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Lecture 12: Psychopathology and Unipolar Depression
Clinical depression has been called the common cold of psychopathology. It affects at
least 10% of the population at some point in their lives. Schizophrenia however is far
less common, affecting 1.7%.
Models of Abnormality
1. Medical: behaviour is symptomatic of physiological abnormality
2. Psychodynamic: behaviour is symptomatic of unresolved
3. Behavioural: behaviour is maladaptive responding due to faulty
learning; not symptomatic of underlying pathology; treat the behaviour
4. Cognitive: behaviour is symptomatic of faulty thinking or beliefs
about self and the world
5. Humanistic: behaviour is symptomatic of inability to fulfill human
needs and capabilities
6. Socio-Cultural: behaviour is symptomatic of dysfunctional
environments; such as family, society, or culture
•The perspectives do not necessarily contradict each other; rather they seem to
borrow ideas from one another.
•The DSM (the diagnostic statistical manual):
oNow in its 4th edition, called DSM-IV
oSought to bring the abnormality models together to agree on
symptomology, and in turn helps to diagnose
oDisorder classifications include:
Disorders first diagnosed in infancy, childhood, and adolescence
Delirium, dementia, and other cognitive
Schizophrenia and other psychotics
Sexual and gender identity
•Depressive episodes are common people have bad days, it is inevitable. We
need to ensure that when depression is diagnosed, that it is actually abnormal and
not a random occurrence.
oDiagnostic criteria for major depressive episodes:
At least 5 symptoms must be present within a two week period in
order to deem a person “clinically depressed”. This personality
must be opposite from who you normally are.
•Depressed most of the day
•Diminished interest or pleasure in activities
•Significant weight loss/gain when not dieting/decrease or
increase in appetite
•Feelings of worthlessness/excessive guilt
•Recurrent thoughts of death and suicide, without a specific
plan/attempts at suicide
Most of these symptoms, such as suicidal tendencies and lack of
motivation, tend to contradict each other. In this example, lack of
motivation stops the patient from committing suicide while
•The Medical Model
oFour possible causes:
Germ: you can “catch” depression as though it were a virus
Genetics: You inherit a predisposition to the disorder.
•i.e.: the 5HTT gene
Neuro-anatomical: a structural problem with your nervous system
causes you to get the disorder.
Neuro-chemical: neuro-transmitters effected and in turn triggers
oThe Catecholamine Hypothesis:
Includes norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine.
A study was conducted initially to find a cure for the common
cold, where instead they stumbled upon this theory.
•This drug increases levels of norepinephrine, and in turn
alleviates the symptoms of depression.
•“Tricyclical Antidepressants” treatment of choice
oElevated levels of norepinephrine and serotonin
oSerotonin was believed to be responsible for
suicidal thoughts and norepinephrine for depression
oThese antidepressants, while they alleviated the
symptoms while on the pills, did not cure
oT.A’s were found to have a correlation with
dependence and addiction.
•SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors):