essential notes on depression (A2. AQA A)

notes of depression

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Outline the Clinical characteristics of depression (2 key
characteristics plus 5 further symptoms)
Depression is a low emotional mood, characterised a significant levels of sadness,
lost of energy and selfworth, and feeling of guilt.
The diagnosis of major depression requires the presence of at least 5 or more the
following symptoms. Affective symptoms: sad, depressed mood, and feeling low
Cognitive symptom: e.g. feeling of guilty about any mistakes, and thinking
themselves as worthless
Behavioural symptoms: e.g. social withdraw and restlessness
Psychical Symptoms: changes in sleep patterns, energy levels or appetite these
symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment to general function
and must not be as result of bereavement.
For depression to be diagnosed, these symptoms must be present all or most of the
time, and persist longer than 2 weeks.
Discuss the issues surrounding the validity and reliability of
classification and diagnosis systems
Test retest reliability this refers when a selfmethod is repeated with the same
participants after an interval, and the results are consistent. This was tested by Beck et al
2006, using the responses of 26 outpatients who were tested on two therapy sessions, two
weeks apart. There was correlation of 0.93, indication a significant level of testretest
reliability. Therefore the BDI is a reliable tool for measuring the severity of depression.
Contentvalidity this refers whether items of a test are representative of what is been
measured. The BDI is thought to be high in content validity, as it is a product of a consensus
among mental health clinicians, concerning the symptoms found in psychiatric patients.
Therefore the BDI is a valid tool for measuring the severity of depression.
Problems with BDI
One with the BDI is that the process of rehabilitation can be repetitive, and the patient may
become too familiar with the test, so much that the quality of the treatment reduces, as the
treatment progress.
Labelling depression as disease
Some have argued that the medicalization of normal human feeling and calling it a disorder is
wrong. Therefore argue that methods used to diagnose depression are invalid. However

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Depression is thought stem from the deficiency of noradrenaline in certain brain
circuits. This can explain why depressed people experience withdrawal and lack of
AO2 evaluation:
Bunney et al found that indirect marker of noradrenaline such as urine and cerebral spinal
fluid, are low in depressed individual. In another finding, Postmortem examinations have
revealed increased densities of noradrenaline receptors in the cerebral cortex of depressed
suicide victims.…read more

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Wender et al: studied the biological relatives of adopted individuals who had been
hospitalised with severe depression. They found higher incidence of severe depression in the
biological relatives of depressed group than in the nondepressed control group.
This suggests that genetics does play a role, because it separated the effects of environment
from the biological. With that there was high concordance between biological related
relatives. Therefore genetic explanation is correct its assumption that there is a link between
genes and depression.…read more

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Psychoactive drugs are a biological therapy used to treat depression, such as such
tricyclics. Theses block the transporter mechanisms that reabsorb noradrenalin and
serotonin in the presynaptic cell after it has fired. As a consequence more neurotransmitters
are available in the cell, prolonging the their action
(SSRIs) is another drug used as another biological therapy. Instead of blocking the
reuptake of neurotransmitters, they block mainly serotonin, as such increase the availability
of serotonin in the synapse.…read more

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Whereas, autonomous individual may triggers their dysfunctional
beliefs, if they fail to meet a set target or goal. The activation of dysfunctional beliefs leads to
biased information, such overgeneralisation of situation, or personalisation of events. This
leads to the symptoms of depression such of lack of interest, social withdrawal and feeling of
Research and therapies
Cognitive theories have stimulated huge amounts of research into depression in the past
decades.…read more

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Describe and Evaluate psychological treatments of depression
Psychodynamic theory (catharsis, dream analysis, projective tests),
CBT (Cognitive triad, ABC diary, cognitive distortion).
CBT is one of the most popular psychological therapies of depression. CBT emphasises
the role of negative (maladaptive thoughts) and thinking in the origins and
maintenance of depression. Therefore, the aim of CBT is to indentify and alter these
negative cognitions, as well as any dysfunctional behaviour that may be contributing to the
depression.…read more

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CBT AO2 Evaluation:
The effectiveness of CBT for depression was demonstrated by a metaanalysis by
Robinson et al (1990). They concluded that CBT was superior in treating noncontrol
groups. However, when these control groups were divided into waiting list and placebo
groups, CBT was no superior to placebo in treatment of depressive symptoms
The apparent effectiveness of CBT depends of the competence of the therapist a
less competent therapist is less likely is change the negative thoughts of someone with
depression.…read more

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Some research suggests that psychoanalysis is not only worthless but also damaging.
Esysenck found that 77 % of clients recovered with the GP treatment, while 44%
only with psychoanalysis improved. Other research suggests that 30% of depressive
patients recovered even without treatment.…read more


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