Depression: Diagnosis and suffering as process

The high rates of depression – as well as the widespread diagnosis of depression – are both controversial and contested in contemporary late-modern society.


Issues of flawed definition have been voiced to account for the bourgeoning rates of depression and the diagnosis has been subject to criticism of medicalization and pharmaceuticalization. Others have stated that the actualization of depression is to be seen in light of societal and structural transformations. Be that as it may, depression is affecting more and more people and the diagnosis is prevalent. In this context, a more nuanced understanding of how people relate to, experience and ascribe meaning to their suffering as depression and being diagnosed as such is needed. This article draws on qualitative interviews from Denmark and Norway to explore lay accounts of depression in contemporary late-modern society. The findings reveal that lay accounts of suffering, including living with the diagnosis of depression is a dynamic process, meaning that people vacillate in and out of various perspectives of suffering and categorization to make it fit their specific life situation and prospects of the future. In this article we thus highlight the perspectives of thoroughly analyzing suffering and the diagnostic experience by applying the overall concept of process, which takes on different meanings in the course of the analysis.

Nordic Psychology, 2017, doi: 10.1080/19012276.2016.1267913


Published Jan. 16, 2017 7:15 AM - Last modified Jan. 16, 2017 9:51 AM