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

Clinical characteristics of depression

Extracts from this document...


(a) Outline the clinical characteristics of depression (b) Explain the issues associated with the classification and diagnosis of depression (24 marks) Depression is a collection of physical, mental, emotional and behavioural experiences that are more prolonged, severe and damaging. The medical model involves individuals going to the doctors and having their physical symptoms observed and questions asked about their illness/problem. To help doctors diagnose diseases such as mood disorders, the medical classifications ICD-10 and DSM-IV both define these diseases in order for doctors to follow the guidelines and diagnose the correct illness. A person is defined as having a mild depressive episode of depression by the International Classification of Diseases 10th edition by having two or three of the following psychological symptoms; lowering of mood, reduction of energy, decreased activity, ideas of guilt and worthlessness, capacity for enjoyment, interest and concentration is almost always lowered, appetite diminished, sleep disturbed and self-esteem and self-confidence is lowered. These psychological symptoms may also be accompanied by somatic symptoms such as; lowering of mood, waking hours before normal in the morning, depression worst in the morning, marked psychomotor retardation, agitation, loss of appetite, loss of libido and weight loss. ...read more.


Therefore the diagnosis for moos disorders is made very difficult by factors such as this. A fourth concern with the classification and diagnosis of depression is that whilst depression is a universal disorder and the symptoms are similar around the world, there are some cultural differences. The biggest is between western and non-western cultures. People from non-western cultures often present with more bodily complaints than subjective distress. This could be misinterpreted if only western-based diagnostic tools are used. The difference between unipolar and bipolar disorder is highly relevant to the diagnosis of mood disorders such as depression as it often difficult for clinicians to differentiate between the various types of depression . A clear distinction has been made between unipolar and bipolar disorder, but there are still complications between the two. Coryell 1995, found that 10% of people diagnosed with unipolar disorder would then go on to develop bipolar episodes. As the treatments for both of these mood disorders are different, it causes more complications with the diagnosis and treatment of such disorders which is consequently a weakness in the diagnosis of depression. ...read more.


Overall the diagnosis of depression is very vague as the symptoms are too broad and there are obvious limitations to using a self reporting questionnaire. An extra issue is that there are endogenous, and non- endogenous depressions. One which is caused by biological factors, and the other by cultural factors, although Hammen 1995 says there is little evidence to support this. People diagnosed with endogenous depression are more likely to suffer from more severe symptoms and a greater likelihood of suicide. This seems to have implications for therapy, with endogenous depression responding more positively to ECT and to certain antidepressant drugs. A different issue with the diagnosis of depression is that depression occurs twice as frequently in women than it does in men. Men may be less likely to admit to symptoms of depression and are more likely to forget previous symptoms. This is a real issue when trying to diagnose an illness, as without a full understanding of the patient's symptoms the GP cannot make an accurate diagnosis. Above I have outlined the main issues associated with the classification and diagnosis of depression and have shown why it is so hard to differentiate between different disorders. ...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)

A comprehensive review of some of the difficulties faced in diagnosing depression, and its possible source. Reference to some of the successful outcomes of diagnosis would be good to include.

3 Stars

Marked by teacher Stephanie Duckworth 24/10/2013

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. Discuss The Biological Explanation for Depression and Biological Treatments for Depression

    Patients either had single drug treatments, single psychological treatments, combined treatments and placebo treatments. It was found that for most of the studies adding psychological therapy did not increase the effectiveness of the drug therapy, and so they concluded from this research that it was be fair to assume that

  1. Stress can be explained as the stimulus in the environment that triggers a stress ...

    Lack of control - (influence over the type & amount of work) MARMOT et al (1997) - Lack of Control & Illness in the Workplace * 7000+ civil services employee, working in London were surveyed. Information about their grades of employment, how much control they felt they had, how much support they felt they had etc.

  2. Outline the social factors that may influence gender roles

    However, it could be argued that not every child gets affected by their peers. Some children are not really bothered about whether they are teased in school or not because they may have been taught by their parents not to care about what other people think.

  1. Describe & discuss how each psychological perspective explains smoking using empirical evidence to support ...

    Action, and the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Fishbien & Ajzen 1975 1982). Individuals elaborative thoughts on subjective norms are perceptions on whether they are expected by their friends, family and the society to perform the recommended behaviour. Social influence is measured by evaluation of various social groups.

  2. Discuss theories of sleep

    Though, the sloth is one of the least active creatures but sleeps for 20 hours a day whereas some very active humans get by on just a few hours of sleep. However, Horne (1988) extends Oswald?s theory by suggesting that sleep is actually divided into core sleep (REM)

  1. Biological Treatments for Schizophrenia

    Another ethical implication with ECT and also drug treatments is if the patient cannot detach from their illness, they may not be able to give full informed consent to taking medication or undergoing ECT and therefore may not understand the potential side effects of risks of the treatment.

  2. Discuss Biological Therapies for Depression.

    This suggests that they must work otherwise the clinicians would not recommend depressed patients to take them if they did not work. So, depression may be caused by biological factors (i.e. low levels of serotonin and/or noradrenaline) since they do treat depressed people.

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