Depression An Evolutionary Process

Oct 23, 2014
Originally published on October 23, 2014 9:58 am
Psychology Professor Jonathan Rottenberg wants to change the way people think about depression, a condition the World Health Organization estimates affects 350 million people around the world.
The University of South Florida professor uses mood science research to challenge the current model of depression -- that it is a chemical imbalance. This approach doesn't explain why antidepressants don't work any more effectively than when they were first introduced, he said. 
Instead, his theory, featured in The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic,  is that depression comes from adaptations that evolved to help our ancestors survive. Rottenburg and his book will be one of the authors featured at the 22nd Annual Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading on Saturday. 
In this interview, Rottenberg tells WUSF's Yoselis Ramos how his life of research was inspired by his own personal struggle with depression.

Rottenberg also explains why depression affects younger people the most. 

And he reflects on how the media addressed depression in the wake of actor Robin Williams' death.