They suggest that medicating depression as if it is a disease stops us embracing our miserable side and removes the motivation to change our lives for the better.
They said that being sad and melancholic can leave sufferers better able to cope with life’s challenges, more resilient and spur them to greater achievements.
The researchers have claimed that far from the disorder being a modern malaise, humans have suffered from depression for thousands of years and it has survived partly because it is beneficial to the species in the long-term.
“When you find something this deeply in us biologically you presume it was selected because it had some advantage – otherwise we wouldn’t have been burdened with it. We’re fooling around with part of our biological make-up,” the Telegraph quoted Psychiatrist Professor Jerome Wakefield of New York University, as saying.
Wakefield believes that human sadness helps people learn from their mistakes. “I think one of the functions of intense negative emotions is to stop our normal functioning – to make us focus on something else for a while,” he said.
According to New Scientist, it also might act as a psychological deterrent to prevent us from making those mistakes in the first place.
The risk of sadness may deter us from being too impetuous or cavalier, especially in relationships or with other things we value.