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Rethinking Depression: Reactions to a Book Questioning the Existence of Depression

By HERWriter
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Mental Health related image Photo: Getty Images

He even offered an “existential program” that can help people cope with and overcome at least some unhappiness in their lives.

Maisel’s book questioned the entire mental health industry, and for people suffering from and treating depression, there is both acceptance and resistance to this theory.

Ka Rae’ Carey, the director of Triangle Stepfamily Institute, which is an organization focused on helping people live successfully in a stepfamily, specializes in therapy for children and adults who are a part of stepfamilies. She acknowledged that in some cases people are diagnosed with mental disorders when they may not actually suffer from them.

“Unfortunately, mental health professionals are forced to diagnose clients when they accept insurance,” Carey said in an email. “Mental health insurance mandates that those that present for mental health services, must have a mental health diagnosis ... It may be true that people are over and under diagnosing conditions. However, I believe these situations and occurrences are directly related to having the proper training in diagnosis.”

In the book, Maisel stated that something like anxiety over public speaking, which is a reality for many people, can even be pathologized, even though it is just an unwanted reality. Carey said this is not the case, that just because a behavior or emotions are unwanted that they are considered abnormal and for no other reason.

“Of course the behavioral and mental consequences and experiences are ‘unwanted,’ as are the original stimuli,” Carey said. “However, many times it is not our clients’ fault, if you will. Specifically, many of our military are experiencing post traumatic stress disorder, as are foster children. Being shot at or abused is ‘unwanted,’ yet it happens. These children and adults do not engage in war or an abusive situation out of choice.”

She believes the book and its theory could have the potential to hinder society.

“I feel it will further devalue mental, emotional and behavioral health,” Carey said. “Additionally, stereotypes that have been prevalent for ages, will again come to the forefront of modern day thought.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.