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Socialization Helps the Treatment of Depression in Modern Life

Authors:
  • Ibn Haldun University, Istanbul
Open Journal of Depression, 2019, 8, 41-47
http://www.scirp.org/journal/ojd
ISSN Online: 2169-9674
ISSN Print: 2169-9658
DOI:
10.4236/ojd.2019.82005 Mar. 22, 2019 41 Open Journal of Depression
Socialization Helps the Treatment of
Depression in Modern Life
Sefa Bulut
Counseling Psychology and Guidance Department, Ibn Haldun University, Istanbul, Turkey
Abstract
Today modern people suffer from mental illnesses and depression is one of
the most commonly diagnosed disorders among children and adults. The
treatment of this disorder is long, expensive and sometimes there are no
mental health professionals or medical opportunities to treat it. Therefore, we
should understand the etiology of this problem and seek alternative methods
for healing. This paper deals with non-traditional approach for the treatment
of this mental health problem. Researchers found that one of the fundamental
reasons for the depression is isolation, loneliness and lack of social support. If
people can get some degree of social and emotional
support, they will get
through the difficult times easily and smoothly. Thus, we should provide nat-
ural settings for ourselves and our children to exercise
their social skills and
learn how to socialize.
Keywords
Depression and Social Support, Socialization, Learning, Non-Traditional
Approach
1. Introduction
Medical field is as old as human history and physical health is one of the most
important concerns of people as it is today. The 19th century enlightened the
people as they gained awareness about their consciousness and spirit and then
with the effect of positivism, psychology came into existence and all other social
sciences started utilizing positive methods as a tool for investigation and expe-
rimentations.
During 19th Century, Freud and many of his followers emerged with fame in
the field of psychology and this field became an important discipline for acade-
micians and common people (Toffler, 1971: p. 159). Especially after 1960’s
How to cite this paper:
Bulut, S. (2019).
Socialization Helps the Treatment of D
e-
pression in Modern Life
.
Open Journal of
Depression
, 8,
41-47.
https://doi.org/10.4236/ojd.2019.82005
Received:
November 9, 2018
Accepted:
March 19, 2019
Published:
March 22, 2019
Copyright © 201
9 by author(s) and
Scientific
Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative
Commons Attribution International
License (CC BY
4.0).
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Open Access
S. Bulut
DOI:
10.4236/ojd.2019.82005 42 Open Journal of Depression
common people seek to find a meaning in their lives because they were tired of
capitalism and its demands as well as postindustrial problems. When people
started to live in big cities, they got quality education and it brought to them
mobility and loneliness. They enjoyed it for a couple of decades and after that
they felt lonely, isolated and alienated from society and themselves. Then the
search started for a better and meaningful life. However, it was too late because
society demanded more and more individualized and capitalized individuals.
Capitalism encouraged more commercialism and people felt they would be hap-
pier as they consumed more and they tried it for a while but the results showed
that it was not true.
People had to work harder and pay for everything, buy everything and every
service that previously family members or friends provided for them. Then
commercialism and consumption became a trend. People spend more and more
(Riesman, Glazer, & Denney, 1954). They buy more than they actually need in
their day to day lives. It became a way of personal hobby and fulfillment but in
order to do that they had to work harder. Migration to big cities, increasing di-
vorces rates, high mobility, longer work hours, lack of job security, single pa-
renthood, school violence and such other critical social issues became very
widespread.
Today in our society, there are people who do not have any casual friend and
acquaintance because there are no social places or opportunities for people to
socialize. At work, we used e-mails and WhatsApp to communicate with
co-workers. We do not bother to say Good Morning to our neighbors in eleva-
tors; we do not invite friends at home spontaneously. Instead, we have organized
days such as Christmas parties at work, best mother of the year, best worker of
the year, or celebrate friend’s birthday at work. Those are good activities but
those are planned and organized previously and intentionally. The same thing is
true for our kids as well. People and children do not have access to socialize
freely and naturally. Organized activities do not provide humanly communica-
tion and interactions. Today societies are missing real and natural face to face
human conversations. Either we do not have opportunities or we do not bother
to socialize with other.
It is interesting that this year in England new ministry has been established for
“Lonely” people and it can be found very meaningful. In today’s society we try to
teach children how to play at school or play in yard, how to thank people, how to
say please, how to take turn, how to share, how to make friend, how to greet
people. In fact, those are very basic and elementary skills that they need to learn
in play ground or in street by themselves. Nevertheless, how pity, we send child-
ren to school counselor to learn these social skills. Children are lonely and get
depressed because they do not have friends. They do not know how to develop
friendships. They have social anxiety and social phobia because they are missing
natural settings to learn those abilities. How pity!
