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

To What Extent are Affective Mood Disorders Biologically Determined?

Extracts from this document...


To What Extent are Affective Mood Disorders Biologically Determined? Affective mood disorders are mental disorders characterised by disturbances in mood and emotional states, unlike Schizophrenia, the most severe of mental disorders, which is distinguished by problems with thought processes. These affective mood disorders can include variations such as Bipolar disorders where the patient experiences two extreme states; mania accompanied with depression and Unipolar disorders where only the depressive state is present. There have been many suggestions as to the cause of these disorders. It has long been thought that there are two types of depression: reactive and endogenous. Reactive depression follows the psychodynamic view that depression relates to life events such as loss of a loved one and endogenous depression mirrors the cognitive approach where the individual attributes failures internally thus bringing on depression. However the DSM-IV only lists two sub-types of depression, which are reliant upon the length that the patient has suffered for. These are major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder. Biochemical explanations are mainly associated with unipolar depression and were developed in the 1950's with the introduction of Tricyclic drugs, which were discovered to help those with depressive symptoms. It has been suggested that chemical imbalances in the brain cause these depressive symptoms. ...read more.


Therefore it may simply be the case that more women report their problems than men, who keep their feelings of depression to themselves. This difference also occurs with unipolar depression and can be accounted for by the vast amounts of hormonal changes women endure through menstruation, child carrying and the menopause. McGuffin et al (1996) compared 109 pairs of twins and found a rate of 46 per cent concordance in MZ twins to that of 20 per cent in DZ twins; this study shows a genetic link for depression but that it is not the only factor. If depression were only caused by genetics then the concordance rates would be 100 per cent for MZ twins and 50 per cent for DZ twins, suggesting that other factors play an important role. This genetic link may be due to environmental factors as the patients are likely to live in a shared environment. This suggests that the concordance rates occur not because depression is hereditary but because it can be learnt. This however could also work in reverse; a relative may not suffer from depression because they have experienced depression and have learnt ways to cope with their feelings and experiences. ...read more.


Beck sated that strategies to cope with these negative thoughts can be developed and that the environment can either strengthen or weaken them. The Diathesis Stress model takes into account both biological and psychological factors. This approach is able to give a much more accurate interpretation of the causes of mood disorders as it uses all available information such as serotnin levels, negative thoughts, family history and genetics. The diathesis stress model uses these factors as a predisposition, life events then act as a trigger, stimulating the disorder, there fore if biological and psychological factors give you a high predisposition it is very likely that you will suffer from one type of mood disorder. This culmination of factors explains to a certain extent why in some cases patients suffer from major depression or bipolar disorder and others do not. By looking at a culmination of factors it can be explained to a certain extent anomalies in research evidence, such as why the concordance rates for MZ and DZ twins are not 100 per cent and 50 per cent and why some anti-depressants work well for certain patients while having adverse effects on others. It is my opinion that the diathesis stress model gives the best causes for depression, as it cannot be said from looking at the relevant research studies that affective mood disorders are caused by one single factor such as the biological explanation. ...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

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. What are the characteristics of the bipolar disorders? As a clinician, what symptoms would ...

    The educational efforts must be directed not only toward the patient but also toward their family and support system, who are also greatly affected by the disorder. The treatment of bipolar disorder is directly related to the phase of the episode, e.g, depression or mania, and the severity of that phase (Soreff, 2004).

  2. Anxiety Disorders

    Fears that the patient or a relative will shortly become ill or have an accident are often expressed. Anxiety: � neurosis � reaction � state DSM-IV Etiology Often anxiety gets generalized to other situations, and can then become overwhelming or associated with life in general.

  1. Sleep and Biological Rhythms revision

    and perpetuating (learned insomnia) explains why when original cause is treated insomnia remains * Dement - so many different types of insomnia attributable to so many different causes, it's impossible to generalise in a meaningful way e.g. melatonin only effective in small group * Support for brain abnormalities from imaging

  2. Psychological influences in childbearing and midwifery practice - A Rite of Passage: Transition from ...

    benefits to others only if they are free to defect from these activities should their costs outweigh their benefits. If the physical and psychosocial costs of nurturing a child outweigh the benefits, mothers will withdraw from this costly venture 'down tools', and stop investing in the child, as they have

  1. Teenagers in Depression.

    To treat adolescent problems lightly is foolish; neglect such as this could place future generations at risk. Official Government statistics report that; "There has been a marked increase in suicide death rates in people aged 15 to 24 since the end of the 1950s...Suicide rates are associated with mental health problems, such as depression."

  2. What are the Risk Factors for Childhood and Adolescent Depression?

    While some researchers have maintained that little difference exists between adult and youth depression, it has been asserted that there are in fact differences in the form and frequency of depression between these two groups (Rutter, 1986). Emde et al.

  1. Can a case be made for the use of homeopathy in the treatment of ...

    severe drops in blood pressure upon standing up, and changes in heart rate and rhythm. Sometimes an overdose of try cyclic antidepressants can even be fatal. One other problem with treating a patient with psychotherapy is that it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of psychotherapy.

  2. Stress in the Workplace : Why Is it Important to Deal with It?


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