Depression and society: the social construction of depression

the social construction of depression

Speaking of the West … In the news headlines, it is increasingly common to hear about depression, because in recent years the incidence of this problem has increased, as is the case with the sale and consumption of psychotropic drugs (especially anxiolytics). and antidepressants).

There are many explanatory factors, which contribute and provide relevant data in a diagnosis of depression and that suggest relevant ideas to get out of it or cope with it. The social context in which we move is very important in these cases, since in it we find protection and vulnerability factors, which do not explain all the casuistry, but which are an explanatory part of the process, development, resolution and how people cope with this mood disorder.

Social factors influencing depression

1. Gender

Among the social factors that we are going to highlight, the first to mention is gender. Studies published so far reveal that there are more Depression diagnoses in women than in men. Among the reasons for this difference are the following:

  • Different experiences. The demands of society, the expectations they face every day and, still, in many cases, inequality and discrimination in some sectors, especially in older generations, have made and still do that women’s lives Statistically, that women, under certain circumstances, may feel more vulnerable.
  • Different ways of perceiving it. The same symptomatology of nervousness and anguish in women and men is considered by professionals as Depression in a greater number of occasions among the female gender than among the male.
  • Different ways of communicating it. In the case of men, at first, it is shown as anger and frustration and then to a state of pressure when feeling vulnerable. Among the female gender, the feeling of sadness and anguish stands out.

2. Economy

The economic factor does not go unnoticed on this list. It is not surprising that in times of economic crisis, the number of cases of this and other mental disorders rises, being considered an important element of vulnerability. Poverty, unemployment and the type of occupation make people feel defenseless in a scenario in which their job and education offers are limited, which causes a feeling of individual helplessness and worthlessness for society. It should be clarified that unemployment and poverty are not the same, but that the effects that the first has on the person’s state of mind would be important to take in consideration.

The relationship between society and depression

3. Racism

Racism also has a place in this list, since the experience of discrimination is another of the significant elements that can be triggers of depression. Feeling excluded accompanies them throughout their lives and this feeling not only influences the onset and the process of Depression, but it can lead to having an important role in seeking help by not feeling in a safe context, empathetic and trustworthy.

4. Family and partner

A violent family and partner context can influence the appearance of a possible depressive picture. It is not surprising that many people with this diagnosis present stories of abuse in childhood, that they have witnessed episodes of violence between their parents, in addition to the possibility that violence is present, in some way, in their relationship of couple or family nucleus. Once again, living in this climate can generate feelings of helplessness and be the trigger for the onset of a mood disorder.

A contextual approach is interesting to contemplate the development of the depressed person in various settings, which include couple dynamics, relationships with families of origin and extended, social, cultural and work context. It is interesting to take in consideration the importance of addressing the problem that is maintaining the depressive process, but it is also necessary to analyze the secondary scenarios that can contribute to both an improvement and a worsening of symptoms. That is, a person may have a low mood in front of their family, however, work or social relationships can help that, at certain times, the symptoms are not present even when the main problem is not resolved.