Depression is sometimes referred to as the common cold of psy-chopathology. Consistent with this aphorism, epidemiological studies demonstrate that depressive disorders are indeed rather common across the life span. Given the importance of the social relationships and context to understanding depression, it seems likely that culturally informed and diverse research will yield important findings about those critical components of human cognition, emotion, and social relationships that underlie risk for depression, as well as those that serve to aid in recovery from these disorders. Most researchers believe it is unlikely there is a direct effect of hormones on depression, but rather that they indirectly increase risk via any one of several mechanisms, including: the effects of hormones on brain development, the development of secondary gender characteristics that are generated by these hormones, or the hormonal changes that occur during the pubertal transition may interact with life events and the social context.
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Depressive disorders are characterized by etiological heterogeneity, which means that many diverse causal factors or causal pathways can lead to the same clinical outcomes. Women are at higher risk for depressive episodes beginning at early adolescence and then throughout the life span. Unipolar depressive disorders can onset at any point in the life span, but are most prevalent in late adolescence through early to mid-adulthood. Bipolar disorder (BD)s generally onset before mid-adulthood; new cases are rare thereafter. More severe cases of unipolar and bipolar disorders are characterized by a chronic/recurrent course. Both unipolar and bipolar disorders are commonly comorbid with other forms of psychopathology; overall severity and poorer outcome over time is associated with comorbidity. If gender differences are of interest, the effects of potential etiological factors are measured in persons of both genders and their associations with depressive disorders are statistically compared across genders.Source:
The idea of the mad genius persisted all the way to modern times and was even promulgated in scientific circles. Not only was genius mad, but it was associated with criminality and genetic degeneration. The empirical research relevant to the mad-genius issue uses three major methods: the historiometric, the psychometric and the psychiatric. The historical record is replete with putative exemplars of mad genius. The mental illness adopts a more subtle but still pernicious guise-alcoholism. In fact, it sometimes appears that alcoholism is one of the necessities of literary genius. Psychopathology can be found in other forms of genius besides creative genius. Of the available pathologies, depression seems to be the most frequent, along with its correlates of suicide and alcoholism or drug abuse. Family lineages that have higher than average rates of psychopathology will also feature higher than average rates of genius.Source:
The medical model of psychopathology currently guides psychiatrists and many psychologists who are treating older adults experiencing psychological problems. Use of this model causes contradictions and distortions for the treating clinician and limits the effectiveness of treatment for older adults experiencing psychological problems. There are three areas of concern that illustrate these contradictions and distortions. The first area of concern is the fact that only two classes of psychiatric diagnoses meet the characteristics of a disease. The second area of concern is how the current use of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) continues a tradition among psychiatry, managed-care companies, and insurance companies that puts pressure on psychiatrists, psychologists, hospitals, and psychiatric rehabilitation facilities to treat in the most cost-effective and short-term manner. The third area of concern is the relationship that has occurred between psychiatry and pharmaceutical marketing forces.Source:
Psychologists work with micro-level and macro-level orientations. Clinical psychologists with a micro-level orientation focus on individuals, families, and small groups when performing psychotherapy. Community psychologists have a macro-level orientation. The aging population presents many opportunities for psychologists, both those engaged in scholarship and those working clinically with older adults, and for community psychologists addressing issues relating to social structures and organized communities of older adults, economic issues such as poverty and access to medical services, and issues relating to senior housing. Contemporary theory indicates that it is equally important for psychologists working with older adults to focus on the positive aspects of aging when addressing the psychopathological problems older adults are experiencing. Erikson’s stage theory originally had seven stages: basic trust versus basic mistrust; autonomy versus shame and doubt; initiative versus guilt; industry versus inferiority; identity versus role confusion; intimacy versus isolation; and generativity versus stagnation.Source:
Posttraumatic growth (PTG) refers to positive psychological changes in the wake of traumatic or highly challenging life events. Growth does not occur as a direct result of trauma. Rather, it is the individual’s struggle with the new reality in the aftermath of trauma that is crucial in determining whether posttraumatic growth occurs. PTG is part of many spiritual and religious traditions and is a common theme in literature and philosophy. Researchers have also examined the relationship between resilience and growth. Resilience is defined as exposure to traumatic events without developing psychopathology. Perceived growth is thought to arise when people try to make sense of what happened and cope with their emotional reactions. This process allows trauma survivors to reflect on their lives, observe new strengths, and find meaning in the event, often by seeing “the bigger picture”.Source:
The reach of depression disorders extends far beyond the symptoms used to identify and characterize them. People with dysthymia are less likely to recover from their disorder than are those with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and the course of dysthymia is frequently punctuated by major depressive episodes (MDE)s that represent exacerbations of the underlying depressive state. Consistent with the idea that dysthymia is a more severe disorder, dysthymics had more suicide attempts and hospitalizations, poorer functioning, and had higher overall depressive severity and persistence of depressive symptoms across the follow-up. Depressive disorders are associated with profound and pervasive effects on all of those domains of functioning that are critical contributors to our self-concept as thriving individuals. The symptoms may be more bearable than the impairment, difficulty in functioning is often the problem that drives those suffering from depression to seek out treatment.Source: