Unipolar Depression- Monoamine Evaluation


Real World Application

One strength of the monoamine explanation is that our understanding of the biochemistry of depression develops, so do the drugs to treat it. 

E.g.: the explanation suggests that both serotonin and noradrenaline and dopamine are involved in causing unipolar depression 

This is a strength of the biochemical explanation because treatments based on them may improve quality of life and reduce stress.

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One weakness of the explanation is that the low levels of monoamines appear not to be the only cause. 

Delgado used a special diet to lower the levels of Tryptophan found that depressive symptoms returned for 67% of patients. Tryptophan is an amino acid which is required to regulate serotonin. 

Therefore, whilst low levels of monoamines may be a cause of depression it cannot be said to be the only cause. 

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Cause or Effect?

One weakness of the explanation is the cause or effect

The explanation suggests that low levels of monoamines are the cause of depression 

However, there is a possibility that the depression effects monoamines levels. 

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One strength of the explanation is that the research conducted on anti-depressants supports it. 

Anti-depressants increase monoamine levels which help alleviate depression and make their mood better. 

This shows that reduced monoamines may be a possible cause. 

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One strength is that Versini's research supports it. 

They found that patients who had Noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors increased their mood

If changing the biology can reduce symptoms there may be a biological cause. 

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To conclude, it seems almost certain that levels of monoamine neurotransmitters are linked to depression. However, not everyone responds to anti-depressants, this means that there is another cause other than the biochemical explanation. 

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