Depression II

The following link is to a brief history of depression. It makes some interesting points about the accidental discovery of anti-depressants in the 1950's and outlines some of the negative side effects of chemotherapy. This is a useful evaluation point of the biological approach.

Link to a brief history of depression

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence reviews research into mental health disorders and on the basis of the research evidence makes reccommendations on how to treat various mental disorders:

"Clinical guidelines are recommendations for good
practice. The guidelines produced by NICE are
prepared by groups of healthcare professionals,
patients, carers and their representatives, and
scientists. The groups look at the evidence available
on the best way of treating a condition and make
recommendations based on this evidence."

Link to:
NICE and information for the public on depression

Link to: quick reference guide produced by NICE on the identification and treatment of depression. It provides an overview of the stepped care model which demonstrates how the biological approach regards severe depression (major depression) as an illness which requires physical treatment (chemotherapy, ECT) and inpatient care.

Evidence suggests that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is effective in treating depression. This form of therapy is based on the Cognitive Approach. Beck is a leading researcher into the cognitive basis of depression and has developed a cognitive theory of depression. According to Beck there are three components to depression: negative views of the self, negative views of the world and negative views of the future; he calls this the 'cognitive triad'.

Link to:The University of Pennsylvania and Aron T. Beck's homepage with information on the Beck hoplessness scale

Link to:the Beck depression inventory

Link to:The Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research

In order to reduce treatment costs and make this form of therapy available to more people computer based CBT programs for treating depression have been developed. The following link takes you to an example of a computer based CBT program for depression and will give you a good idea of what this form of therapy is like. It's based on Beck's cognitive theory of depression:

Link to: mindstreet with a demo of CBT based on Beck's explanation of depression

Link to: wikipedia article on Cognitive Therapy

Link to: wikipedia article on learned helplessness

The evidence reviewed in Cardwell clearly indicates that genetic and biological factors cannot fully explain the development of a mental disorder like depression. Other factors play an imortant role, some of which include

Psychological factors: childhood trauma, maladaptive cognitive reponses to environmental events

Social/environmental factors: socio-economic stress, difficult personal relationships, lack of social support.

These factors have been placed in a simple biopsychosocial model called the diathesis-stress model. Diathesis refers to the biological vulnerability an individual carries: stress refers to to any event that interacts with this vulnerability to trigger a mental disorder. The lower a persons biological vulnerability for a particular disorder, the greater the stress needed to trigger that disorder: the higher their biological vulnerability, the less stress is needed.

Link to:powerpoint slideshow on psychopathology

Link to: wikipedia entry on the diathesis-stress model

Link to:powerpoint slideshow on the nature and causes of mental disorders

And finally two links to free videos on psychopathology

Link to: Discovering Psychology VoD 21. Psychopathology
The major types of mental illness are presented. Schizophrenia, phobias, and affective disorders are described, along with the major factors that affect them — both biological and psychological. With Dr. Irving Gottesman of the University of Virginia and Dr. E. Fuller Torrey of the National Institute of Mental Health. Updated.

Link to: The World of Abnormal Psychology VoD 8. Mood Disorders
Depression is one of the most common psychological problems. In this program, psychologists and biologists look at the causes and treatment of both depression and bipolar disorder and show the progress that has been made in helping people return to productive and satisfying lives.

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