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Causes, Types and Treatments of Depression

This study will examine depression, including its causes, the various types of depression, and the processes and effectiveness of the alternative treatments of this condition.

From the psychoanalytic viewpoint, as we read in Fine, depression was first attributed by Freud to be caused by sexual frustration, intensified by lack of self-confidence. Abraham later complicated the diagnosis by stressing aspects of orality and hostility. Basically, whatever the specifics, psychoanalysis sees depression as a manifestation of the depressed person turning his anger or hostility against himself internally instead of outwardly against the known or unknown object of the anger (407).

Freud used depression or melancholia as a means of defining the superego: "In depression the superego punishes the ego either for forbidden wishes or for not living up to the ego-ideal set by the parents" (Jacobson 586).

Klein argued as well that depression was caused by the loss of the love of the parents in the second three months of the infant's life (117).

Other psychoanalytic approaches have linked depression to the lack of self-esteem, the loss of the love of the mother in later childhood, helplessness, the "giving up" syndrome, and detachment from the loss of a love object. The fact that "some depressives become psychotic, and others suicidal" is attributed to "quantitative and internal-economic factors" (Kubie 4).

Irwin notes that all of us are subject to the kinds of problems which can make us gloomy, but not all of us are prone to the kinds of responses to these problems which bring about what can be considered serious depression. Irwin writes that "Frustrations, disappointments, a personal loss of any kind, can understandably make us gloomy. We vary in our ability to bounce back. But certain individuals may be more prone, more vulnerable, than others to temporary or chronic depression. It can happen any time from the cradle to the ...

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