Depression as a Physiological Disorder Essay

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Depression as a Physiological Disorder

When researching the above statement, I have taken into account what I consider to be some of the main physiological and biological arguments regarding depression as a physical illness, as well as several psychodynamic and behavioural theories in order to attempt to compare the two and result in understanding how true the above statement is.

When looking at the physiological view, it can be useful to look at the biological explanation that depression is caused by a disturbance of hormones and brain chemistry. The Endocrine system can seriously affect the behaviours of a person. This system produces hormones that have an effect on many behaviours such as
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When contemplating the above idea, it would be exceedingly difficult to understand why depression is more frequent during periods of great hormonal change such as menstruation and childbirth, if hormones did not affect the onset of depression. Although there is a great deal of research to support this, it is difficult to prove as often during times like this, there is also social change occurring (pregnancy etc,).

The levels of Cortisol that have recently been mentioned are seen by some researchers to have a great effect on depression and mood. Barlow and Durand (1995) discovered that levels of Cortisol seem to be lower in that of depressed patients in comparison to ‘normal’ people. Carroll et al (1980) also looked into this and found that by using dexamethasone to suppress Cortisol, the amount present in an individual could be measured. It was found that in ‘normals’ about 50% would be suppressed, however in those people suffering from depression, very little suppression was shown. This could indicate that the level of Cortisol could be causing depression, it could however be that the high level of Cortisol is the result of the depression rather than the cause. It must also be mentioned that such high levels of Cortisol were also recorded in patients suffering from anxiety and other mental health
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