Depression Essay

3087 words - 12 pages

Half-full or half-empty? Cognition and depression.IntroductionThe etiology of depression can be illustrated from biological defects or abnormality, personal characteristics, and environmental factors. Over the last three decades cognitive functioning of the depressed patient has come to be seen as an integral part of the depressive process. Numerous studies (Beck, 1974; Legeron, 1997) have focused on depressed patient's pessimism. The main focus of the current study, however, is on cognitive factors of depression. This essay will present and explain mechanisms of depression through a series of cognition studies and theories, among them are Beck's cognitive theory of depression, Young's Early Maladaptive Schemas (EMSs), Attribution theory and Learned helplessness. The discussion is integrated from these theories to show how negative thinking style and perceptions, called schema are formed, and how the schema influences and affects the state of mood, leading to depression. Some personal characteristic differences are also examined to see why do some people go into a major depressive episode following a loss or setback while others do not. Beck's cognitive model of depressive vulnerability states that the underlying factors which separate easily depressed people and not so easily depressed people is the degree they hold depressive beliefs (Beck and Butler, 1997). The depressed patient differs from the non-depressed people in the way he construes the experiences (Beck, 1974). This basic perception of the experiences influence various interpretation of the information which causes major depression to some while others go through without getting depressed. The cognitive theory of depression is useful since it has been studied and validated experimentally and it has given rise to a therapy in the treatment of depression which can be superior to drugs in the prevention of relapse (Moussaoui, 1997).DepressionDepression has been variably used to describe mood and classify a psychological syndrome. The multiplicity of terms (a symptom, disease, a physiological reaction, a neurosis, a psychosis, an illness) used in the diagnosis of depression captures the elusiveness of this condition (Parker, 1978). Depressive disorders, which include major depressive disorder (unipolar depression), dysthymic disorder (chronic, mild depression) and bipolar disorder (manic-depression) are a widespread psychological disorder with a population life prevalence rate of about 17 % (Blazer, Kessler & McGonagle, 1994). The onset of depression may be sudden but its full development spreads over a period of days or weeks (Beck, 1991). Thus the patient experiences a snowballing effect of sadness and apathy. Weber (1997) describes depression an inner anguish and/or a depressed mood that is disabling and exhausting and can be far more pervasive and profound.Most models of depression depict depressed mood as a sense of experience of unhappiness and which may involve feeling of being...

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