How pity is for children coming from upper social classes as children from
disadvantaged families have more opportunities for human conversations then
S. Bulut
DOI:
10.4236/ojd.2019.82005 43 Open Journal of Depression
kids from wealthy family. What it means is that besides physical and psycholog-
ical health there is also “social health”. Psychology books says that humans are
bio-psycho-social being but by now we missed the social part. We have to dis-
cover and remember our social side of life.
2. Social Health
“Social Health” is also one of the important aspects our health. DSM-V suggests
V, Z, or T codes for conditions that may asses client’s social functioning. Simi-
larly, psychosocial stressors are placed in V codes in ICD-9, and Z codes in
ICD-10. This information can be used to provide information about patient’s
care. V-codes are usually used to show conditions and problems that affect the
diagnosis process of the illness, prognosis, and treatment of the disorder. If these
conditions are part of the treatment or explains the need for treatment or evalu-
ation, then it could be used along with the mental disorder codes. These ex-
panded codes can also be used in the patient’s record to provide information
about circumstances that may influence on their treatment. V/Z codes include
acculturation difficulties, discrimination or persecution that the client may face
and religious or spiritual problems they may experience. In previously used,
GAF (Global Assessment of Functioning Scale, in Axis V, in DSM IV-TR is re-
placed by WHO-DAS (World Health Organization Disability Schedule, 2002).
Now, in DSM V, it is optional to use WHO-DAS to asses client’s psychosocial,
occupational and relational problems and functioning. World Health Organiza-
tion Disability Assessment Schedule version 2.0 (WHO-DAS) was developed to
assess a client’s ability to perform activities in the following six area of functio-
nalities; those are understanding and communicating, getting around, self-care,
getting along with people, daily life activities (house, work, school); and partici-
pation in society. Even in DSM-IV classification (An official classification of
psychological disorder by American Psychiatric Association (2000), Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder-IV-TR) there is an evaluation section
of social health. All these classifications show how important is our social health
and how it can affect our day to day life.
Mental health counselor tries to define the people’s social functioning as they
asses their available support networks and their relationships at work and their
social skills. For the treatment of some psychological disorders people seek
medical and psychological help but with lack of social dimension. Social aspects
of health are important and integrated in treatment as well as educational sys-
tems. For example, depression as such, it is one of the most commonly diag-
nosed mental health problems among children, adolescents, adults and elderly
population (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2001: p. 252). Therefore, depression is the one of
the most severe illness of all kind. In the U.S.A. the prevalence of depression
reached 9.5% of the population aged 18 or older demonstrate depressive symp-
toms. At least many people experience depression in their lifetime. Many de-
pressed people often find hard to participate in social activities because of lack of
S. Bulut
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10.4236/ojd.2019.82005 44 Open Journal of Depression
energy or social interest (Evangelos & Dimitrios, 2017). Psychologists mostly of-
fer group therapies and activities as part of treatment because groups have tre-
mendous effects on individuals well-being and happiness. Participant’s feels un-
derstood, sees that others also experience similar problems, provides sense of
belongingness, real human contacts, communications and humanly touch.
Those are extremely powerful tools for human life. However, it is imperative to
find ways to provide opportunities for socialization people spontaneously and
regularly. Social groups have their own dynamics that members feel powerful
and accepted which is good for social health.
Social health is important also because that would function as preventive fac-
tors for psychological health. Psychologists, counselors, social workers and
teachers should encourage “human interactions in real settings”. Researches and
experiences show that organized and planed activities do not really serve its
purpose. Such as organized birthday parties, Christmas parties, mother of the
year and worker of the year type of celebration parties are not as effective as the
natural encounters or a small talk between acquaintances. On the other hand,
the modern life that we lead does not allow us to have natural and warm rela-
tions with people around us. Thus, it is important to take advantage of every
opportunity that comes to us in order to meet, interact and converse with people.
It should not be difficult to invite a coworker for a coffee, it should not be
burden to host a family member one or two day, it should not be difficult to
cook for a neighbor. We are all missing our real humanness. We live in a cy-
ber-age, we do everything via internet for example banking online, shopping on-
line, etc. Even we do not see real people to have a short conversation or a small
talk. Loneliness and isolation bring a tremendous stress, not feeling well, ostra-
cized and feel different (Cleve, 1989: p. 181). Many depressed people feel lonely
and they are very sensitive to rejection by others. Instead, they have to learn how
to cultivate and maintain friendships. Maybe it is time to talk about “Social
Health”, how many hours now we spend with our friends, when was the last
time we had guest at home, when was the last time we cooked for a friend. When
was the last time we said “hello” to a stranger or have genuine interest someone
whom we see in need of help? There have been many studies conducted about
the effects of social activities and depression. In fact, there has been numerous
researches involving children, preadolescents, adolescents, young adults and el-
derly population from different part of the world. To exemplify some, Lee and
Kim (2014) investigated the effect of formal and informal activities in Korean
elderly and looked at its effects on their depression level. They found that infor-
mal social activities; such as, often phone contact and exchanging letters with
their adult children lowered the risk of depression. Especially, face-to-face con-
tact with their children and friends has very positive effect on their well-being.
