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Depression

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Depression is generally thought of as having feelings of sadness and hopelessness from time to time. However, Major Depressive Disorder, is a debilitating mental disorder characterised by feelings of low mood and aversion to activities that they person may have gained pleasure from before. Key signs or symptoms are changes in mood, thinking, behavior and physical changes and usually accompanies changes in either eating too little/ overeating, sleeping too much/insomnia, fatigue, loss of energy, problems concentrating, irritability and pains or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment. Depressed people may become preoccupied with feelings of low self-worth, inappropriate guilt or regret, helplessness, hopelessness and self hatred. More severe forms of MDD may accompany psychosis/ loss of contact with reality which can include hallucinations or delusions (The Ministry of Health, 2012).

Depression can be caused by many things, including normal reactions to life events such as the death of a loved one. However, over time, the cause of depression has evolved to include psychological, psychosocial, hereditary, evolutionary and biological factors. Psychological treatments focus on the personality, interpersonal communication and learning (eg counselling, psychotherapy), whereas biological theories focus on explaining that the depletion of particular chemicals (neurotransmitters); serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, are the main cause of depression and focus on treatment with antidepressant medications (The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies [ABCT], n.d).

Biological explanations postulate that depression must be linked to changes in the brain. One of the major theories of the biological explanation is the Monoamine Theory of Depression. This theory postulates that depression is caused by having deficient levels of neurotransmitters; dopamine, serotonin and norephedrine. These neurotransmitters are essential to the transfer of...