Depression is a complex illness which can arise from a variety of causes. Symptoms can also be quite diverse and individuals can deal with them differently depending on their past experiences and their personality. As such, different types of treatment may be effective for different people. .
Depression is a mood disorder which is characterized by feelings of worthlessness and guilt, great sadness, withdrawal from others, and loss of appetite, sexual desire and interest in normal activities. To be diagnosed with depression, an individual has to experience five symptoms from a list of nine, lasting at least two weeks. Depression is a very common disorder. It has been estimated that between 5.2 and 17.1 percent of people experience a depressive episode at some point in their life, with 80 percent of those with depression experiencing another episode at some point. Prevalence of depression has also been found to vary across cultures, being most prominent in Beirut, Lebanon (affecting 19% of the population), and least common in Taiwan (1.5%). .
As different psychologists follow different paradigms, they will view the causes and treatments of depression differently. In any case, most will recommend treatments involving either biological therapies, especially medication, or psychological counseling techniques.
Psychological treatments tend to be recommended by psychologists based in psychoanalytic, cognitive and learning paradigms. .
Psychoanalysts look at behavior as being based on our past experiences and unresolved conflicts. The problems and personality we have as adults are all rooted in our childhood experiences. In the case of depression, psychoanalysts hypothesize that the problem originated from a repressed sense of loss from childhood, and anger unconsciously turned inward. Therefore, psychoanalytic treatments attempt to give the patient insight into the repressed conflict and to uncover and resolve their unconscious motivations that are leading to feelings of worthlessness and depression.