PSYA4 Depression Essay 1 - Characteristics and Diagnosis


Depression Notes:

For this unit, there are 5 possible essays that could come up. I hope this helps :) This is the first essay. Please find the others in the search bar 

Essay 1:

Discuss difficulties arising from classifiaction and diagnosis of ONE mental disorder (Depression) (8±16 marks)

  • Depression is diagnosed by identifying symptoms (syndromes). Examples of these symptoms are fatigue, lack of focus, a change in eating behaviour (eatin much more or much less), insomnia (lack of sleep) and hypersomnia (too much sleep), a depressed mood all day, everyday. These syptoms must be either self reported or recognised by another person (family or friend for example) and they must be present everyday for a 2 week period. 
  • Depression causes a serious impairment of functioning. There are different types of depression: Major Depressive disorder, bipolar, unipolar and dysthymia etc. It can be very difficult to distinguish between the different types of depression, although unipolar and bipolar are clearer. 25% of depressed patients develop double depression where they experience both disorders (e.g. - MDD with bipolar). 
  • Depression often occurs alongside disorders such as substance abuse, alcoholism, eating disorders and schizophrenia. This is called comorbidity and it means that doctors may have difficulty deciding which is the primary disorder (e.g. whether the depression caused the alcoholism or whether the alcohlism triggered the depression). Depression also commonly exists alongside anxiety. 
  • Doctors need to be careful as diagnosis leads to labelling which could be stigmatising and create a self-fulfillin prophecy where the patient 'acts' the part od a epressive patient. There are also dosorders such as factitious where the patient  acts as if they have an illness by deliberately producing, feinging or exaggerating symptoms. This is difficult to


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