This page focuses on the treatments associated with the Cognitive approach and depression. The Cognitive treatments take the form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and look at addressing the faulty/irrational and dysfunctional thinking believed to be held by the patients.
Beck’s Negative Triad: Beck believed that depressed people think as they do because their thinking is biased towards negative interpretations of the world and they lack a perceived sense of control.
How they work: Anti-depressants work by raising levels of Serotonin in the brain (as low levels of Serotonin have been linked with an increased likelihood of OCD). In “normal” brains, Serotonin is constantly being released from the nerve endings, stimulating the adjacent neurons. However, sometimes the mechanism fails and the Serotonin is reabsorbed into the nerve ending before it can stimulate the neighbouring neuron. Prozac works by reducing the rate of re-absorption meaning that Serotonin levels don’t drop and the patient’s mood can remain constant (they are less likely to suffer from obsessive thoughts and compulsions). Prozac is usually taken over the course of weeks, months or even years and as well as being successful in treating obsessive compulsive disorder.
A popular explanation for mental disorders is that they are inherited. This would mean that individuals inherited specific genes from their parents that are related to the onset of OCD.
Based on Classical conditioning. This therapy is directed at changing a previously learnt maladaptive response (e.g., an emotional behaviour such a fear or anxiety) to a new adaptive response (e.g., relaxation).
Recap the key principles of the Behavioural Approach before learning how it specifically relates to explaining phobias.
Depression is classified as a mood disorder. DSM-V distinguishes between major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder which is long term and/or recurring.
Phobic disorders are including in diagnostics manuals (DSM and ICD) within the category of ‘anxiety disorders,’ a group of mental illnesses that share the same primary symptom of extreme anxiety. Phobic disorders or phobias are cases of irrational fears that produce a conscious avoidance of the feared object or situation.
Norms are commonly expected standards of behaving in a society according to the majority.
Sometimes these are written (explicit) and form laws that govern behaviour. Sometimes though, these norms of behaviour are unwritten (implicit) but generally accepted (e.g. not standing too close to people at a cash machine)