Biological Explanation of Depression

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define monoamines
a group of neurotransmitters which are thought to regulate mood
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give examples of 3 neurotransmitters relevant to this explanation
dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline
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how does it say depression is caused?
by low levels of serotonin which means low levels of noradrenaline are produced. the latter monoamine is associated with alertness and energy. this can also be applied to dopamine levels: also associated with motivation (deficit in dope reward system
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does this differ depending upon the individual?
yes. different depressed people have different low levels of the monoamines e.g. someone has low dopamine levels whereas someone else has low noradrenaline levels. the antidepressants used must reflect this
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diathesis-stress model
says that yes there is this biological cause of depression but an environmental trigger must be present in order for depression to be caused in the individual
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genetic cause
the low levels of monoamines/chemical imbalances could be genetic as there are strong genetic suggestions for depression
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STRENGTH: is it correct?
anti-depressants work and are effective at treating depression which suggests that the ideas of this explanation are correct
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STRENGTH: applicability
applied to the creation of anti-depressants (hugely popular treatment)
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STRENGTH: symptoms
this explanation explains ALL symptoms of depression e.g. lack of motivation, not just the low mood
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WEAKNESS: reductionist
doesn't consider the other potential causes of depression e.g. the environment//results of Brown's study. however, the diathesis-stress model DOES.
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WEAKNESS: animal studies
most of the supporting evidence for this explanation is from animal studies where there are clear generalisability problems
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WEAKNESS: maybe not accurate?
there are studies which purposefully reduce the levels of serotonin and the symptoms of depression are not replicated which suggests there are other causes
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Card 2

Front

give examples of 3 neurotransmitters relevant to this explanation

Back

dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline

Card 3

Front

how does it say depression is caused?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

does this differ depending upon the individual?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

diathesis-stress model

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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