Abnormal Psychology: Disorders: Cognitive Perspective, Aaron Beck, and Possible Causes of Depression


Aaron Beck is very big. Aaron Beck is a name that is worth knowing. In a cognitive perspective of
depression and the idea here is that, and we’ve talked about these things before, way back. We talked about structuralism, functionalism,
psychodynamic perspectives, behavioral perspectives, humanistic perspectives and cognitive perspectives. This
perspective is that the way people who are depressed think, predisposes them to becoming more depressed because they then focus on negativity to
the exclusion of positivity or evidence of at least
neutrality. So errors in interpreting self, errors in interpreting the world and errors
in interpreting the future, become problematic, such that you have a triad. Internal – life is bad because of me because I’m worthless or not good
enough or won’t achieve success or am incapable,
whatever negative thoughts about one’s self, right. Coupled with, it’s probably always going to
be like that. So therefore there’s not a lot of hope for
the future. And it’s global. It’s all areas of life. It’s not just work were I’m having problems but work, home life. You know, what I want to be as a person kind of
existential issues as well as kind of daily life issues. It’s kind of like everything is negative. And with that depressive
triad you would expect that people just are
going to be very happy. If that’s the way you think about the
world and you get stuck in what Albert Ellis will call automatic
negative thinking without putting it in check or testing it,
it makes sense that you would be depressed. And that’s another way of looking at
depression because there’s a lot of ways to look at depression as it turns out. It’s not just one thing. A lot of
people go, that’s a, that’s a chemical imbalance isn’t it? But
we’ll see that that’s not necessarily what it is. There’s certainly chemicals involved but there’s
chemicals involved in everything. There’s nothing that you think, feel or do that neurotransmitters aren’t involved in. And if you are like me not good at sports, you don’t say well that’s a chemical imbalance isn’t it, right? You just have an imbalance in the
things that make you able to do sports. No, and don’t think about it that way. but there’s neurotransmitters involved in
everything and there’s some consistency. We see that correlations have been found between mood disturbances and the neurotransmitter
serotonin, norepinephrin and acetylcholine. But correlation does not necessarily equal causation, right. It could be, it could be that your low levels of serotonin, for
instance, could cause your depression, possibly. That’s the lay person’s understanding of it, right. They say oh, it’s a chemical imbalance. I don’t have enought of a neurotransmitter so I take an anti-depressant to get more
of them. But it could be that your depression is causing low levels of serotonin. Or it could be that something else is affecting both, right. We don’t have clear-cut
experimental evidence. You can’t randomly assign people to depression and see what happens, right. Making
them depressed. and seeing what happens. But we, but we do know that there is some correlation here. But the thing, is when you supply a
neurotransmitter in greater amounts, it doesn’t
automatically raise mood. So giving somebody an antidepressant of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor type, where we are now inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and thus more of it is in the synapse, you all remember that from the biology chapter, yes, I hope. All right, there’s more of it. If that was it, if there was just a chemical imbalance , well now we have more, almost instantly pretty quickly after we take the drug
but we don’t get mood improvement. We get mood improvement over a period of about four weeks, two to six weeks, depending on the individual because you get that downgrade and
postsynaptic receptors that goes along with it. And
the process of those postsynaptic neurons changing their number of receptors, not
upgrading as you would think with more serotonin but downgrading the number of receptors
takes two to four to six weeks to accomplish. And that’s when you see the correlation in
mood. So it doesn’t seem to be the chemicals themselves so much as the biological
processes involved are correlated with improvements
in mood but where they alone don’t often work any better than psychotherapy.
So psychotherapy has pretty much equal efficacy to medication
so we’re not changing any neurotransmitters
directly we’re asking people to change their
experiences and that might change their neurotransmitter level. You all have a great weekend. Maybe we’ll
see out tomorrow at the next door. I don’t know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *