Treatments of depression

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Biological treatments for depression

Biological approach: assumes that depression is caused due to biological factors e.g. genes or lack of serotonin.

Biological treatments include:

  • Drugs e.g. antidepressants
  • Therapy such a electric shock therapy - unethical and not widely used.

Drugs work by addressing hormonal imbalance e,g, SSRI's stop serotonin being reabsorbed so it remains in the bloodstream.

Biological treatment illustrated by Karp et al:

  • Reviewed previous research into effectiveness of single drug, cognitive + combined treatments for depression.
  • Depression analysed using inventories and patients tested prior, during and after treatment.
  • Single drug therapy just as effective as combined - supports value of drug treament.
  • Also suggests cause of depression is biological and therefore bio treatments will be the best.
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Behavioural treatment of depression

Behaviourists assume: depressive behaviour is learnt so the treatment is to unlearn it. Families and friends can reinforce positive behaviour - confronting and giving attention.

Behaviourist treatment will consist of:

  • Positive reinforcement.
  • Imitation of non-depressive behaviour.
  • Association - of events and positive mood.

This treatment is illustrated through Lewinsohn's study:

  • Evaluated the efficacy of a 'coping with depression' course with 59 teens.
  • 3 groups. G1 recieved course (where they were given skills training inc. relaxation + neg thoughts). G2  teens received course + parents had course (taught to reinforce positive change). G3 control.
  • Course was effective - only 52% of G2 were re-diagnosed with depression at the end of the course.
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Cognitive treatments of depression

Cognitive assumes: depression is caused by faulty, illogical thinking. The cognitive triad - negative thoughts about themselves, the world and the future.

Therefore cognitive treatments deal with addressing the negative thoughts. For example, CBT.

CBT involves:

  • Idenitfiying the negative thoughts and coming up with realistic and plausible alternatives - addressing the nature of the depressive thoughts.
  • Setting up targets and experiments to test old beliefs and demonstrate new ones.
  • Reinforce success and build on targets.

The cognitive treatment of depression is illustrated by Beck et al's study:

  • 44 patients diagnosed with moderate to severe depression split into two groups and had either 1 hour of cog therapy x2 a week of 100 Imipramine caps prescribed by 20 mins visit once a week.
  • Cog group showed sig improvements (80%) compared to drug group (20%). Cog. better.Cog group showed sig improvements (80%) compared to drug group (20%).
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