The Development Of Depression Essay

2183 words - 9 pages

The European Commission Green Paper on mental health (European Commission, 2005) suggested that factors such as biological, individual, family, social, economic and environmental all contribute to determine the mental condition of a person. Similarly, Kinderman, Schwannauer, Pontin & Tai (2013) stated that it is never just one factor that has happened that leads to a mental illness being discovered in an individual. Therefore, this essay will look at factors including genetics, experiences, social support, social status and living conditions and how they could affect someone becoming depressed. Depression causes depressed moods and loss of pleasure in most activities. A person’s thoughts, emotions, body and behaviour are all affected. It is like chronic sadness, a person never truly feels happy about themselves and these symptoms are present most of the time. There are many types, including minor, dysthymic, sub-syndromal and major. Depression is the fourth leading cause of disability and disease and affects 121 million people worldwide (Bromet et al, 2011).

One factor that has dominated over recent years is the biological approach, suggesting that it is a person’s genes that lead to depressed symptoms. One theory that has contributed to this is the monoamine hypothesis. This suggests there are three main monoamine neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin and norephrenine which cause depression. Specifically, low levels of serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate mood and balances areas of the brain associated with thinking and emotions. Serotonin pathways connect to different brain regions and are located in the brainstem area “the Raphe nuclei”. They affect areas in the brain including the neocortex and the limbic system (e.g. the amygdale and hippocampus). Serotonin neurons also move down the spinal cord and control muscle activity. The function of serotonin depends on the part of the brain in which it is released but it can affect the regulation of several processes including, mood, emotions, anxiety, memory and perceptions. Therefore, if there is a low level of serotonin, it can lead to dysfunction in these processes which could cause the onset of depression. Nutt (2008) supports the monoamine hypothesis suggesting that a dyregulation caused by an increase or decrease in these monoamine neurotransmitters can lead to the symptoms of depression.

Another theory that has contributed to the biological factor is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis helps someone focus and deal with stress (Maric & Adzic, 2013). A dysfunction and hyperactivity in the HPA axis is very common in depressed patients (Ehlert, Gaab & Heinrichs, 2001) and can be the cause of depression regardless of what age they are (Guerry & Hastings, 2011). It causes neurobiological changes and results in a persistent stress response. In depression, there is excess secretion of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) from the hypothalamus which generates...

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