Psychopathology

Depression

Depression is a mental disorder characterised by low mood and low energy levels

Behavioural Characteristics of Depression = 1. Low Activity levels (Sufferers from depression have reduced energy levels making them lethargic). 2. Disruption to sleep and eating ( Sufferes experience reduced sleep or increaed, and suffer from weight loss or weight gain). 3. Aggression & Self Harm (Sufferers tend to have verbal aggression for example by ending a relationship, or have aggressive directed at themselves through self harm, suicide attempts

Emotional Characteristics of Depression = 1. Lowered Mood, (Sufferers feel empthy and worthlesss). 2. Lowered Self Esteem (Sufferers like themselves a lot less than usual, and sometimes will self loath or hate themselves.) 3. Anger (Experience anger, maybe even extreme rages)

Cognitive Characteristics of Depression = 1. Dwell on the negatives (Ignore Positives) 2. Absolutist Thinking ( Tend to see situations in absolute terms rather than an unfortunate situation). 3. Concentration (Unable to stick to task, find it hard to make decisions which would normally be straight forward.)

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Explanation 1 to Explaning Depression - Becks Cogn

* Beck states why he believed some people were more vulnerable to depression compared to others.

* Beck Suggested there are three parts to cognitive vulnerability (Faulty Information Processing) (Negative Triad) (Negative Self Schema)

* With Faulty Information Processing, when a person is depressed a person will blow a small problem out of proportion, and will dwell on the negatives of a situtaion rather than the positives

* A person develops a negative view about themselves because of three types of negative thinking, these elements make up the negative triad. (Negative View on the World) (Negative View on the Future) (Negative View on Yourself)

* A schema works as a mental framework, a schema is a package of ideas and information develops from experiences. A self schema is a package of information we have about ourselves. So if a person has a negative self schema they would interpret information about themselves in a negative way.

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Explanation 2 to Explaining Depression - Ellis' AB

* Ellis suggested a different cognitive explanation for depression

* Ellis proporsed that good mental health is a result of rational thinking and anxiety and depression result from irrational thinking

* Irrational thoughts are any thoughts which interfere with us being happy and free.

Ellis uses the ABC Model to explain how irrational thoughts affect our behaviour

A = Activating Event (Experience negative events which trigger irrational beliefs.

* B = Beliefs (This triggers irrational beliefs)

* C = Consequence (When an activating event triggers irrational beliefs, there are emotional and behavioural consequences

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Explanations for Treating Depression

* CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) is most commonly used to treat depression.

* CBT aims to identify and change a patients faulty cognitions. A patient learns how to notice negative thoughts when they have them, and test how accurate they are.

* The therapist and client begin with an assessment to clarify the patients problems. The therapist and client  identify the faulty thoughts and beliefs, and the therapist tries to help the client see that these thoughts arent true.

* Together they set goals, to think of the negative thoughts in a more postive way, and challenge away the irrational thoughts.

* They dont look back in past situations but create new positive ones.

* The therapist may encourage the client to keep a diary, to record their feelings etc.

* Sometimes CBT therapists do use techniques from Beck's cognitive therapy and Ellis ABC Modlel. 

* The therapist will work to encourage the patient to be more active & engage in activities

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Evaluation of CBT Therapy

* CBT puts the patient in charge of their treatment, as they set the goals to challenge the irrational beliefs, this means there are feweer ethical issues compared with other therapists for example drug therapy

CBT Is effective, there is a large body of evidence to support the effectiveness of CBT for depression. Studies such as March et al have found that CBT is just as effective as medication, meaning CBT will be the first choice for treatments in systems like the NHS because it has the same effect as drug therapy but reduces side effects.

*CBT does not work for severe cases, patients who are suffering severly cannot motivate themselves to engage in the work involved with CBT or struggle to pay attention, so the use of antidepressant drugs can be used. This is a limitation of CBT because it means in some cases CBT cannot be used to treat depression on its own.

CBT focus on the present and the future, but some patients are aware of their childhood experience and their depression and want to talk about their past experience, which they believed caused it, which wastes time.

* CBT Takes a long time, requiring effort and time, as you need to train a therapist to use CBT and how they use the therapy to try and treat depression

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Evaluation of Becks Cognitive Theory

* Becks Cognitive Theory has good supporting evidence to support the idea that depression is associated with faulty information processing, negative self-schemas and the negative triad. CLARK & BECK reviwed research and concluded there was solid support for the cognitive vulnearability factors, supporting the idea that faulty information processing causes depression.

* Becks Cognitive Theory has practical application as becks explanation forms the basis of CBT therapy, the negative triad can encourage the patient to test whether their thoughts are true, so it is successful in therapy.

* Becks model explains the basic symptoms of depression, however depression is complex, beck cant explain why some patients are deeply angry and some suffer from hallucinations and bizarre beliefs.

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Evaluation of Ellis's ABC Model

A strength of Ellis's ABC model is that it has practical application, it has led to successful therapy, by challenging irrational beliefs a person can reduce their depression, this suggests that irrational beliefs had some role in depression

*The approach explains why some people appear to be more vulnerable to depression, but it doesnt explain the anger, or the fact some patients suffer from biare beliefs and hallucinations.

The patient may begin to believe they are the blame for their problems

*Faulty thinking may simply be the consequence of depression rather than its cause. Depression may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, which causes people to think negatively.

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