The first disorder we will focus on is depression. This topic is important because so many people experience depression at some time in their lives and we all know people who experience depression chronically or at certain points in their life.

Why is it so important to study the biological factors and causes of depression and other disorders?

  • Improving ability to reliably and accurately diagnose them.
  • Being able to diagnose people earlier to reduce permanent damage or changes to the brain and body, and to reduce damage to the personal lives, careers, etc that occur during episodes.
  • Reducing negative stigma against people with disorders.
  • Creating new and improved treatments.
  • Identifying a treatment that works more quickly.

Go ahead and read the section in module 14.2 (15.1 in the 11th edition) called “Major Depressive Disorder”, read all its subsections. While you read I recommend taking notes on the symptoms and all the different biological factors that might be related to causes of the disorder. Note the variability in symptoms and possible causes. There are so many studies related to depression and whether there are any differences in brain activity patterns or brain structure that aren’t mentioned in the textbook. It is important to realize that depression definitely has multiple causes and combinations of causes.


Next let’s focus on a very related topic: treatments and how they affect patients biologically. The truth is that actually a lot of what we know about the biological basis of depression and other disorders is by figuring out how treatments (that were accidentally discovered) work.

Read about the treatments for depression and how they work biologically. Post about the patterns you notice in looking at those treatments.

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