Depression and the Modern Perspectives

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The modern perspectives were all formed over time. These perspectives were fully developed by some of the most renowned psychologist of the 20th century. Because of the eight modern perspectives, therefore, these should be used to accommodate to people with depression, since this mental disorder is becoming an epidemic of sorts. The first modern perspective is based on how the medical field examines the physiological contributions to human behavior. This is the Biological or Neuroscience Perspective. When the biological perspective is being used, it takes into account how different parts of your brain are affecting your mood and behavior. In particular there is a group of neurotransmitters that directly correlate and help explain normal behaviors to mental illness. These transmitters are Dopamine, Serotonin, and Norepinephrine. Dopamine plays a role motivation, movement, and attention. Likewise, Serotonin is involved in sleep, mood, and pain perception. Similarly norepinephrine also deals w sleep, mood and arousal. A deficiency or surplus of any of these can lead to major mental disorders; such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Neuroscience perspective has a “strong history of contributing to understanding [these] medical disorders” (Fields, 2016). And because these neurotransmitters, among other necessary brain functions, located in the Central Nervous System, it can be easily accessed through CAT scans and MRIs.

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Unlike the biological perspective, the evolutionary perspective is geared more towards how behaviors are genetically programmed to help adapt for survival. This idea was formed by William James who “promoted the idea that the mind and consciousness itself would not exist if it did not serve some practical, adaptive purpose” (Functionalism). Just like all theories created by Darwin, if something does not evolve or is not needed anymore it has no purpose. Humans conscious mind is a large part of who we become and how we act. A large part of this perspective is functionalism, which is a belief in the importance of practical application. James believed that consciousness was a major part of psychology that had not been tapped into. The conscious goes into three different sub-categories, created by Sigmund Freud; id, ego, and superego. The id is a mainly primitive state of conscious. It focuses daily on filling desires to feel pleasure. Ego mediates between the id and the real world, trying to satisfy the id in the best way possible without harming anything. Super-ego deals with how to behave in the real world and maintaining ideal self. This leads to introspection which is a careful observation of one’s conscious experience.

Similarly the psychodynamic perspective also focuses on the internal and unconscious process of the brains motives and desires. Typically an example of this would be someone lying to get an advantage or something they want and this would mean unconsciously they feel a lack of power in life and no sense of control. From a Freudian stand point these motives and desires with how someone may gain these is based on past experiences stored in the unconscious. Making the psychodynamic perspective a “strongly deterministic” behavior of which “we have no control” (McLeod, 2017). This would mean that there is no truly random thought or action. Contrasting this is is the behavioral perspective.

Behavioral perspective is based on how everything going on around us affects our behavior. John Watson, B.F. Skinner, and Pavlov were the first to create and dive into this theory. They emphasized the fact that “stimuli in the environment and/or rewards and punishments influence our responses” (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo). An example of this would be an experiment that Pavlov did with dogs and how they react. Pavlov would present the dogs with food after ringing a bell, which would create the unconditioned response of salivating. over time Pavlov then began to just ring the bell and the dogs would still salivate. This meant that an outside force had created a conditioned response. Skinner had added on to the theory with consequences. He believed that psychologists should not only look at stimuli and response, but what would happen if they responded incorrectly. Behavioral perspective could also be linked to the sociocultural perspective.

Sociocultural perspective, created by Lev Vygotsky, also deals with external factors. Researchers found that different behaviors can be linked to different societal groups, culture, gender, ethnicity, heritage, etc.. It goes in depth about how one cannot understand behavior without understanding background and identity, among other factors. For example, in asian cultures it is rude to look those that are superior in the eyes and making mistakes that will lead to a bad image is very wrong. Unlike in the U.S. looking people in the eye is polite and an image for yourself can change within the day. This is how culture can affect how one behaves; as well as all of the other societal groups.

Closely related to the sociocultural perspective, the humanistic perspective also deals with how the world influences one’s behavior. But, it also has to do with how people view themselves. Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow were the first psychologists to really put this perspective into use, and it became popular in the U.S. This brought up the idea of self concept, how one’s idea about oneself will affect how they behave. For example, if an employee believes they will never get a promotion, they might be more likely to not work and hard and not care as much about their job.

On the other hand, the cognitive perspective, through Jean Piaget and Edward Tolman, is how people process information to influence behavior. A computer processes information very similarly to a human brain. Both, gather, store, and retrieve information. Input processing handles analyzing stimuli, something that happens. Then storage processing goes over everything that happens to the stimuli internally, figuring out what happened. Then finally, output processing figures out an appropriate response, the behavior that occurs to what happened. So, people with mental disabilities perceive a stimuli differently and therefore respond differently.

Finally, the eclectic approach focuses on integrating several perspectives to explain behavior. This means that someone who needs psychiatric help will get it tailored to them in many different ways other than just getting one specific perspective. A patient could need behavioral and biological perspectives both treated at the same time, then they would go to a psychologist that. But, how do all of these perspectives relate to helping depression.

Depression is a mood disorder. Some physical symptoms can include fatigue, and a change in sleep pattern, appetite, and motor functions. Other cognitive symptoms could include inability to concentrate, feelings of worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide. There are two different types of depression, major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder. Major depressive could be all of the symptoms above that goes on for at least two weeks. On the other hand persistent depressive is less severe but is generally more chronic form. Someone with persistent depressive disorder will seem sad over a longer time and has to have at least two other symptoms listed above. There are a lot of ways people can become depressed but there eight common causes. A brain chemistry imbalance, female sex hormones, circadian rhythm disturbance, poor nutrition, physical health problems, drugs, stressful life events, and grief or loss (Schimelpfening, 2018). An individuals depression can be different from others depending on these causes. For example if someone is dealing with a death in the family, they could have been happy previously but because of this it has completely changed their mood and behavior. Compared to someone who may of began taking drugs who has now changed the chemical balance in the brain for a certain amount of time causing them to be depressed.

Depression can be looked at through the eight modern perspectives that were discussed previously. Neuroscience, cognitive, and evolutionary perspectives would be able to aid depression is a much more scientific and medical way. Neuroscience would look at any chemical imbalances in the brain to see if that was the cause. For the cognitive perspective a psychologist could see how someone responds to a stimulus and treat them from there, if the patient is responding negatively, and try and change their thought process. A psychologist who specializes in the evolutionary perspective might look to see if any part of the behavior has any sort of adaptive purpose.

On the other hand, behavioral, sociocultural, humanistic, and psychodynamic perspectives would aim to alleviate depression through a more elusive standpoint. Behavioral, sociocultural, and humanistic all focus a lot on how external forces affect our behavior. So with depression, these perspectives might suggest to get a ‘change of scenery’ or learn how to better work with the environment one learned from or currently are dealing with. All of these perspectives deal a lot with how we internally behave, but specifically the psychodynamic perspective. Although, this perspective would deal with depression through the unconscious.

The last perspective, eclectic, could use all of the above. For example, someone with depression who might’ve grown up with a strict family and has low levels of serotonin, could be treated by neuroscience and sociocultural perspectives.

Treating depression can be a very difficult task, but has advanced greatly over the past few decades. However only 51% of people reported ever receiving treatment (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo). The most popular way of using depression is through medication such as Prozac and Zoloft. However, there are more psychologist who promote talk therapy and the more natural alternative to medication.

There are eight specified modern perspectives on behavior; neuroscience, evolutionary, psychodynamic, behavioral, sociocultural, humanistic, cognitive, and eclectic perspectives. All of which have similarities and differences. Depression is a major mental health disorder all across the world. These perspectives are used to help those with this disorder. All that needs to be done is for everyone who needs help to have access to it.

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