On the other hand, formal activities for example religious activities, volunteering
in somewhere, participating in community or family councils, engagement in
social and political activities were not associated with man and women’s depres-
sion. They concluded that informal social activities especially with close family
S. Bulut
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10.4236/ojd.2019.82005 45 Open Journal of Depression
members has great impact on elder population than the pre-set up social activi-
ties. In a similar Korean study with elderly participants Min, Ailshire, and
Crimmins (2016) found that involving in social gatherings with friends and
neighbors has a decreasing effect on depression and the type of engagement may
have different effect. In a study with Brazilian elderly participants Alexandre,
Cordeiro, and Ramos (2009) reported marital status, income and leisure activi-
ties as factors affecting the quality of life and depression of the people.
In another Brazilian study with elderly people, Ferreira and Barham (2018)
reported that involving the elderly people in fun and pleasant activities plays an
imperative role in intervention, prevention and treatment of depression. The
more people engage in pleasant activities the more they feel better. World Health
Organization (2002) proposed to all individuals stay active in their entire lifetime.
This means remaining active in physically, socially and mentally. This would sug-
gest the elderly population to involve in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and
civic events. In the same vein, González-Herero and García-Martín (2012)’s
study with elder Spanish women population, social activities, self-esteem and
optimism was found to be significantly correlated with elder people life satisfac-
tion and positive affect. In another Spanish study, Hombrados-Mendieta,
Gomez-Jacinto, Dominguez-Fuentes and Patricia Garcia-Leiva (2013) compared
the immigrant and native people in terms of sense of community and life satis-
faction. Their results revealed that people with high sense of community has
greater life satisfaction and sense of community served as a buffering effect on
immigrant people adoption and coping process in new country.
In a study with Spanish university students Poch, Vilar, Caparros, Juan, Cor-
nella, and Perez (2004) found that 13.9 % of the students experience some degree
of hopelessness; they are dissatisfied with university life and spend less time in
extracurricular educational activities. They reported a relationship between de-
pression, suicidal ideation and hopelessness. They suggested developing some
intervention program to influence their mood and work on their adoption pro-
grams, which consequently improve their academic achievement as well. Du-
mont and Provost (1999) examined the internal and external factors in develop-
ing depressive symptoms and daily stress. Their results show that well-adjusted
adolescent and resilient adolescents had higher self-esteem than the vulnerable
adolescents did. Consequently, self-esteem has protecting effect on depression
by receiving more social support and social activities. Similarly, Holffreter, Rei-
sig and Turanovic (2015) studied elderly people’s social participation in USA.
They argue that depressed older adults tend to not to participate social activities.
However, high quality family ties can provide supportive coping resources that
buffer the effects of depression.
3. Conclusion
In sum, we can conclude that humanity has experienced such a long history and
during this time duration humans evolved not only physically and psychologi-
cally but also socially. During these transformations it seemed there was the
S. Bulut
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10.4236/ojd.2019.82005 46 Open Journal of Depression
transitional stress and it had its own impact on human as a whole. However, life
has not been as stressful as the modern people’s life with huge technological in-
vasion of his life. Loneliness, isolation and alienation have become a very wide-
spread problem and so as the depression. Depression reached epidemic propor-
tion for children, teenagers and adults. It appears that our modern world does
not offer very satisfactory social activities and pleasant events. Then, it depends
on the individuals’ awareness and understanding of their life and makes their life
more meaningful. Obviously, for this, they need real, caring and face-to-face in-
teractions with their close friends and family members. They would be able to
first initiate, invite or talk with the people around them. They need to appreciate
everybody’s humanness and give, take and share meaningful interactions.
Conflicts of Interest
The author declares no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.
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... For children and teens, in-person relationships are essential for healthy development. Inperson contact helps children and teens develop foundational social skills such as sharing, taking turns, and expressing thanks (Bulut, 2019). While studies on adolescent social deprivation are rare, the data indicate that depression, aggression, and self-harm are greatly magnified among adolescents in solitary confinement (Orben et al., 2020). ...
... Octavius et al. (2020) reported that "quarantine is associated with significant negative impact on the mental health of children and adolescents which might persist for months or years after the quarantine" (p. 7). One of the essential treatments for teen depression, according to Bulut (2019), is socialization. However, with many schools closing, 64% of parents worried their children would not retain friendships and social connections (Horowitz & Igielnik, 2020). ...
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