Saturday, 14 April 2018

Psycho-Bio-Social Factors of Depression

Psycho-Bio-Social Factors of Depression
Paper 1 Unit 4 and Paper 4 Unit 5

Msc Counseling and Spiritual Health: Paper 1 Unit 4

1) Stress: Human stress is a response due to uncontrollable ideas, protective and preparative thoughts - for no reason unlike animals (Like humanbeings, animals never have thoughts of protecting themselves-anxiety for future). We call it anxiety, neurosis, paranoia or needless hostility. It is caused just by thinking (by imagining).

2) There are 3 types of depression: 1) Everyday depression 2) Major Depression which is persisting for 2 weeks 3) Severe Depression - of loss, thoughts of suicide, losing interest.

Major Depression is loss of pleasure - anhedonia along with great grief and great guilt. It has distorted thinking of terrible, getting worse and hopelessness. It is a disorder of thought rather than an emotion. It also features psychomotor retardation - moving and speaking slowly, eating and sleep also declines.

3) Stress and Depression go together. Those with Major Depression experience more stressors and lack of social support, winding up, socially rejected. First Major Depression have undergone recent and significant stress. Stress emerges as triggers for first few depressions. Later mind clock takes over.

4) Psychodynamic: Psychological cause explained by Freud:

a.       Mourning is a normal depression and it recovers quickly.

b.      Melancholia is major depression.

Every loving relationship is a balance of hatred as well as love. Ambivalence of intense love and intense hatred cause Melancholia. Celebrating (the love) and Grieving (the hatred), the person under depression takes on some irritating traits of the other person to convince the argument and the world. Here the Aggression is turned inward.

5) Biology of depression:

a.       It is from experimental psychology, explains cause as loss of control and of predictability. They are learned to be helpless, is quite generalized. Not due to physiological stress but due to psychological stress of not having control or not able to predict, and give up, never attempt coping response, no motivation. They have cognitive distortion and over generalizing and motor retardation. Less capable of coping even with simple and easily solvable task.

b.      The more someone has an internal locus of control, the less likelihood of depression. There are links among stress, personality and depression. Learned helplessness is a learned behaviour taught all too well previously.

c.       A major depression is an outcome of particularly severe lessons in uncontrollability. Exposed to stressors early in life have a life long increase in CRH (Corticocorpin Releasing Hormone) levels in their brain.

6) Depression is pessimism specific to the effects of one's own skilled actions. Subjected to the uncontrollable stress, we learn to be helpless, we lack the motivation, assume the worst, lack the cognitive clarity to perceive things which are going fine, an aching lack of pleasure.

7) Integration-Conclusion:

Depression is caused by stress caused by:

a. Psychological: 
1. Pathological over exposure to loss of control and outlets for frustration (cognitive distorted belief by over generalization)
2. Freudian: Internalized battle of ambivalence, aggression turned inward.

b. Biological: 
1. Abnormal neurotransmitter levels and their abnormal communication
2. Abnormal hormone ratios
3. General vulnerability.

c. Stress unites psychology and biology theories

d. Link between Stress and Depression: Extremes of psychological stress cause endocrine changes of depression. Genes, act in stressful environment, glucocorticoids is due to stress response. Stress and Glucocorticoids bring neurochemical changes of depression.

e. Major Depression: Stress of extremes of lack of control and outlets cause

1.      Psychological: Cognitive distortive belief of learned helplessness
2.      Emotions: Anhedonia
3.      Behaviour: Psychomotor retardation,
4.      Neurochemical: Disruption of serotinin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
5.      Physiologically: Appetite, sleep, sensitivity to glucocorticoid- feedback regulation.

Why only some of us fall prey to this awful depression?

Because some of us are exposed to lot more stress than others. Like, history of early life stressors makes lot more vulnerable. Stress depletes norepinephrine causing biology of vulnerability. It is the interaction between the ambiguous experiences that life throws at us and the biology of our vulnerabilities and resilience’s that determines which of us fall prey to this awful disease.

M.Sc Counseling and Spiritual Health Paper 4 Unit 5

1. Hypothalamus (also mid brain and hind brain) release hormones and instruct ANS (Autonomic Nervous System) to reduce blood pressure. Limbic system involved in stress response. Above limbic is Cortex which thinks negative in people with chronic depression. Front portion of Cortex is ACC (Anterior Cingulate Cortex) involved in emotions like feelings of pain and fear. By Hypnotic Suggestion, by Counseling, ACC never becomes active. Another part Amygdala is hyperactive on depression being sad. Front of ACC is Frontal Cortex. Left PFC is associated with positive moods and right with negative moods (Choice is yours).

Hormones Glucocorticoids (prepares brain for future-next stressor) present in depression and Catecholamines(epinephrine and norepinephrine appears to deal with present situation-current stressor) in psychiatric disorders like coping activity or stress or anxiety. During trauma Amygdala learns to react in PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  Glucocorticoids work differently in Amygdala. If sympathetic system is relaxed, Amygdala never reacts in PTSD - Relaxation can help.

Link between Stress, Anxiety, Mental disorders and Depression: Stress leads to anxiety. Anxiety is of different types like phobia, OCD(Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder), PTSD.

Anxiety is disorganized coping with stress. Chronic anxiety leads to depression.

Bio-social Factors: DNA shared by the parents, present environment-people, situations, chronic illness that affects immune system, hormonal imbalance, personality influence depression.

Psychological Factors: Depression happens due to anxiety, phobia, ocd, GAD, PTSD caused by the discrepancy between stressors and its coping responses.


The good news is, if you have will power to remain free from past habits and attachments of mind(past impressions), you can overcome stress and thereby prevent depression.

Msc Counseling and Spiritual Health: Paper 1 Unit 4

Dealing with Depression through RajYoga

1. Not to speak of illness, not to think about the past.

2. Use powers to transform, tolerate, accommodate, become unlimited in awareness.

3. To be free from bondage, desire, sorrow, peacelessness, sanskar and attachment. Find God, have clear aim, not to get influenced by people, not to cry or become distressed, become fearless free from all weaknesses.

4. Remain stable in Avyakt(Relaxed Bodiless) stage and practice it all the time till it become natural.

5. Detach by knowledge, by mind, change your karma-actions, relationship and connections, thinking

6. Practice five forms of self awareness:  I am a Child, I am a Godly student, I am a spiritual pilgrim, I am a warrior (spiritual warrior against my own vices) and I am a Godly helper.

1 comment:

  1. For the complete explanation of the Flow chart (Psychology of Depression), kindly visit: