The Future of Depression
The first question a child learns to ask is, “Why?” You answer the question. What happens next? The next word from your child is, “Why?” This will go on and on until you utter the words that signal the end of this discussion: “Because I said so.” This statement was the position and the world view of the early authorities in civilization, but the children kept asking their questions. Scientists, in a way, are the children whose questions have no end. And for the rest of us, that's good.
Medicine and Depression
Depression has been a disagreeable companion for humankind for as long as there have been humans. Melancholia, as it was called early on, is now recognized to be an umbrella of different conditions, as explained in Chapter 4. Science has come very far very quickly, and it only moves forward. The future looks promising and chances of a cure aren't out of the question. With the human genome project completed, science has the roadmap it wanted. Further research into the workings of the human brain will result in greater understanding of the role of neurotransmitters and depression, and with each new fact learned, prospects of a cure grow closer.
Ethics and Depression
This is the one area that needs some serious attention. Science has bypassed traditional ethical and moral structures, and people need time to catch up. Just because you can do something may not mean that you should. What is for the greater good? When is it acceptable to sacrifice one for the benefit of the whole? Is it ever acceptable? There's always been an allowance for an individual to sacrifice self for others. It's time-honored in the military. When a parent gives up his life to save that of his child, society mourns but approves. It's a conscious decision, however, on the part of the person making the sacrifice. Opponents of fetal stem cell research will say that the donor had no say in the matter. It's an area that requires great sensitivity and respect on both sides of the issue.
Society and Depression
This is a more troubling area to consider. Society is increasingly mobile, and personal connections tend to be more temporary and even virtual in nature. As technology expands our world, it also has the capacity to isolate. Human contact and the healing power of human touch are essential to your mental and physical well-being. For a society always on the move, building strong and permanent personal relationships will be a challenge. Science can and does work miracles, but it can do only so much. The rest is up to each of us. Always has been. Always will be.