Subordination and Defeat: An Evolutionary Approach to Mood Disorders and Their Therapy

Subordination and Defeat: An Evolutionary Approach to Mood Disorders and Their Therapy

Subordination and Defeat: An Evolutionary Approach to Mood Disorders and Their Therapy

Subordination and Defeat: An Evolutionary Approach to Mood Disorders and Their Therapy

Synopsis

Most people now accept that human beings are the product of millions of years of mammalian evolution and, more recently, primate evolution. This landmark book explores the implications of our evolutionary history for theories and therapies of depression. In particular, the focus is on how social conflict has shaped various behavioral and psychophysiological systems. Special attention is given to the evolved mechanisms for dealing with social defeat and subordination in both animals and humans. By linking human depression to the activation of ancient psychobiological programs for dealing with social conflict, one is able to understand the function of depression within groups, family systems, and between individuals and begin to distinguish depressions that may have adaptive functions from those that are the result of maladaptive feedback systems. Although many acknowledge the need for an integrated, biopsychosocial theory of psychopathology, there continue to be great divisions among social, psychological, and biological approaches. Sloman and Gilbert have brought together leading scientists and clinicians representing different disciplines and schools to present a provocative new evolutionary model of depression. This model illuminates old problems in new ways, links a common disabling condition to evolved mental mechanisms, and points to potential new approaches to prevention and intervention. The book will be of compelling interest to all those who study or treat mood disorders.

Excerpt

Most people now accept that huan beings are the product of millions of years of mammalian evolution and, more recently, primate evolution. This book explores the implications of our evolutionary history for theories and therapies of depression. in particular, the focus is on how social conflict has shaped various behavioral and psychophysiological systems. Special attention is given to the evolved mechanisms for dealing with social defeat and subordination in both animals and humans. By linking human depression to the activation of ancient psychobiological progaras for deling with social conflict, we are able to understand the function of depression within groups, family systems, and between individuals and begin to distinguish depressions that may have adaptive functions from those that are the result of maladaptive feedback systems. We hope this book will help illuminate old problems in new ways, link a common disabling condition to evolved mental mechanisms, and point to potential new approaches to prevention and intervention.

Acknowledgments

In an endeavor such as this one, we have obviously been aided by those close to us. We thank our wives, Valerie (for Leon) and Jean (for Paul), for providing invaluable support, understanding, and feedback. Daniel (Leon's son) deserves special attention for his much-appreciated help with figures and diagrams, and Gary Hasey for his imaginative cover design. We would also like to thank various friends and colleagues who have listened, supported, criticized, and inspired us through the ups and downs of manuscript preparation. of course, no book such as this would even be possible without the insights and sharing that numerous patients have offered, and it is in the spirit that these kinds of theoretical developments may help to shed light on new therapies that we offer this book. Finally, we thank our contributors for their extraordinary patience and preparedness to make frequent changes. To each and all we offer our heartfelt thanks.

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