Mental Disorders and Therapy Essay Sample

Mental Disorders and Therapy Essay Sample


This particular correspondence addresses Major Depression Disorder, leading causes of depression, symptoms, the crippling effects that accompany this common mental illness, and available treatment. Apprentices also incorporate personal views along with an array of facts to validate this study.

Psychological Disorders and Therapy

Have you every felt unhappy with your overall accomplishment in life or those memories that you cherish are no longer relevant? Or have you felt like the world has come to an unexpected end ever since a divorce, and you experience symptoms similar to  “despondency, anhedonia, appetite changes, disturbed sleep, change in motor activity, fatigue, low self esteem, sense of guilt, difficulties concentrating, even the thoughts of death with deliberate attempts to take your own life” (Wasserman, 2006, p. 22)? As strange as it may sound, these terms are commonly referred to as the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder.

Unfortunately, as humans we are likely to experience some form of depression during the course of our lives. Every so often our lives have a tendency to transform into a circus arena. We struggle desperately to manage numerous tasks within a short period of time; then, we find ourselves right in the middle of our own amusement. A lack of balance occurs as a result of overly active lifestyles including “long work hours, changing demographics, more time in the car, the deterioration of boundaries between work and home, and increased work pressure”(Bruce & Hansen, 2007). Consequently, this lack of balance causes further problems to occur, and these troubles or problems have a rather high potential of initiating symptoms of depression.

A Major Depression Disorder diagnosis is subsequent to the existence of “five or more of these symptoms and infections [which] are normal present every day during the same two week period. Studies on Major Depression Disorder have indicated that the primary age group affected is between 15- and 30-years-old” (Ryan & others, 1996).

The American Psychiatric Association (2000) “expressed that Major Depressive Disorder is associated with high mortality and approximately 15 percent of individuals with severe Major Depressive Disorder pass away by suicide” (p. 371). Persons of all ages, as well as ethic groups, can demonstrate forms of depression; nonetheless “gender differences occur particularly in the rates of common mental disorders – depression, anxiety and somatic complaints. These disorders, in which women predominate, affect approximately 1 in 3 people in the community and constitute a serious public health problem”(WHO, 2007).

Additional characteristic of Major Depressive Disorder vary in degree. It may appear in a slight to a moderate phase or in some instances a more severe one. Furthermore, symptoms can “last for nearly 6 months” if undetected. Individuals respond differently to depression. A number of people deal with depression in a long drawn-out process, while others may rehabilitate faster. Major Depressive Disorder is so prevalent that it can be compared to common viruses. Viruses have a tendency to reoccur, and in this way frequent symptoms of depression are similar, and this makes this disorder lethal. In particular, the symptoms can cripple your overall performance at work and restrict forms of social bonding. Therefore, the need exists to recognize the symptoms immediately and treat them accordingly (Wasserman, 2006, p. 21). Auditor Mayer (2006) defines Major Depressive Disorder as a mood disorder in which a person experiences, in the absence of drugs or a medical condition, two or more weeks of significantly depressed moods, feelings of worthlessness, and diminished interest or pleasure in most activities (p. 669). Normally, people adapt to overcome those obstacles that lay in front of them and their ambition steers them directly over such barriers. This repetitive, self drive that people acquire seems to be lacking in persons experiencing Major Depressive Disorder.

Author Parker (2004) says that, if depression is defined as being blue, “sad, hopeless and helpless and with feelings such as wanting to give up and pessimism about the future, then more than 90 percent of people will admit to such a state several times a year. While these states may range from mild to troublesome and last for minutes to hours or a couple of days, most people expect them to settle by themselves or with the use of personal coping strategies” (p. 19).

Since depression is a common form of mental illness, is there a biopsychosocial explanation behind this illness? Several hypotheses attempt to answer this question. The first one considers the influence of the human brain. The human brain is a highly complex organ. It contains the nervous system, which includes a large number of neurons that are capable of electrical and chemical communication with other nerve cells. These nerve cells rely on synaptic connections, to make a complete circuit. Here is simple approach to this view; Consider the brain as the control center for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), here is where they communicate and monitor the overall system.  For each action, there is a reaction. If there is an imbalance in the network, there are attempts to rectify those differences. However, the brain is by far more complex than a manmade network, although the principles of communications are similar in theory. “Scientists have made use of magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalogram to study parts of the brain and suggest that symptoms of depression are due to imbalance in the function of the hypothalamus, and this is one theory behind the lack of desire to eat among depressed people” (Wasserman, 2006, p. 157).

