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Altruistic People More Likely To End Up With Depression

haidut

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This study is very interesting because it explains a bit of the "paradox" observed numerous times in medical and psychology professions. Namely, altruistic and caring people in those professions have an abnormally high rate of depression and suicide compared to their more normal (read: selfish) colleagues. Before anybody concludes that being selfish is good for you, I will add that the same studies found that selfish practitioners in those professions ended up dying mostly from highly aggressive cancers. So, it does not pay off to be selfish scum :):
Anyways, the intuitive explanation for these findings about doctors would be that altruistic people empathize more with their patients and since most of the medical profession is about dealing with rather sick and desperate people, the altruistic people have too much of an emotional burden to bear and thus end up depressed/suicidal. This study below (and a few others is cites) seems to corroborate that intuitive conclusion.

http://www.jad-journal.com/article/0165-0327(94)90062-0/pdf
The Relationship of Personality to Affective Disorders
Brain response patterns to economic inequity predict present and future depression indices
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/...le-are-more-likely-to-wind-up-with-depression

"...People with depression are more likely to feel bad in response to perceived inequality, according to a study published this week in Nature Human Behaviour. Simply, in experiments where participants were tasked with playing a game with a strong element of unfairness, those participants with higher levels of brain activity in depression-linked brain regions―as recorded via fMRI scans― were more likely to later demonstrate signs of clinical depression. This is a new test of an old idea, one that's been demonstrated in previous research. People with depression commonly demonstrate increased concern for others, or for the perspectives of others. More precisely, prosocial attitudes predict depression, which is in contrast to individualist attitudes. Individualist here basically just means selfish, or relatively selfish."

Another interesting question is what causes the development of altruistic or selfish character? I don't know about the former but the latter is likely caused to a large degree by loneliness.
Loneliness Is The Real Cause Of Selfishness
 

Tarmander

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Makes sense. I liked a post from @RedStaR last week about inflammation. In it, the guy he was quoting said something interesting. He said that Depression was a disease of stimulation. The chronic inflammation seen in depressed people was like a chronic stimulation overload. Autism could probably also be described as a disease of over-stimulation. So seeing an overlap in those conditions makes sense to me. In fact, you could almost diagnose Western culture right now as having the disease of over-stimulation.

Some "altruistic" people are actually just addicts to other people's emotional drama, and frame it in a benevolent/helpful type of way. "Oh I am so sorry for your suffering, I am here to help, tell me more." They are addicted to stimulation just like a coke addict, so depression following that makes sense.
 

robknob

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very interesting, makes me think how Nietzsche's empathy towards the beaten horse finally cracked him. Too much empathy definitely makes one psychologically vulnerable, just as an impressionable child is vulnerable to attack.

I also think there is something to be said about the over-intellectualizing that is common among psychologists that could contribute to their depression. They tend to be cerebral, "head heavy" types, more cut off from the body, more reliant on their willpower to deal with perceived stresses.
Another interesting question is what causes the development of altruistic or selfish character?
I dont know but I tend to think it is lack of trauma/ overprotection that leads to altruism, and too much trauma/ lingering trauma that is not properly dealt with, that leads to selfishness/defensiveness, whereas loneliness may be more of a symptom of traumatization.
 

johnwester130

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Isn't empathy a sign of high intelligence ?

Makes sense. I liked a post from @RedStaR last week about inflammation. In it, the guy he was quoting said something interesting. He said that Depression was a disease of stimulation. The chronic inflammation seen in depressed people was like a chronic stimulation overload. Autism could probably also be described as a disease of over-stimulation. So seeing an overlap in those conditions makes sense to me. In fact, you could almost diagnose Western culture right now as having the disease of over-stimulation.

Some "altruistic" people are actually just addicts to other people's emotional drama, and frame it in a benevolent/helpful type of way. "Oh I am so sorry for your suffering, I am here to help, tell me more." They are addicted to stimulation just like a coke addict, so depression following that makes sense.

The goal of life is to have constant stimulation, whatever it may be.

the opposite of constant stiumlation would be to stay in all day like a Hikkikomori

Helping others takes energy - if your body is deficient in every mineral and vitamins it will have no energy to give out.

If you have lots of energy - meaning every mineral/vitamin/hormone in balance - you will be able to give out energy to others.

How can you help other people if you are built out of canola oil and grains and GMO soybeans ? You couldn't.

If you are built out of coconut oil, dairy, eggs, and take one or two supplements - you have energy to help others.
 

Tarmander

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Isn't empathy a sign of high intelligence ?

The goal of life is to have constant stimulation, whatever it may be.

the opposite of constant stiumlation would be to stay in all day like a Hikkikomori

Seems like not much of a choice there, constant stimulation or none at all?
 

Tarmander

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Isn't empathy a sign of high intelligence ?



The goal of life is to have constant stimulation, whatever it may be.

the opposite of constant stiumlation would be to stay in all day like a Hikkikomori

Helping others takes energy - if your body is deficient in every mineral and vitamins it will have no energy to give out.

If you have lots of energy - meaning every mineral/vitamin/hormone in balance - you will be able to give out energy to others.

How can you help other people if you are built out of canola oil and grains and GMO soybeans ? You couldn't.

If you are built out of coconut oil, dairy, eggs, and take one or two supplements - you have energy to help others.

Oh you added more. Sounds good to me, although I wonder if it is too narrow that the goal of life is constant stimulation or being a shut in?
 

johnwester130

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Oh you added more. Sounds good to me, although I wonder if it is too narrow that the goal of life is constant stimulation or being a shut in?

The shut-ins are an extreme example of going too far the other way towards serotonin and learned helplessness.

I am not sure what the opposite would look like. Maybe a billionaire who travels and holidays all year round and spends all day shopping would be the extreme opposite of a hikkikomori.

Autism is actually an empathy disorder, they have too much of it. Many autistic people do help others and have incredible emotional awareness.
 

Tarmander

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The shut-ins are an extreme example of going too far the other way towards serotonin and learned helplessness.

I am not sure what the opposite would look like. Maybe a billionaire who travels and holidays all year round and spends all day shopping would be the extreme opposite of a hikkikomori.
From what I understand, hikkokomori are quite stimulated by what they do while alone, but they just do it alone, right?
 

johnwester130

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From what I understand, hikkokomori are quite stimulated by what they do while alone, but they just do it alone, right?

I don't know.

Staying in all day playing video games sounds more like depression and helplessness and close to suicide. I doubt they are actually happy.

I think all behaviour, altruism, or hurting others, is just a reflection of diet and lifestyle and the thoughts you have and the books/tv you consume.

see this thread

https://raypeatforum.com/community/threads/more-empathic-on-the-peat-lifestyle.8293/#post-303079
 

robknob

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From what I understand, hikkokomori are quite stimulated by what they do while alone, but they just do it alone, right?
I agree with you, I think the problem with them is overstimulation with technology, constant sensation straight to the reptile brain, leading to limited development.
 

haidut

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Ulysses

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Extreme loneliness or trauma during crucial developmental periods can permanently reduce the functioning of empathy circuits in the brain, predisposing an individual to psychopathy. Of course, not everybody responds to trauma this way, so there's thought to be a genetic predisposition as well. There's a great discussion of this in "The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout.
 

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