Mental illness IS a physical illness

This week a german airline pilot, Andreas Lubitz, apparently intentionally crashed the jet he was flying, killing himself and all 149 passengers on board. The world wide response has been one of grief and sadness, appropriately. Questions have been asked about how and why this happened. And leaders from around the world have called this the saddest day. They have also accused the pilot of being crazy. But what’s the implication of that. It seems that they are linking his depression with crazy. And if this is the case, that’s a problem for many reasons, not the least of which is it perpetuates the stigma of depression. What is depression? Perhaps it’s important to start with what depression is and isn’t before the term crazy gets bandied about. Depression is a disease, the same as cancer or diabetes, that affects the brain of a person which than causes issues with weight, thinking, sleep, and and decision making ability. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 350 million people world-wide suffer from depression, it is the leading cause of disability world wide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.  But just what is depression? Depression, according the the DSM-V, has the following symptoms, to name a few: depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day, Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day, psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day, fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day, symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational...

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