One friend of mine, who has had symptoms of depression for as long as I've known him, is finally considering diagnosis and treatment -- specifically, medication. He says he has "bad genes". In his view, I guess, medication will correct the expression of these genes and make him less depressed.
As an example of his "bad genes", he described an incident in which his mother took off for the bar, leaving him sick with the flu and in charge of caring for his two-year-old sister. Later in the conversation, he made repeated references to his frustration with many of his colleagues, and how he had to "do their work for them". Hmmm. Kind of like you had to do your parents' work for them? How do you feel, by the way, about your mother abandoning you while you were sick? But he's not interested in therapy. He just needs help for his "bad genes".
Another friend and I were discussing the current antidepressant backlash over lunch. She has bipolar disorder, I have depression and ADHD, and both of us have done a shit-ton of work over the years in order to become healthy. We are both in total agreement that meds, taken by themselves, can never be enough to treat mental illness.
The drug companies have very effectively constructed mental illness as a chronic condition, like diabetes, that can be easily corrected by taking meds. It would take too long for me to hunt down all the academic studies that refute this, so I'll just stick to my personal experience, and the experience of everyone I've ever known who lives a functional life with a mood disorder.
Medication alone is not enough.
After finishing this post, I found Thomas McManamy's article Thomas Kuhn, Paradigms, and Psychiatry, in which he talks about the "mind" paradigm (psychoanalysis) versus the "brain" paradigm (psychopharmacology) and asks for a grand unified theory.