Sigmund Freud described depression as a human response to loss. The psychodynamic approach to depression explains that the feelings of an adult reflect on the experiences of a child. If for example a child suffers the loss of their mother during childhood, this results in adult depression. Freud also argued that depression relates to early relationships with parents. Hostile feelings towards the parents are redirected towards the self resulting in hatred of the self. Feelings of depression can arise from lack of affection and love during childhood.
Trauma of a child re-emerges in adulthood in the form of depression. According to Freud, the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind can come into conflict with one another, producing phenomena called repression (a state where you are unaware of having certain troubling motives, wishes or desires but they influence you negatively just the same). In general, psychodynamic theories suggest that a person must successfully resolve early developmental conflict in order to overcome repression and achieve mental health. Mental illness, on the other hand, is a failure to resolve these conflicts.
Abraham in 1911 suggested that depression was the result of the anger felt towards a rejected loved one. The psychodynamic approach to depression is supported by the point that childhood loss predicts later vulnerability to depression. A cognitive approach to depression, suggest that depression is a state of mind. A person becomes depressed because of the way they think and feel. Cognitive behaviour theory is different to that of Seligman and Abramsons hopelessness theory which suggests that people learn from childhood that they are powerless to control what becomes of them, as a result adults become passive and helpless.
Beck in 1991 developed the cognitive behavioural theory of depression. He argued that depression stems from negative thinking. Depressed people suffer from a cognitive triad of negative beliefs about themselves, their future and their past experiences. Giles B (2002:108) A cognitive triad of negative thinking: A negative view of the self A negative view of the world A negative view of the future Beck suggested that people who are prone to depression have developed a self-critical and negative way of thinking and feeling towards themselves.
Beck believes that negative thinking starts in childhood and is a result of been brought up by critical negative parents with whom the child identifies. Beck suggested that as a result of these early experiences the child develops into adulthood with a negative self schema. Both cognitive and psychodynamic approaches to depression suggest the childhood experience is the route of depression. Freuds theory suggests that depression is a result of the loss of a mother or perhaps a negative upbringing, Beck suggested almost the same as he suggested that a negative family encourages a person to become depressed.
Both theories hold the majority of responsibility on the upbringing of a child. However, if this as the case, all children in negative households would then become depressed. Freuds research on depression was limited due to the year of study. At the time in history it was the norm for a family to be cared for by the mother. This is not always the case in todays society, given this would children having suffered the loss of a father also suffer depression in adulthood. Biological theories do appear to have an influence on depression.
Twin studies and family studies do demonstrate likelihood that depression is genetic. However, genes alone do not cause depression; if this was the case then every child born into a depressive family would there for become depressed. This suggests that depression does have a link with genetics but it also needs other aspects to initiate depression. Becks theory of depression has its strengths as it is supported by a large amount of research indicating that depression is in fact influenced by negative thinking.
However, is negative thinking the cause of depression or is it depression that causes a person to think negatively? If depression causes a person to think negatively is it then that depression is a result of chemical conflict? Serotonin levels must remain on an even level to enable a persons mood to stay stable. Serotonin levels drop in that of a depressed person. Yet it is unknown whether a low serotonin level causes depression or weather depression causes a low serotonin level. It remains unknown weather depression is in fact a result of biological factors or psychological factors.
Each person suffers from depression in their own way. There is evidence to suggest that depression runs in families, but a family free from depression can have a depressed person amongst them. A happy family home, with two loving parents can also have a depressed child. In conclusion to this assignment, what causes depression? Given the research , evidence and the limitations of the theories surrounding depression it becomes fair to say that depression holds many reasons and is not only influenced by one factor and can in fact be a result of many.
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