When looking at depression there are three different kinds of depression; major depression, dysthymia and bipolar depression. Major depression interferes with your ability to work, eat, sleep, and enjoy activities that was once found pleasurable. Dysthymia is a long term depression; the symptoms are not disabling but keep the individual from feeling well or happy with themselves. Bipolar depression is also known as manic depressive illness, this is when the individual gets episodes of extreme highs and complete lows, these mood changes can occur quickly. With regards to the case study major depression seems to be the category Susan falls intoLooking at depression it is an illness that affects the mood, body and thoughts of a person, it affects the person in the everyday life. Within this case study it is presented that Susan becomes increasingly pessimistic and stressed at work, these in themselves are sure signs of depression.
When looking at depression there are three different kinds of depression; major depression, dysthymia and bipolar depression. Major depression interferes with your ability to work, eat, sleep, and enjoy activities that was once found pleasurable. Dysthymia is a long term depression; the symptoms are not disabling but keep the individual from feeling well or happy with themselves. Bipolar depression is also known as manic depressive illness, this is when the individual gets episodes of extreme highs and complete lows, these mood changes can occur quickly. With regards to the case study major depression seems to be the category Susan falls into, to confirm this, the symptoms need to be looked at.
Symptoms of depression
Symptoms for major depression include feelings of pessimism, which her husband reported that “her conversation was a constant stream of complaints and criticisms” this was also directed towards her work place and colleagues which also supports that it is major depression. Other symptoms include loss of interest in sex, decreased energy and fatigue, feelings of anxiousness hopelessness and helplessness.
Within the case study Susan states she has never been interested in sex but when she was younger she was more sexually active, she found it hard to get out of bed in the morning and it was noted buy the G.P. that during the consultation she was anxious and tearful; all concluding that Susan has major depression. Her symptoms can be split into four different kinds such as somatic, behavioural, affective and cognitive.
Somatic symptoms include her feelings of tiredness and her not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. Behavioural symptoms include Susan starting to drink alone and her highly alarming behaviour of following a lady. Cognitive symptoms include her pessimism towards work, her marriage and the thought she has no one to confide in. Affective symptoms describe Susans mood, this includes her tearful states and her husbands suggestion that her mood is always low.
When looking at Susan’s depression there are three sets of factors that need to be considered; predisposing, precipitating and maintaining factors. The predisposing factors are factors that lead to any genetic links, learned behaviours and cognitive distortions. Within the case study there was no indication that any previous family members have suffered with depression so this issue is not considered. Learned behaviours include the constant stream of complaints, the thought that she has no one to confide, drinking alone and being constantly miserable. Cognitive distortions include the fact she did not get into university which she blames on her mothers death.
Other distortions include her believing that there is no-one to confide in, believing that the lady had bumped into her on purpose and her belief her husband was no longer willing to discuss their problems. The precipitating factors within this case are two events, her mother dying and as a result of this her not getting into university. The last factors considered are the maintaining factors this is what Susan does to contribute towards her depressive state. These events include her pessimistic view, her conversation being nothing more than complaints and her constant view that her husband does not listen to her. There have also been family problems as her father remarried and Susan states that she “wants my dad all to herself” this is causing family feuds.
There have been many theoretical explanations towards depression such as beck’s theory, helplessness/hopelessness theories, and interpersonal theory, there are biological explanations. Beck’s (1967, 1987) theory suggests that the individual is depressed as there thoughts are based on negative interpretations. Beck’s suggests that the negative schema adopted at childhood will be seen throughout life such as loss of a parent would make the child see the world in a negative light. This negative schema is portrayed whenever they encounter new situations that even slightly resemble the one that the schema was set, the schema is enhanced through cognitive biases and so leads the individual to misinterpret reality this may then lead to negative self-evaluation and so lead to depression.
Beck’s suggests that there are four categories of cognitive biases; arbitrary inference which is when the individual draws a conclusion from no actual evidence, selective abstraction, is when a conclusion is made on one element rather than the whole of the elements put together, overgeneralization, is when a conclusion is made on a small trivial event, and magnification and minimization is when the individual exaggerates in evaluating the performance. Many theorists see the individual as a victim of there own passions, Beck’s does not he takes into account that the individual is a victim of their own illogical thoughts and judgments.
The helplessness/ hopelessness theories were three separate theories all developed from one another. Firstly the helplessness theory is when an individual has a sense of loss of control over their life this feeling can be acquired through traumatic events. Seligman (1974) looked at this concept in dogs and found that the dogs became passive towards certain situation that had previously caused them pain or fear, this was then later applied to humans but many problems occurred as people hold themselves responsible for failure and if there was a feeling if helplessness then the individual would not be able to blame themselves.
Abramson, Seligman and Teasdale (1978) revised the original theory and added the concept of attribution, this then allowed for both cognitive and learned elements, so an individual will look at the situation that they failed and attribute the failure to some cause. This in-turn suggests that people get depressed due to the fact of negative attributions towards life events and attach them to stable and global causes, if the individuals self esteem will remain intact if the individual does not blame the inadequacies on themselves. Abramson, Metalsky and Alloy (1989) revised the theory and devised the theory into the hopelessness theory.
This has been revised so the individual believes that desirable outcomes will not occur and that undesirable outcomes will and there is nothing the individual can do to change the outcome. As in previous theories the negative life event that occurs enhances the state of hopelessness. This theory takes into account the negative attributes attached to stable and global factors but also takes into consideration low self-esteem and that negative events have negative outcomes.
Interpersonal theory takes into account the relationship between the depressed individual and others around them. Keltner and Kring (1998) suggested that depressed individuals have sparse social networks which provide little support for them this in-turn suggests that the individual may not be able to cope with negative occurrences and make them more vulnerable to depression. Genetic factors also have to be considered, it also has been suggested that changes in the brain have caused depression, hormonal changes and traumatic events to the body have also aided depression.