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'A mental disorder characterised by low mood and energy levels'

Behavioural characteristics:

  • Activity levels - Typically sufferers have low energy levels making them lethargic.
  • Disruption to sleep and eating behaviour - Insomnia or hypersomnia plus increased or decreased appetite.
  • Aggression and self-harm - Aggression towards others aswell as themselves in the form of self-harm.

Emotional characteristics:

  • Lowered mood - Daily experience of feeling lethargic or sad.
  • Anger - Anger directed at others and themselves.
  • Lowered self-esteem - Liking themselves less than ususal.

Cognitive characteristics:

  • Poor concentration - Sufferers often unable to stick to tasks they usually would do.
  • Dwelling on the negative - More inclined to focus on the negative rather than the positives of a situation.
  • Absolutist thinking - Thinking something is either all good or all bad.

Explaining depression:The cognitive approach

Beck's theory of depression

  • Faulty information processing meaning attending to the negative aspects of


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