On Mood Swings: The Psychobiology of Elation and Depression

By Susanne P. Schad-Somers | Go to book overview

Introduction

As our century draws to a close, many advances have been made in the fields of medicine and psychology. However, with respect to the question, what causes people to become depressed, we still have at least four competing schools of thought. The remedies advocated vary accordingly.

Biopsychiatry claims that depression essentially reflects some biochemical disturbance in the brain. Andreason (1982), one of the leading proponents of this approach, concedes that sometimes episodes of illness are triggered by unfortunate life events; but she goes on to say the basic causes lie in the biology of what she calls The Broken Brain. Consequently, the best way to treat these abnormalities in brain function is through somatic therapies.

Cognitive therapists, on the other hand, argue that depression is due to some distortion in thinking. Depressed people tend to concentrate on the worst aspects of themselves, their world, their circumstances, and their future. Their software is skewed in the direction of pessimism and self-blame. Treatment, which for some practitioners includes hypnosis, involves restructuring the patients' "faulty" thinking and perceiving, and showing them how to make a more accurate assessment of their lives.

Psychoanalysis focuses on childhood events, fantasies, and feelings, and their respective impact on the vicissitudes of

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On Mood Swings: The Psychobiology of Elation and Depression
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - Jack the Wrong Kind of Help 17
  • Chapter Two - Portraits 23
  • Chapter Three - History 65
  • Chapter Four - Psyche 85
  • Chapter Five - The Biology of Cell Communication 99
  • Chapter Six - Psychobiology 125
  • Chapter Seven - The Acquisition of Mood Regulation in the Human Infant 148
  • Chapter Eight - How Psychotherapy Heals 178
  • Chapter Nine - Special Problems 209
  • Chapter Ten - Case Material 231
  • Postscript Behavioral Medicine 253
  • References 259
  • Index 275
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