Looking Ahead to Change: Little by Little
I don't make New Year's Resolutions. I don't think I ever really did, but the last decade or two would have been enough to stifle that impulse. I've just been too aware that I don't have that much control over what happens in my life.
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Choosing to be depressed?

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by MeSci, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?

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    My immediate thought is 'BS' but I don't have time to read it.

    Sad as a Matter of Choice? Emotion-Regulation Goals in Depression

    Yael Millgram1, Jutta Joormann2, Jonathan D. Huppert1, and
    Maya Tamir1

    1The Hebrew University and 2Yale University

    Abstract

    Research on deficits in emotion regulation has devoted considerable attention to emotion-regulation strategies. We propose that deficits in emotion regulation may also be related to emotion-regulation goals. We tested this possibility by assessing the direction in which depressed people chose to regulate their emotions (i.e., toward happiness, toward sadness). In three studies, clinically depressed participants were more likely than nondepressed participants to use emotion-regulation strategies in a direction that was likely to maintain or increase their level of sadness. This pattern was found when using the regulation strategies of situation selection (Studies 1 and 2) and cognitive reappraisal (Study 3). The findings demonstrate that maladaptive emotion regulation may be linked not only to the means people use to regulate their emotions, but also to the ends toward which those means are directed.

    I accessed the full text here.
     
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  2. Sea

    Sea Senior Member

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    :wide-eyed: Wow, have they just discovered that a person with depression will tend to think negatively?

    (Disclaimer: I didn't read it either but I agree with your BS meter) :bang-head::ill:
     
  3. evatious

    evatious

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    Ok, I did read through most of that and came away with:

    "Future research should also identify why depressed
    people are more motivated than nondepressed people to
    experience sadness."

    Nek minnit... phrenology... :cautious:
     
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  4. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow Annie Gsampel

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    I tried to read the paper and had to give up but I have a question. What exactly does depression have to do with sadness?
     
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  5. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    Which is part of the definition of depression. Geese!

    I didn’t read it either, but plan to if I can get motivated.:D

    Interesting.

    Barb
     
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  6. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member

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    I see they have a new translation of the old Assyrian phrase:
    Allyo une edtod oiss napou tofit.
     
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  7. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    The first two studies they found that depressed participants were more likely to choose looking at 'sad' images and 'sad music'. The third study, participants were trained in "cognitive reappraisal".

    Firstly: Note that all the participants are female undergraduate students (at elite universities), which can also suggest issues with generalisability.

    But here lies the rub:

    Which leads to these questionable conclusions:
    Basically, without any evidence, the authors are assuming that the choice to listen to sad music or look at sad pictures is an unhealthy or maladaptive emotional strategy. Perhaps experiencing deeper sadness is helpful and helps us move on or whatever? Given the lack of longitudinal studies, I believe the above conclusions could be biased.

    This is also where I wonder whether there would be any gender or age or other demographic effects that could alter the results.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015
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  8. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow Annie Gsampel

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    Good word! I like it.

    Although you left an 'i' out, which threw me a bit. I wondered if you meant 'general stability' which I thought was a bit harsh and uncharacteristically misogynistic. ;)
     
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  9. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    I blame my spellchecker and my bad eyes!

    On the topic of "Cognitive Reappraisal", there are suggestions that this process has gender differences - or that there are gender related biases in self-reporting questionnaires in the studies in question:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_reappraisal#Gender

    It is also suggested that there are age and cultural issues too.
     
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  10. IreneF

    IreneF Senior Member

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    Listening to sad music? Adolescents? How surprising.
     
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  11. IreneF

    IreneF Senior Member

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    Depression is a choice, so if you choose to be mentally ill, it's your own fault. Like "choosing to do" something else?
     
  12. JaimeS

    JaimeS Senior Member

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    This is old research, rephrased and re-packaged insultingly.

    Here's the 'old' representation: people have preference for images/words/sounds that resonate with their experience of the world. People who are experiencing a negative mood show preference for words, images and sounds that reflect that negative mood. Last I checked, this was considered an indicator of mood and completely subconscious rather than a 'choice'. That is, if words flashed on a screen in front of a depressed person, they would still focus on the negative words rather than the positive ones, even when that flashing is happening too swiftly to reflect a conscious decision.

    I don't have references; this is my impression from a study I read over a decade ago in graduate school while writing a paper on hypothyroidism.

    Same distant memory tells me that people in a negative mood respond with disdain and increased negativity to words, images and sounds that run counter to their experience. In other words, forcing a depressed person to listen to uber-cheery music when they feel low may be counter-productive.

    Also, they are RIDICULOUS. (Just tell all those depressed people to 'think positive'! Because that would never have occurred to them without your help.) How did this paper get past peer review? o_O

    -J
     
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  13. Valentijn

    Valentijn The Diabolic Logic

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    When I'm in an emo mood, I like emo music. It makes me feel less emo after listening to it for a bit and working through whatever I'm feeling :p

    Whereas being forced to focus on positive thoughts without acknowledging the negative is just going to piss people off and make them more emo.
     
  14. Keela Too

    Keela Too Sally Burch

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    Just thinking back to a tough time in my life after a miscarriage... YES I did ponder on sad things then and I'm pretty certain that was part of my coping, re-adjusting, mending and moving on....

    Telling me not to think about the sadness of my situation then - and not to allow that sadness to be processed would NOT have helped me at all I think.

    Although I do wonder if some folk can get stuck in a loop as it were, and not move out of natural sadness about a situation. Is that when sadness becomes depression?

    Or with all the talk of gut biome being linked to depression, is it just that the gut has gone wonky and that is why these depressed folk get stuck in a loop???

    The more I think about depression (as opposed to sadness) the more I wonder if there are physical processes behind depression also.

    The old "mind over matter" however I think is only useful for things like walking across glass bridges that instinct is telling you is unsafe. It is not so useful for the deeper issues I think... at least not as something that can be pushed as a "cure".
     
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  15. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?

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    I think that people vary widely in how they deal with low mood. Some people find that crying helps. For me, that makes me feel much worse, as it brings it home more starkly that I have something to be sad about.

    I think there used to be a one-size-fits-all treatment for PTSD, which is perhaps in some ways analogous. It was 'exposure therapy'. This still does seem to be the standard approach.

    But on a recent radio programme I heard a discussion about a study (I think) which found that this made (some) people worse, and they coped better by suppressing the frightening memories.

    This review discusses different ways that have been tried to deal with various psychological illnesses including depression, and states:
    (my emphasis)
     
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  16. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?

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    I think that psychs tend to treat all depression the same, whether it is due to a genetic predisposition, a person's situation, or gut dysbiosis, and the latter is not even on the radar for most psychs.

    It's actually similar to modern physical medicine - docs tend not to think of the cause of illness, instead just treating symptoms, which all-too-often doesn't work.
     
  17. Keela Too

    Keela Too Sally Burch

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