November 30, 2014
Depression is a mood disorder that deprives an individual of the ability to lead a life that is filled with happiness, joy and contentment. The effects of depression can be destructive on the mental abilities, physical health and emotional stability of those that suffer with this disorder. Individuals may choose to not seek help due to embarrassment or a lack of admitting there is a problem. Others may choose to seek help to end the cycle of unanswered questions and enrich and improve their quality of life while producing a sense of normalcy. A widespread form of depression is Major depression.” Some 15 million people in the United States suffer from major depression, and at any one time, 6 to 10 percent of the U.S. population is clinically depressed” (Feldman, 2013). Periods of mild, moderate and severe depression can occur several times in a lifespan. Dysthymia, a less severe type of depression, is comprised of lingering symptoms that limit the ability of functioning well or feeling good. Depression is also consistent with bipolar disorder. Mood changes are typified by Bipolar disorder. The mood changes are severe lows (depression) and highs (mania). The mood changes are most often gradual (Grohol, 2006). People who suffer from major depression feel useless, lonely and cry uncontrollably. They feel hopeless and beyond help and have a greater risk for suicide. The symptoms of depression also hinder the ability to enjoy pleasurable activities. These feelings may be experienced for months or years (Feldman, 2013).
The research methods used to investigate psychological disorders include case studies, data collection (narrative interviews) and data analysis and observations of behavior. According to Yin (2003) “A case study is convenient for studying current events in connection to real life contexts and is well-suited to answering questions of “how” and “why”(Ahlstrom, 2007).
Several factors amplify the risk of depression in men and women. Interpersonal dependency, (the need to please others and emotional and social support from others) increase the risk of depression and negative mood in men. A greater interpersonal dependency and relative autonomy of men contribute to the risk of depression among women (Brewer, 2014).
A negative component associated with depression is an influence toengage in risky behavior. Men react to depression with increased competition and risk-taking. Women suffer exclusion from social groups and threatens the social support received (Brewer, 2014). A positive component associated of depression is an increase of analytical thinking. Depressed individuals perform better on certain tests and do a better job solving social problems (Andrew, 2009).
Mood disorders have genetic and biochemical origins. Researchers have found that changes in the functioning of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain play a role in the development of depression (Feldman, 2013). Behavioral theories of depression claim that stress creates a reduction in positive reinforcers. The reductions of these positive reinforcers begin the withdrawal process. The attention produced by depressive behavior continues to reinforce the depression (Feldman, 2013). Cognitive factors contribute to mood disorders. Psychologists suggest that depression is a direct reaction to learned helplessness. Learned helplessness is the anticipation that life’s events are uncontrollable and the individual has no way of escape. As a result, people surrender to events which produce depression. Also, theorists suggest that depression derives from learned helplessness and the expectation that negative events are unavoidable (Feldman, 2013). The Cognitive theory of depression indicates that depressed individuals feel he or she is to blame when situations go awry. Focusing on the negativity promotes the inability to actively change their environment. Negative thoughts lead to feelings of depression (Feldman, 2013). Numerous controversies exist concerning the proper treatment methods for depression. However, psychologists are in agreement that therapy is effective. Studies indicate that therapy is the best choice when compared to no treatment at all. Therapy is consistent with a low remission rate. The symptoms of abnormal behavior, if left untreated, do not go away by themselves. However, this issue continues to be debated (Feldman, 2013). The question concerning the superiority of a specific form of treatment has no definite answer. Most psychologists feel confident that psychotherapeutic treatment is more effective than no treatment at all. A study comparing the effectiveness of various approaches found that the rate of success varies by treatment form. In comparison, most treatments show equal success rates. Behavioral and cognitive approaches were more successful. However, this success may have been dependent upon the variations in the severity of the cases treated. Meta-analysis research produced similar conclusions. According to the survey individuals felt that psychotherapy was beneficial. However, there was a slight variation in satisfaction on the basis of the specific type of treatment received (Feldman, 2013). Several conclusions, supported by evidence, can be drawn concerning the effectiveness of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is effective but it is not effective for everyone. No certain type of therapy is beneficial for every problem, particular types of treatment are beneficial for particular types of problems and therapies share several similar foundations (Feldman, 2013). There isn’t a definitive answer to which therapy is most successful. Researchers and clinicians have placed a concentration on evidence-based psychotherapy. Evidence-based psychotherapy uses information comprised from research to establish an effective treatment for a distinctive disorder. Client self –reports, observations and clinical interviews are used by researchers to establish a beneficial treatment for a specific disorder (Feldman, 2013). Therapists also use an eclectic approach to therapy. This approach to therapy, allow therapists to use various techniques which incorporate numerous views, to treat a disorder. Utilizing various approaches, therapists choose the evidence-based treatment that is effective in treating the individual’s special needs (Feldman, 2013). Biomedical therapy (drug therapy) is a method in treating depression. Antidepressant drugs are used to improve an individual’s mood and feeling of wellbeing. Antidepressant drugs alter the concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain. Antidepressants produce long-term recovery from depression. In some cases, depression does not return after patients stop taking the drugs. The side effects of antidepressants include drowsiness and faintness, and an increase of the risk of suicide (Feldman, 2013). The sadness and darkness of depression can break an individual’s spirit and the hearts of the ones he or she loves. The scars of depression can be abolished when an individual seeks help through various treatments methods. The first positive step towards living a life free of depression is asking for help.
Grohol, J. (2006). Types & Symptoms of Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/types-and-symptoms-of-depression/000649
Ahlstrom, B., Skärsäter, I., & Danielson, E. (2007). Major Depression in a family: what happens and how to manage . Issues In Mental Health Nursing, 28(7), 691-706.
Brewer, G., & Olive, N. (2014). Depression in men and women: Relative rank, interpersonal dependency, and risk-taking. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 8(3), 142-147. doi:10.1037/h0097761
Feldman, R.S. (2013) Psychology and your life. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Andrews, P. & Thompson, J.A. (2009). The bright side of being blue: Depression as an adaption for analyzing complex problems. Psychological Review, 116 (3), 620-654