​​​​Is Depression A Disease?

Is depression an illness or disease in any way?

Unfortunately, many people think depression is an illness or a disease, which is a big reason why so many people struggle with getting rid of depression.

Indeed, if you see depression as an illness, disease, or sickness of any kind, you have a very stressful, negative view of your situation which contributes to anxiety and depression.

For this reason, if you want to get rid of depression faster and easier than most people, it’s very important that you think about depression differently than most people. This means not seeing it as an illness or a disease, but just a temporary condition that you can eliminate.

Why seeing a disease makes you sick

When you think of depression as a disease, you naturally feel worse. You suffer from more stress and anxiety, since you think you’re living with a deadly disease that can sabotage you at any moment, and you feel awful thinking about your future with this illness.

All of this already naturally makes you more depressed. But it gets worse.

Unfortunately, if you think depression is a disease, then you naturally think that depression is a sickness that can be a permanent part of you, even on good days. Indeed, even when you’re happy, you can think you still have the disease, but you’re just not showing any symptoms.

In other words, you might fundamentally believe that you can’t ever stop being depressed, because the disease is always with you in some way.

If this occurs, you lose motivation to improve your thinking and lifestyle to get rid of depression, since you believe it can’t be done. The predictable result is that you remain depressed, since you don’t take action to improve your situation.

In this way, the belief that depression is a lifetime sickness becomes a self-fulfilling belief, where you struggle with depression for as long as you have this view.

How did the disease view of depression become popular?

In case you’re curious why so many people think of depression as a disease, here is an interesting story that many people haven’t heard.

In 1961, pharmaceutical company Merck paid a psychiatrist named Frank Ayd to write a book for doctors everywhere. The book was called: “Recognizing The Depressed Patient: With Essentials Of Management And Treatment”.

The goal with this book was to influence doctors who weren’t even psychologists or psychiatrists to recognize depression as a disease in their patients that could be cured with pills.

Merck distributed 50,000 copies of this book, and it was an extremely effective marketing campaign. Doctors everywhere began repeating what a pharmaceutical company wanted you to hear to increase their drug sales.

To this day, you are witnessing the effects of this marketing campaign. Indeed, when people say that depression is a disease, you’re not hearing enlightenment or words or wisdom.

Instead, you’re hearing the end result of a calculated campaign designed to make people think they have an illness that can be cured with pills. (For more on this, read “Manufacturing Depression” by Gary Greenberg.)

Depression is not a disease

Even though it’s understandable why so many people think of depression as a disease or illness, it’s still not a good way to think about it, especially when you consider all the negative effects of this view.

Fortunately, the more you think about it, the more it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to think of depression as a disease.

For example, as every pharmaceutical company knows, the placebo effect for depression is extremely strong, meaning that the most powerful and effective thing a person can do to stop being depressed is to simply think that he can get rid of depression.

What kind of a “disease” is depression that you can start getting rid of it by simply thinking that you can stop being depressed?

To put it in perspective, if you think that you can get rid of cancer, that belief alone will definitely not cure your cancer. But if you think you can eliminate depression, drug trials prove this already helps you come out of depression.

So if you’re dealing with depression, you are clearly not dealing with a disease like cancer. Instead, you’re dealing with some other kind of condition.

Depression is a natural result of your thinking and lifestyle

Instead of thinking of depression as a disease, it makes way more sense to think of depression as being a condtion that is the natural result of your current thinking and lifestyle.

To understand this idea, consider taking some water and putting in a freezer. When the water becomes ice, it doesn’t make sense to think that it has a disease; instead, it makes sense to think that its change in condition is the natural, expected result of putting it in a freezer.

Similarly, when you become depressed, it doesn’t mean that you have somehow acquired a disease, illness, or sickness of any kind. Instead, it means that you have started thinking and living in ways that contribute to depression, and your depressed condition is the natural, expected result.

To prove this point, consider taking a healthy, happy human being, putting him in solitary confinement, and then torturing him and making him think his life is awful, until he becomes severely depressed.

It makes no sense to walk into this prison, look at this poor, depressed person, and to tell him that he clearly has a disease or mental illness. Indeed, it would be absurd and even cruel to say such a thing to him. 

Far from being a disease, his depressed condition is the natural result of his current thinking, lifestyle, and circumstances, and by changing those things, he can and will get out of depression. In other words, there’s no disease to eliminate, but only a condition to change.

Free yourself from the disease view of depression

From this moment forward, free yourself from the disease view of depression, and all of its negative effects, by appreciating that depression is just a condition that is the expected, natural result of your current thinking and lifestyle.

By appreciating this, you recognize that by improving your thinking and lifestyle, you naturally change your condition and become depression free.

This, in turn, makes you feel better about your situation and future, gives you more confidence and peace of mind, and makes you more energized and motivated to do something to improve your situation.

All of this immediately helps lift you out of depression faster and easer.

What if you still think depression is a disease?

If, for any reason, you still insist on thinking of depression as a disease, after reading and understanding all this, at the very least think of it as an “illness” that is permanently curable, and that you’ll never have to deal with again once you regularly improve your thinking and lifestyle.

Even though this is not as powerful as treating depression as just a temporary condition, without any of of the sickness baggage, this view will still help you get rid of depression for good.

Next: Is Depression Genetic? →

You are here:

Section 6 Lessons:

  1. Why seeing symptoms of depression makes you depressed
  2. Does depression ever go away?
  3. Is depression a disease?
  4. Is depression genetic?
  5. Is depression a disorder?
  6. Am I depressed or not?

Next Section In The Depression-Free Course:

Section 7

About the author

Hi, I'm Dave Fonvielle, the founder of Always Greater. On this website I teach you step by step how to be happier and more successful achieving your goals, whether it's completing a small personal to do task, like doing the dishes, or a large business goal, like launching a new product. Get my free 3 Tiny Habits for Being Happier & More Successful training for all of this right here.