Monkey Mind wrote:I vote "no". Clinical depression is more than just brain chemistry. It is a complicated interaction between one's neurobiology (including genetics, nutrition, etc.), psychology, and social environment.
I settle down on this side of this opinion for many of the same reasons stated. The reason why is because I've experienced "clinical" depression (although to speak with full disclosure, I was never formally diagnosed with such by any psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, or psychotherapist; but I know from having studied this phenomenon and having read several books on the subject that had I allowed myself to be diagnosed at the time I was undergoing this phenomenon, they almost certainly would have diagnosed it as "clinical" according to the criteria they use) and was fortunate enough to be able to come out the other end.
Wind wrote:Some suggest that clinical depression can be caused by chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters (particularly of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine) in the brain.
The operative phrase here is the one highlighted. There is a lot more to this so-called "disorder" (to use modern "medicine's" current terminology) than just brain chemical imbalances and the like. People can become "programmed" into submerging into depression, through psychological and social conditioning; or there can be an actual mental disease (paranoid schizophrenia comes to mind as one example); or any number of other triggers which can be at the root cause for a person to devolve into a general mental quandary.
The honest question you have to ask yourself if considering the suggestion given above is: what causes the chemical imbalance in the brain? Does anyone remember the teaching on dependent co-arising?
In my own particular case, while I have little doubt that a chemical analysis of my brain chemistry during the time I was experiencing my depression might have yielded a positive hit for chemical imbalances, those imbalances were not the cause, but only a result
of previously held wrong views and beliefs about the reality I was facing at the time. I was finally able to find someone who was able to set me on the road to recovery, although his fix was not the kind that really took and held. It was a bandaid. It was only a temporary fix, easily broken through if one did not do the requisite mental work required to bring the condition to an end. I ought to know, because I broke through that fix on more than one occasion over the course of twenty years — until finally I was able to bring the cycle to an end.
It wasn't until I began studying the Dhamma
and experienced some breakthroughs there that I was finally able to wrestle that monkey off my back for good. If you understand the five aggregates and the teaching on dependent co-arising really well
, you can put an end to any future arising of depression for good. That was what I experienced after I had had some particularly important breakthroughs; and I knew
that I would never again
experience depression in this lifetime. And, I haven't.
If a person identified as being an arahant ever experienced depression, I would have to seriously question whether or not the person ever achieved arahanthood in the first place. If you really know
the source of suffering, that kind of knowledge doesn't leave you in any kind of quandary at all regarding your present reality. On the contrary, just the opposite.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV