Depression As A Category And A Dimension

As described in the introduction, a third key concern of a developmental approach has been a focus on the links between normality and pathology.

Depression can be conceptualized both as a dimension and as a category (see Chapter 1). Epidemiological studies suggest that juvenile depression is a continuum that is associated with problems at most levels of severity. Even minor forms of depression are associated with social impairment (Pickles et al., 2001). Indeed, it seems that there is no "good" level of depression; it is better for an adolescent to have no symptoms of depression at all than to be averagely depressed (Harrington & Clark, 1998). Thus, in the Oregon Adolescent Depression Project, the level of psychosocial impairment increased as a direct function of the number of depressive symptoms (Lewinsohn et al., 1998). Moreover, in line with studies of adults (Angst et al., 1997), much of the morbidity associated with depression occurred in the "milder" but more numerous cases of minor depression. Mild forms of adolescent depression are a risk factor for depression in early adulthood (Pine et al., 1999). The implication is that, from the public health perspective of lowering the total burden of morbidity associated with depression, it might be better to regard depression as a continuum.

In clinical practice, however, depression is viewed not only as a dimension but also as a category. This is partly because many clinical decisions are dichotomous. For example, if a patient has a depressive disorder, a course of treatment is initiated; if not, the patient is reassured that all is well. Clinicians do not generally prescribe a little bit of antidepressant for a little bit of depression. To clinicians, then, depression usually means a diagnosis, something that a patient either does or does not have.

Defeat Depression

Defeat Depression

Learning About How To Defeat Depression Can Have Amazing Benefits For Your Life And Success! Discover ways to cope with depression and melancholic tendencies! Depression and anxiety particularly have become so prevalent that it’s exceedingly common for individuals to be taking medication for one or even both of these mood disorders.

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