Explanations of Depression

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  • Created on: 30-03-19 20:56
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  • Biological and Cognitive Explanations of Unipolar Depression
    • Unipolar depression is a major depressive episode that occurs without manic episodes. characterised by persistent feeling of sadness or lack of interest in outside stimuli
      • Symptoms: lack of enjoyment, low self-esteem, lack of energy, depressed mood
        • Needs to be shown for 2  weeks +
      • 25% of UK population, risk increased based on negative life events, more prevalence in women
    • Monoamine Hypothesis: the mono amines (a group of neurotransmitters; serotonin, noradrenalin and dopamine) are re-uptaken before they reach the receptors of the post synaptic cell.
      • Or too much monoxidase (enzyme that breaks down monoamines) is released and the monoamines are broken down too quickly
        • Results in low monamine levels: low serotonin (regulates the other neurotransmitters) = low noradrenaline. Low dopamine /+ noradrenaline = depression
      • E
        • KRAST followed 96 patients with depression who were treated for 6 weeks with dual serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRZ). patients showed a positive response in comparison to those who were givena a placebo.
          • The effectiveness of drug therapy supports the theory of a neurochemical causation. That said the environment can act as trigger for the development of depression, providing a stress diathesis explanation.
            • Stress diathesis is supported by DELGADO who found that diet that reduces tryptophan, a serotonin pre-cursor symptoms of depression increased
              • Therefore a more holistic approach to the causation of depression is needed
        • BUNNEY & DAVIS found that by-products of noradrenaline found in the urine were low in depressed people
          • Provides a scientific approach to analysing causality
      • A
        • Anti-depressants have been used and found to be effective. VERSIANI found an increased mood in those taking noradrenaline re-uptake inhibitors
      • S
        • Reductionist- looks at nature only so it may miss a major nurture cause
          • Good to be reductionist as it isolates particular factors to establish cause and effect. Led to treatment
        • Difficult to establish what came first, the depression of imbalance in neurotransmitters
      • T
        • Cognitive explanations suggest that negaitive life events trigger depression and that we can learn to be helpless
    • Cognitive explanation: suggests that negative thinking patterns lead to depression. BECK'S negative triad suggest that depression is caused by a negative view of; self, others & future.
      • SELIGMAN'S learned helplessness dogs forced to stay ina  box that shocked them never learnt to jump over the partition wall and continued to be shocked whereas those not given the forc ed shock learned to jump the partition wall
        • Attribution styles consider how people explain their life events: 1.internal/ external 2. stable/ unstable 3. global/ specific
      • E
        • PEREZ found that depressed people are more likely to remember negative words rather than both + & - like the control group
          • Doesn't highlight the origin of the cause just the symptoms
        • Dogs learned to accept the shocks rather than escaping them
          • Dogs have less freewill than humans and might behave differently
      • A
        • Led to CBT, which is useful in reducing the symptoms. Beck's found that those treated with CBT had less relapses than those treated with drugs only
      • S
        • Explanations are mechanistic and assume that humans just produce output based on the stimuli (not including past experiences)
          • Cognitive explanations ignore the role of our surroundings in the development- poor life chances could be a result of low socio-economic status could trigger it
            • WILHELM'S longitudinal study on 150 Aussie teachers interviewed every 5yrs for 25 yrs on life events found that life events related to depression but that it was more common if you had the short-short form of the serotine transporter gene
              • Suggests a need for a holistic approach that includes genetics and environment
        • Difficult to infer which came first, the illness or its symptoms
      • T
        • Cognitive explanations ignore the role of our surroundings in the development- poor life chances could be a result of low socio-economic status could trigger it
          • WILHELM'S longitudinal study on 150 Aussie teachers interviewed every 5yrs for 25 yrs on life events found that life events related to depression but that it was more common if you had the short-short form of the serotine transporter gene
            • Suggests a need for a holistic approach that includes genetics and environment

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