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

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

Extracts from this document...


Psychology Assignment: Depression Depression is a type of mood disorder affecting a person's emotional state of mind. Unipolar disorder classifies depression under a DSM-IVR system where a person will be diagnosed if they shows signs of intense sadness or apathy alongside four other symptoms which include difficulties sleeping, fluctuations in energy levels, feelings of guilt and inferiority. It's crucial that these symptoms are clearly causing distress and consistently present for two weeks or more. It is important to identify and characterise depression in order to diagnose and treat the disorder. There are several approaches to depression, two of which are psychological and biological. The first psychological approach is the psychodynamic theory pioneered by Freud. His explanation of depression stems from relationships in early childhood, also focusing on the power of the unconscious and how this force propels our behaviour. Freud observed similar symptoms between grief and depression thus reaching the conclusion that depression is an extreme reaction to loss, whether real or imagined. It is this perceived loss and the failure to acquire an effective way of dealing with such a loss early on that increases the likelihood of becoming depressed when faced with another perceived radical loss. ...read more.


As the experiment was administered in a laboratory it allows the study to be replicated however when conducted on humans the results were not duplicated. These dissimilarities suggests there is low ecological validity and as the experiment uses dogs, it cannot be generalised onto humans. Despite this, Hiroto and Seligman (1974) conducted an alternative experiment results indicate that individuals who had repeatedly encountered challenging events and failed had an increased chance of being unsuccessful in subsequent tasks. Although the behavioural theory helps us to understand depression farther, it is deterministic because it assumes that once behaviour is learnt the individual has no control over stressors when in reality there is. Furthermore, not all bad situations leads to depression as 'learnt helplessness' theory suggests. The second approach to depression is biological, in which the first explanation looks at neurochemical activity in brain. This theory involves the balance of chemicals in the brain, it looks at the deficiency of neurotransmitters; noradrenanaline (NA) which is concerned with emotions and serotonin (5-HT) which regulates NA activity. The permissive amine hypothesis put forward by Kety (1975) suggests depression is caused by the fluctuation of NA causing mood swings due to insufficient levels of 5-HT. ...read more.


Supporting results were found by Allen (1976) where the concordance rate for MZ twins was 40 per cent and only 11 per cent for DZ twins. However, it is difficult to tell whether its purely genetic links influencing depression or if similar environment and upbringing have an effect on the occurrence of the disorder. In 1986, Wender et al carried out adoption studies, separating genes and the environment by looking at the biological relatives of adopted depressive patients and found that a higher incidence rate compared to those in the control group indicating that the role of genes play a large part in depression. This can helps sufferers as it removes the 'blame' culture from them onto others, namely relatives. Although higher rates of depression within genetically tied groups are expected to assure justification of the theory, the genetic explantation of depression far exceeds the psychodynamic, behavioural and neurochemical theories as its evidence clearly demonstrate a direct connection between genes and the disorder, basing it on well-established scientific disciplines which can be reliably measured. It also takes into account how environmental factors may induce the depression and separate these whereas all other theories are oversimplistic by reducing the cause of depression down to either the unconcious, learnt behaviour or neurotransmitters and ignoring all other influences. ...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 included quite a lot of information about depression and has quoted many referenced studies and authors. The writer also appears to understand the two approaches to depression. The score could now be improved if the writer takes on board the comments made and includes some writing about the 'cognitive' approach as well as the 'hormonal' aspects of depression.

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. Peer reviewed

    Critically consider 2 or more psychological explanations of depression

    4 star(s)

    If this is the case, then the emphasis that Freud places on loss is fairly limited. Contrary to Freud, Paykel and Cooper (1992) found out that only 10% of individuals who encountered a major loss during their childhood experienced depression.

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

    One weakness of the genetic explanation is that there is a problem of the nature nurture argument. It is sometimes difficult to separate out the influence of nature/nurture. Whilst the twin studies provide strong evidence for the role of genetic factors and the adoption studies point to the role of nature over nurture this is not conclusive.

  1. Biological Explanations of Aggression

    For example, humans are physiologically different than monkeys and may have reacted differently to a high tryptophan diet. This is a problem because it means that the research cannot be generalised to humans. Hormonal Mechanisms One biological explanation of aggression involves hormonal mechanisms.

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

    He would apply magnets to patient?s bodies to heal them. Mesmer believed he was generating the cures he produced not the physical forces via magnets. Mesmer was a charismatic showman with his theatrical shows which we now recognise as stage hypnosis.

  1. Outline the social factors that may influence gender roles

    argued that peers are not as important when it comes to a child?s gender role development. Tannis Williams? study carried out in 1985 could be used to explain the media?s influence on gender role behaviour. She studied three towns. One town was code-named Notel as no television signal was available there.

  2. Discuss research/theories investigating the influence of childhood on adult relationships

    This is quite clearly not the case, and this is proven by a wealth of research which found that insecurely attached babies can successful have adult relationships that are secure and are genuinely happy. However, Simpson et al did conclude that the study does not suggest that, ?an individual?s past

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

    * Asked questions to what they had seen * 17% experimental group recalled a barn * Misleading information absorbed into their memory and they believed it * Reliable ? lab * Ecological validity * Demand characteristics Anxiety ? Christianson and Hubinette * Surveyed 110 people who between them had witnessed

  2. Discuss Biological Therapies for Depression.

    However, having said that, Barbui et al found in their research that SSRIs were in fact effective. They found out that although the use of SSRI increased the risk of suicide in adolescents, the risk was decreasing among middle-aged adults, meaning that SSRIs may actually be useful as they can treat depressed people who are middle aged.

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