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Clinical Characteristics
O Twice as many men
O Reactive ­ caused by external events (death)
O Endogenous ­ arises within an individual (chemical
imbalances)
O Display 5 symptoms for 2 weeks
O Emotional: sadness, anxiety
O Physical: loss/increase of weight, aches, pains, lack of
energy
O Cognitive: low self esteem, poor memory, suicidal
thoughts
O Behavioral: poor care of self, suicidal attempts
O Angst stated that 1 in 20 people in western world will
suffer from MDD at some point in their lives.
Summary of depression…read more

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Issues surrounding classification
and diagnosis of depression
including reliability and validity
O DSM IV ­ diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders
O ICD ­ Inter-national statistic classification of diseases and related health problems
O Risk using professional jargon in explaining disorder and this can result in confusion
O RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY
O Inter rater reliability ­ 2 or more prof. must come to the same conclusion. Beck et al look at this
with 154 depressed patients, and only agreed 54% of the time. This could have been because it if
difficult for 1 individual to explain the symptoms, there need to be a clinical interview, only
relying on retrospective data.
O Need more time ­ all patients need to be seen, so prof. are rushed. Meehl suggested pro. Need to
be able to count on the reliability of the diagnostic tool they have at their disposal if: paid close
attention to medical history, serious about process, look into descriptions and considered all
evidence.
O Cultural relativism: different cultures have different societies. Davidon and Neale explained that
in Arabic cultures it is encourages to outpour public emotion. Whereas this may be abnormal in
others
O Language difficulties: different languages may occur between patient and doctors, therefore a
translator is needed. Not all info could be taken into account. This could lead to inappropriate
treatment or no treatment at all.
Summary of depression…read more

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Biological explanation
O Genetics:
O Inherited, runs in families
O Twin studies: McGuffin found that the chances of one
identical twin developing depression if the other already
has it is 46% and 20% for non identical
O SERT Gene: this gene makes a protein which transmits the
neurotransmitter serotonin between neurons in the brain.
Non depressives tend to have 10-12 sections of this DNA,
and depressives tend to have only 9
O A gene has been isolated which starves the brain of
serotonin, and low levels of this have been associated with
depression. This mutant gene has been found to be 10x
more likely in depressed patients than non (Caron and
Zhang).
Summary of depression…read more

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Evaluation of genetics
O Supporting evidence: McGuffin (study
previous page), Bertelsen found a
concordance rate of 80% of bipolar
depression in MZ twins but a rate of only
16% for DZ twins
O Criticism: family members brought up in a
common environment. So learning may
influence depression
Summary of depression…read more

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Biological explanation
O Biochemical:
O Chemical imbalances
O Neurochemical explanation: bio-chemicals in the
body can affect a persons mood. Certain drugs alter
the levels of bio chemicals in the brain. Increasing
bio-chemicals improves mood, lowering them
causes depression.
O Catecholamine hypothesis: Joseph Schildkraut
proposed low level of noradrenaline was the main
cause of depression. An accident when a study to
lower blood pressure was done, they found that
when noradrenaline was lowered, depressive
symptoms showed.
Summary of depression…read more

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