Depression has complex causes rather than a single one. Mayers (2006) calls it a “whole body of disorder” that includes genetic predisposition, biochemical imbalance, negative thoughts, and melancholy mood (p. 670). For example, “adopted children share many values and attitudes of their adoptive parents, although adopted children’s’ personalities differ and resemble genetic legacy of the biological parents” (p. 96). Genetics, as well as behavior, affect depression in spite of what is the common assumption. Disturbing thoughts and concerns about depression can be addressed, and there are currently arrangements of psychological therapies that can help patients, as well as their love ones, who have symptoms of mental disorders. Furthermore, therapy and other similar treatments have shown impressive results in care for clients with depression.

Recommended treatments for patients with Major Depression Disorder could entail an array of techniques, depending on severity of the symptom and although an individual may respond well to one specific treatment, a combination of treatments may be required. Two suggested treatments for Major Depressive Disorder are Interpersonal Psychotherapy Therapies (IPT) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is a treatment focused on dealing with the patient’s present social context rather than the past. This technique addresses a client’s social disturbances compared to the function of depression and does not attempt to alter a patient’s personality (Parker 2004, p. 118).  Refer to case one for the practical application of IPT.

Case 1

“In the case of a 34-year-old married professional, who experienced increased tension with her husband’s desire for a second child, the patient began to feel depressed and had problems sleeping. [She was] becoming irritable and was gaining weight. Interpersonal therapist assisted the patient to gain insight, and engaged her thinking on more immediate issues: methods to balance work and home, resolving the disputes with husband, and expressing her emotions more effectively” (Markowitz & other, 1998).

Another noteworthy treatment for Major Depression Disorder is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). This technique attempts to discourage negative thinking, which is similar to how an individual with Obsessive Compulsive Behavior (OCB) is treated. CBT allows the patient with MDD and OCB to better understand the habits that contribute to their emotional shortfalls. The objective of this therapy is to encourage positive prospectives rather than negative ones (Parker & Myers, 2007). An example of its effectiveness is demonstrated in case study two. 

Case 2

People with obsessive-compulsive behavior learned to re-label their compulsive thoughts (Schwartz &other, 1996). Feeling the urge to wash their hands again, they would tell themselves, “I’m having a compulsive urge,” and attribute it to their brain’s abnormal activity, as shown in PET scans. Instead of giving in to the urge, they then engaged for 15 minutes in an enjoyable, alternative behavior, such as practicing an instrument, talking a walk, or gardening. This helped “unstick” the brain by shifting attention and engaging other parts of the brain. For two or three months, the weekly therapy session continued, with re-labeling and refocusing practice at home. By the study’s end, most participants’ symptoms had diminished and their PET scans revealed normalized brain activity” (Myers, 2006. p. 699).

Depressive and Bipolar Mood Disorders Inc (2000) states that “certain types of psychotherapy, specifically CBT and IPT, have been found helpful for depression. Research indicates that mild to moderate depression often can be treated successfully with either therapy alone; however, severe depression appears more likely to respond to a combination of psychotherapy and medication” (Sect. 13).

A unique treatment called “Faith” has been in existence for sometime now and the fees are rather inexpensive compared to others.  The Christian Library in Canada (1985) claims that, “now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (p. 44). This treatment of faith has been successful with counseling and medication. Our Sunday Visitor (2007) shares an example of how “Grapes, a 57-year-old lady from Greensburg, PA was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and on the spiritual side, she finds comfort in reading the Bible, in being an oblate of St. Benedict and in practicing her Catholic faith and this allows her the strength to get out of bed each morning” (p. 9). Depression can take over lives, especially if a person has no understanding of life and death. Treatments similar to CBT, IPT, medication, and faith can help a person to regain their purpose in life.

In closing

The complexity of our busy lives contains an array of elements that extend from our biological, psychological, and social status, all of which are known factors contributing to various forms of depression. Therefore, each person is susceptive to depression. This psychological illness is extremely common, yet, if undetected, could escalate into Major Depressive Disorder, demolishing personal desires and entire families.


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