• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Classification and Diagnosis of Depression

Extracts from this document...


Outline the clinical characteristics of depression (5) The clinical characteristics of depression are sad depressed mood, most of the day, nearly every day for two weeks, or loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities. There is also difficulties in sleeping (insomnia); not falling asleep initially; not returning to sleep after awakening in the middle of the night, and early morning awakenings; or, in some patients, a desire to sleep a great deal of the time. A shift in activity level and feeling lethargic or agitated is also a common symptom. Poor appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain is a physical symptom of depression. You may also experience loss of energy and great fatigue. A negative self concept, self blame and feelings of worthlessness and guilt with further evidence being difficulty in concentrating, such as slowed thinking and indecisiveness. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide is the main symptom and finally apathy (no interest or pleasure in activities). There are two types of unipolar depression according to the classification systems. The first is major depressive disorder and the other is dysthymic disorder. Patients with MDD require five symptoms, suicidal thoughts. The symptoms are severe but can be short lived. On the other hand DD requires three or more symptoms, including depressed mood but not suicidal thoughts. ...read more.


We need to consider the difficult position that the clinicians were placed in, since the consequences of sending someone away who might be seriously mentally ill is likely to be much worse than the repercussions of admitting someone into hospital who turns out to be mentally well. This study is based on schizophrenia but demonstrates how unreliable the DSM is overall in diagnosis so a study for depression could be similar e.g. All patients saying they have suicidal thoughts would be similar in results and doctors could not turn them away. Davison outlines that issues with classification systems are specifying a particular number of symptoms from a longer list that must be evident before a particular diagnosis can be made. For example, DSM-IV-TR(2000) insists on depressed mood plus 4 other symptoms to be present to diagnose MDD. But why four? This has been increased to five in 2010. Why five? There is still room for subjectie interpretation on the part of the psychiatrist. For example the DSM requirews comparison between the patient and an 'average person'. These examples beg all sorts of questions. As Davison (2004) argues 'such judgements set the stte for the insertion of cultural and gender biases as well as the clinicians own personal ideas of what the 'average person' should be doing at a given stage of life. ...read more.


For example, it is more acceptable for women to admit to the kinds of symptoms that characterise depression than men, and women may feel more willing to go and ask for help. Culture is another factor because one key difference across cultures is the emphasis a particular society places on physical symptoms as a means of expressing mental problems. People from eastern cultures, in particular, often express their distress through physical symptoms. Kua et al reported that 72% of people in China who first presented with chest or abdominal pains or headaches were later fonud to have a mental health problem. One reason that people do not mention emotional symptoms when they first present for treatment is the stigma associated with emotional or mental weaknesses, especially in eastern cultures. Finally; the effect of socio-cultural background means that people from social minorities seem to have a higher level of mental health probles than others. It is not clear whether this reflects greater genetic vulnerability, psycosocial factors associated with being part of a minority group or misdiagnosis. It could, for example, be the case that clinicians from a white middle class background misinterpret cultural differences in behaviour and expression as symptoms of mental disorder. If this is the case, it demonstrates how important it is for clinicians to take particular care in their assessment of people from different ethnic or social groups when diagnosing depression. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Physiological Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)


The writer has covered the essay title and has not got sidetracked. It is brief but concise and it has covered most aspects of depression other than 'bi-polar' or 'manic depression'. If the writer takes on the comments made then this essay score could improve significantly. Better referencing and more detail about depression and its different forms would be advisable.

Score 3*

Marked by teacher Linda Penn 24/09/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Physiological Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Depression. There are several approaches to depression, two of which are psychological and ...

    3 star(s)

    He tested this by conducting a highly controlled experiment placing dogs in a confided area where electric shocks pulsed through. Once the dogs learned there was no escape, they no longer reacted to the shocks and accepted their fate. Even when opportunities to prevent these shocks arose, there was no attempt.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Critically consider 2 or more psychological explanations of depression

    4 star(s)

    future and that they have little or expectations of good things happening. This, as a consequence leaves them with a feeling of helplessness which puts the individual at a greater risk of developing depression. Similar to Seligman, the hopelessness model has also been supported by evidence.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Compare and contrast two explanations of depression.

    3 star(s)

    Wenders (1986) found that children who had being adopted from a depressive family where 8 times more likely to suffer from depression than their adoptive parents therefore showing that they had inherited genes from their biological parents rather than it being induced by the environment their adoptive parents created.

  2. Outline the social factors that may influence gender roles

    So, for example, if a boy was watching such programmes, he may pay attention and imitate what the boys in the programmes are doing, and this could then mean that the child would likely to only show those behaviours and he may ignore and avoid showing other behaviours that girls are more likely to show.

  1. I will talk about the history and what the psychological and physical aspects of ...

    This is maybe where the false thought that the client will be asleep whilst in a hypnotic state came from; we will look at this later. Braid first thought that under hypnosis the nervous system was linked to certain cures by suggestion.

  2. Unit 1 psychology revsion notes (memory, attachment, research methods)

    data * ecological validity * historical validity * inducing stress to children Classical conditioning ? learning through association Pavlov * sounded a bell when feeding dogs * began to salivate at the sound of the bell UCS ? unconditioned stimulus UCR ? unconditioned response CS ? conditioned stimulus CR ? conditioned response Food (UCS)

  1. Discuss Biological Therapies for Depression.

    depression, they can be able to get hold of antidepressants quickly and use them before they attempt to commit suicide- the antidepressants may be able to relieve some depressive symptoms quickly which could then stop a person from taking their own life.

  2. Discuss theories of sleep

    Another theory of sleep is the Restoration theory. Oswald (1966) put forward that sleep restores depleted sources of energy and removes waste from muscles while repairing cells e.g. during the day waste chemicals build up in the muscles following physical exertion and neurotransmitters are also likely to be used up as they are used for communication throughout the nervous system.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work