Theories Of Depression

Keywords: depression ideas, behavioural theory depression

Depression is classified as a feeling disorder. To meet the criteria for having despair the sufferer will of need to have felt lower in mood for two weeks or more and display at least five of the symptoms that are laid out by the DMS-IV. These symptoms typically include: constant low moods and sadness, changes in urge for food and weight, morbid thinking and thoughts of suicide, insomnia or unnecessary sleeping (hypersomnia), a considerable loss of energy or tiredness, being unable to concentrate and make even menial decisions, apathy and extreme feelings of guilt and hopelessness. (N. H. S, 2012) These symptoms may differ in intensity from individual to individual and many other symptoms that are also linked to despair may be apparent. Depression can affect anyone at any years (though it can seem to be more visible in females. ) (Stewart, 2010) The psychological causes of melancholy are very vast, however three ideas on how unhappiness comes about will be explored in this article. These theories include the cognitive -behavioural model and the behavioural.

The cognitive- behavioural model has a strong focus on reinforcement (whether positive or negative) as a conclusion for depression. Studies by Seligman (1975) also declare that depression can even be learned though classical conditioning. Seligman's experiment involved placing a dog in a cage that is partitioned; one area of the cage's floor comes with an electric current running right through it that would shock the dog, the other half has no electric energy. Seligman restrained your dog privately with the electric current; over time, the dog learned that it might not avoid the electric surprise. Eventually he let the dog go unrestrained so that it was able to escape to the side that was safe from the electric great shock. However, the dogs made no attempt to try and escape and sustained to endure the shocks passively. Seligman thought that this was because; the dogs experienced learned that they had no control over the outcome of the situation, no subject their response so they gave up trying.

It is ordinary to observe how this test could be utilized in explaining why some people become frustrated as it does have good face validity (it makes sense. ) For instance, if one has many distressing or distressing throughout their life they may come to think that no matter what they make an effort to do, they can not change or enhance their situation. Seligman called this 'discovered helplessness' which has many symptoms that are portrayed in despair. However, a critique of Seligman's work would be that he used dogs and not humans so it is difficult to state whether the test can be employed to humans in any way. It also did not take into account whether biological causes could donate to the symptoms the dogs proved or depression in general. Indeed, Pratt (1980) also stated that the dogs acted similar to trauma victims and those experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) than major depression. He also criticised the test by stating that the electric shocks could have also traumatised the dogs to the point of debilitation and being 'paralysed by terror. ' Pratt also made the difference that even although dogs showed passivity, lower aggression and helplessness they didn't show the typical signs of melancholy such as sadness or low spirits, and in any case deciphering these moods from a puppy would be especially difficult. It could be said that in truth, Seligman's test is not specifically relevant to unhappiness at all, but more to PTSD. (Kathryn Hahner, 2012) The other concern if is that of ethics, repeating the test now would certainly raise issues regarding cruelty to pets or animals, as it induced the dogs fighting and that might be said even if humans were used. Another criticism that might be made of Seligman's work is the fact that it generally does not clarify why people blame themselves or external factors on the bad experience; neither should it explain why many people who are depressed, blame their successes on luck. Abramson (1978) widened upon this criticism, and concluded that individuals feature their failures either internally (self-blame), globally (thinking their inability will affect everything they do) and in a well balanced manner (where they think their bad situation can last forever). Furthermore, those who base their success on luck are more likely to become depressed; however, he do think that it was these perceptions on the experiences that brought on the discovered helplessness. This in turn shows that Seligman's theory may be reductionist as his focus on focuses on repeated bad experiences by themselves that cause visitors to feel helpless and stressed out.

An additional cognitive- behavioural theory on the reason for depression is that of Aaron Beck (1974). He hypothesised that individuals with negative thoughts towards themselves, or those which may have low self-esteem are far more susceptible to have problems with depression, and that the negative perceptions that they kept towards themselves were developed through negative experience. Beck assumed that experiences in childhood may lead to a cognitive triad that could lead to major depression. This triad is built up of three areas where people hold mental poison: the home, the entire world and the future. In addition, those people who have depression or are susceptible to depression magnify their bad experiences, but minimise the nice encounters. He also explained that those who are likely to become depressed suffer from bias towards focussing on only negative situations, and think in a 'black and white', all or nothing fashion. Weissman and Beck (1978) started using self-schemas to try to discover how people recognized themselves and the earth around them. They found that those individuals with negative self-schemas were far more more likely to get major depression. White (1985) agreed that there was enough information to suggest that Beck's theory was accurate, yet it does not show the real causality of the despair and that he didn't recognise that logical errors might be triggered by natural factors, like a substance imbalance in the mind. (Richard Gross, 2000) Beck's theory is based on questionnaires, which causes the question: 'can you notify whether someone is stressed out just through performing a questionnaire?' His research is probably not completely reliable as the participators of the questionnaire are influenced by communal desirability- people may want the assessor to like them and not to stigmatise them; so they form their answers to attempt to impact the assessor's view of them.

Behavioural theories of depression like that of Ferster (1960) and Lewinsohn (1974) suggest it is lack of positive reinforcement, which in turn causes depression. For instance, the increased loss of someone you care about may cause despair due to lack of the positive reinforcement, this can also happen with the loss of employment. Lewinsohn also suggested that whenever others supply the stressed out person attention this reinforces their depressive symptoms and behavior. Yet, in turn when you can find lack of attention by family or friends and insufficient reinforcement this may evenly exacerbate depressive symptoms. He also suggested that people that have too little cultural skills were at a greater threat of becoming stressed out because they lacked communal reinforcement. Lewinsohn and his colleague MacPhillamy also found that folks who are experiencing depressive disorder believe that they may have far fewer enjoyable experiences than those who find themselves not depressed. However, they also suggested that it was the melancholy, which was making people less likely to take part in enjoyable activities. This causes question whether depressive disorder causes negative thinking and perceptions or that the negative perceptions were the reason for the depressive disorder. (McIlveen, 1996) Lewinsohn's theory is a definite exemplory case of operant conditioning as the individual who have depressive symptoms then gets reinforcement for these people by attention from others; this motivates the behaviour to be repeated. Conversely, there are a few definite criticisms that may be made towards Lewinsohn's model. Blaney (1977) suggested that certain of the primary problems with the model is that it can't be tested or proved affectively, and this Lewinsohn's theory was predicated on observation and that he used 'analogue content. ' (Clark, 1999) Quite simply, he centered his work on similar studies which have been done before on the reason for depression. Therefore, in this way Lewinsohn's model lacks target. His theory focuses more on explanation of what depressive symptoms take place when someone lacks or does not engage in pleasurable activities than actually pin- directing the cause of the despair to begin with.

In conclusion, it is good to say that there is no one cause of depression. Both behavioural and cognitive- behavioural theories seem to have very good face validity to such that you could apply those to 'real- life' situations and circumstance studies of these with melancholy. Yet, both theories do likewise have their flaws, the key one being that both do not concentrate on biological or genetic causes for depression. The NIMH (National Institute of Mental health) agrees that it is most definitely a mixture of cognitive, genetic and environment factors, that contribute to the cause of depression. (NIMH, 2009) Consequently, all mental health problems are sophisticated and depression is no exception, therefore it cannot have a singular, simple description.

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