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Getting depression

Why is there so much more depression about? And why do we still know so little about how it is caused or cured?

By Judith Flanders   March 1999

Everyone is depressed these days-or, at the very least, knows someone who is depressed. Libraries of books have been published on the subject, ranging from hard-core science through alternative therapies and self-help manuals. But why has depression become such a standard of mental health, when only a generation ago it was scarcely talked about? What has created this sudden increase in the disease? Is it a disease at all, or is it an illness? Or is it just a self-indulgence for the rich and bored?

Current wisdom is that depression is caused by a scarcity of one of two chemical…

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