The purpose of normal depression

For most people, depression (even the commonly occurring normal depression) is an unpleasant experience that often interferes with day-to-day functioning.
What then is the purpose of such a painful experience? This question can be linked to another one: what is the purpose of pain? Pain has one distinct advantage – the unpleasant side effects of pain mean that most of us will go to considerable length to avoid it. For example, if we did not find heat painful, we might get too close to a fire and suffer the consequences. It is for such reasons that many nerves in our bodies have heat receptors.
In a similar way, it could be argued that normal depression can be an automatic defence response or a response cued by certain situations. Such a proposition has been explored recently by the American psychiatrist Randolph Nesse, in particular how normal depression may have offered a selective advantage to civilization over time. To the extent that ay of Nesse’s interpretations have validity, they allow the individual to question the meaning of a depressed mood.
Is normal depression a plea or cry for help?
It is unlikely that normal depression is cry for help. If it is, then it is not a very useful or effective signal, as it is more likely to evoke negative response from others.

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