Strong evidence that depression

Looking at explanations for depression both biological and psychological gives strong evidence that depression is due to either one of the factors or in many places a little of each. Looking closer at biological depression the main explanation is the genetic factor. First degree relatives who have mood disorders are more likely to develop one than with people who have relatives without this disorder. Allen (1976) showed a higher average concordance rate for bipolar disorder in MZs (72%) than DZs (14%).

For major depression concordance rates are different suggesting that if genetic factors are involved they are different for the two disorders. Data is, however, limited as families and twins share the same environment. But this factor has been overuled by the adoption studies. Adopted children who later develop a mood disorder appear to be more likely to have a biological parent with a mood disorder, who becomes an alcoholic or commits suicide.

Looking closer at DNA the gene SERT, occurs 10 to 12 times. However, people with depression have only 9 repeating sections, linked with serotonin. Fact that serotonin is strongly implicated in depression and new drugs interacts with serotonin leads us to think that genes may be involved in depression. Looking at biochemical influences as a biological factor, Schilknats proposed that too little noradrenaline causes depression. Evidence to support this is when non humans were given drugs that limit noradrenaline being released, they became sluggish and inactive, two clinical characteristics of depression. However, lower levels of serotonin are also found in mania therefore cannot be the case of excess or deficient amounts of neurotransmitters.

Many drugs used to treat medical conditions e.g. TB produce elation that increased levels of noradrenaline and serotonin levels. Teuting et al (1981) found by using urine samples of depressed people, there were lower levels of compounds produced when noradrenaline and serotonin are broken down by enzymes, this suggesting lower than normal activity or noradrenaline and serotonin secreting neurons in the brain. Kety theory states that serotonin plays a role in limiting noradrenaline levels, when this is deficient noradrenaline levels fluctuate leading to both mania and depression. However, antidepressant drugs take time to take effect, therefore suggestion that depression cannot be explained simply by neurotransmitter levels. Also as not everyone responds to the drugs to alleviate depression.

Looking at the psychological explanations of depression two main parts of the behavioural and cognitive ideas. Ferster proposed that depression is a result of a reduction of reinforcement. Lewinsohn expanded this theory by suggesting that certain events induce depression because they reduce positive reinforcement. Depressed people causes of other people to be concerned for them which reinforce the depressed behaviour. However, after a while concern wears out and reduced reinforcement exacerbates the depression. People lacking social skills are prime candidates for depression as social ineptness is unlikely to bring reinforcement from others. Consequently there is a correlation between greater depression with fewer pleasant experiences. However, depression might precede a reduction in pleasant experiences therefore cause and effect cannot be assumed.

Looking at cognitive explanations, Seligman’s research represented a link between the behavioural and cognitive perspective. An experiment conducted in which dogs were restrained so that they could not avoid electric shocks, appeared to become passively resigned the shocks. Later the dogs were introduced to a new situations were they were allowed to escape, the dogs made no attempt. The behaviour shown is similar to depressed humans.

Depressed people, like the dogs, learn from experience to develop expectancy that their behaviour will be fruitless in bringing about change. When people feel helpless to influence their encounters with pleasurable and unpleasurable stimuli they become depressed. However this theory fails to address the issue why some people blame themselves whilst others blame the outside world. Explaining depression as either biological or psychological alone is limited as many explanations do not explain everything. To understand the causes, psychologist have to combine explanations to gain a wide range of answers.

Discuss The Biological Explanation for Depression and Biological Treatments for Depression The biological explanation or the ‘medical model’ would favour the nature side of the nature nurture debate. This approach or explanation of dysfunctional behaviour / depression asserts that something in …

The biological explanation or the ‘medical model’ would favour the nature side of the nature nurture debate. This approach or explanation of dysfunctional behaviour / depression asserts that something in our biology or genetic makeup is the cause of the …

I am going to discuss the use of antidepressant drugs and electroconvulsive therapy and their use in the treatment of depression. Both are broadly used in the UK and elsewhere in the world and are often used in psychiatric hospitals …

Discuss biological explanation of depression. (25 marks) In order for depression to be diagnosed the person needs to show at least five of these symptoms everyday for a minimum of two weeks. These clinical characteristics for depression can be emotional …

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