. I was unemployed on crutches in a foreign country residing in a shoebox with a damaged heart. But I am an entirely different individual today, joyful and very comfortable in life.
I`d really tell my buddies and families to use this particular treatment “fetching kafon press” (Google it) just in case if they will suffer depression. There are lots of points that this remedy helped me aside from keeping my mind calm and not to over think. What I already have is a program for my life where I didn`t have one before.
So glad this guy is reinforcing how serious and devastating depression actually is. I've suffered my whole life (38yrs) from serious depression, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, self harm, and other damaging coping behaviors thanks to childhood abuse and genetic factors. I have yet to find real lasting relief. Most "therapists" don't take depression seriously enough because it is so common and many people abuse the term as he said, but also many therapists are just incapable of actually helping because they don't have enough in depth training. I have no idea why it's normal to be treated by actual doctors for physical illnesses but mental illness is most often treated by lay people and sometimes even religious counselors. Neither are qualified to treat serious mental health issues imo. I've been to several "therapists" in my life so far, none of whom I felt took my issues seriously or helped me learn any tools I need to cope, adopt healthier patterns of behavior, or even just survive. I've only seen one actual psychologist (he helped me more than anyone else but retired), and I've only seen psychiatrists when it was time to get meds. I don't just need someone to listen, I need someone to properly diagnose what is wrong with me, treat those specific issues, show me they take my pain seriously, and help me learn coping skills etc. I don't have two lifetimes, or the energy or desire, to hop from one generic therapist to another trying to find that one who "fits" and can help me. I've never had as many issues finding physicians I felt I could trust. Why is good mental health care so much more of a struggle to find? I wish this guy could treat me, or that there were more like him available and accessible. I'm actually weeping. If I'd only had someone this thorough and fully understanding of serious, chronic, depression treating me years ago maybe I'd have made some headway. Maybe.
About five years ago, I started to fall into a really depressive episode. I thought if ever I have a brand new sweetheart I will go back to who I am before but I was incorrect. Happy I never skipped on following the steps that this depression treatment method “fetching kafon press” (Google it) is advocating. And I am very happy right now since I am not going thru depression any longer.
This depression treatment “fetching kafon press” (Google it) really helped me pull myself out of a black hole several months ago. I was jobless on crutches in a foreign country residing in a shoebox with a broken soul. But I`m an entirely different individual now, joyful and very satisfied in life.
I developed Major Depressive Disorder during my deployment to Afghanistan. The only physiological change was a knee injury, and a blow to the head causing momentary unconsciousness. Can a blow to the head cause MDD?
This is ridiculous. Genes do not have the power to give us depression by themselves. Genes are blueprints for god’s sake. They don’t have an on or off button so that randomly whenever they like they give us certain diseases. They are not seperate entities with their own central nervous system governing themselves.
Yes I agree that depression is learnt helplessness but the way this helplessness comes about is by our perception of the environment we live in. Of course if your perception is that your parents, wife, husband, government, school, boss are having control over you and you think there’s no way out, then by definition you will feel hopeless. You don’t necessarily learn to be hopeless, you perceive that people and your environment are controlling you and there is no way out.
Watch “The Biology of Belief” by Dr. Bruce Lipton and you’ll be taken to a different paradigm of existence.
No genes make anything more likely to happen. Genes are blueprints. It’s the same as you saying that an engineering drawing blueprint make it more likely that a house is going to be built. No. It doesn’t matter how many engineers drawing or blueprints there are. There will never be any building unless we need the building or a person wants to build a building.
Similarly, it doesn’t matter how many genes we have for depression in our body. Unless we create the depression for ourselves or we want to be depressed by choice, our genes will never be expressed for depression.
It doesn’t matter if he is a professor or a rubbish collector. Genes are blueprints.
That’s as simple as that.
He didn't say that. He said that a certain gene makes it more likely that major depression will set in after an increased number of stressors. I'm sure he understands it's not that simple, he is a professor at Stanford. Also, if you perceive that outside forces are controlling you and something happens that confirms your initial belief and you accept it then you are learning to be helpless. He gave an excellent example with the rat experiment.
I suffer depression and my ex got the police to stop me seeing my son for seven years. In those seven years I was beaten by the police locked up and denied help from the government. Its sad because I spend every day in bed. I am cross that they would not let me see speeck or send present,s to my son. How crule can you be to someone who suffers bad depression. True Story.
I was diagnosed with major depression disorder and given an antipsychotic. But I've never stopped being able to appreciate sunsets and the beauty of our natural world. I have every hope that even though this is a biological problem and that my dopamine levels are so low I exhibit the early waking symptoms and the horrible sleep symptoms and have been suicidal and have no desire to eat or live life, even though I'm experiencing all these things I still know you have to want to pick yourself back up again to get over it. Without the will to pass through and come back up then you never will. So while he is right that you can't just say to someone "come on pick yourself back up" when it comes to this depression, the person themselves have to understand that is exactly what they need to do. But it doesn't mean they do it by themselves but they need to take the steps towards getting the right treatment to feel again. They have to pick themselves up from bed and get up to get treatment. If they can't bring themselves to seek any and every help they can get then they will surely die from this.
Do you have breathing/posture issues? I had a slight vertebral arteries compression -- that fucked my blood oxygen saturation/sleep good. I always seemed sleepy, always tired yet unable to sleep. Anxiety tooked over trivial things.
Wow....!! What a professor. Just the professor I would want - just get intimidated by those cleanly shaved strict looking professor. You Stanfordites are lucky. Thanks for the upload. Thoroughly enjoyed.
this is ivory tower intellectualism - because he spends 30 yrs of his life studying depression and completely misses the elephant in the room - that the food supply has been poisoned and it is producing an epidemic in society of sick and mentally ill people
SSRIs/SNRIs destroy the brain and the body of a healthy individual destroying their lives. Yet they are prescribed even for minor depression, for $$$ from the drug companies. Some even say SSRIs/SNRIs are just placebo. Marijuana however does work, with almost no side effects or addictive potential. Legalize it, so people do not need to turn to psychiatry and get poisoned by the drug companies.
Antidepressants are medications that can help relieve symptoms of depression, social anxiety disorder, anxiety disorders, seasonal affective disorder, and dysthymia, or mild chronic depression, as well as other conditions.
They aim to correct chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain that are believed to be responsible for changes in mood and behavior.
Depression Medications (Antidepressants)
These are the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant.
Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are used to treat major depression, mood disorders, and possibly but less commonly attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, menopausal symptoms, fibromyalgia, and chronic neuropathic pain.
SNRIs raise levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters in the brain that play a key role in stabilizing mood.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. They are effective in treating depression, and they have fewer side effects than the other antidepressants.
SSRIs block the reuptake, or absorption, of serotonin in the brain. This makes it easier for the brain cells to receive and send messages, resulting in better and more stable moods.
They are called "selective" because they mainly seem to affect serotonin, and not the other neurotransmitters.