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Psychopathology – Depression

2. Biological Models and Treatments

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In this module, we think about different biological models of depression and available drug treatments. We begin by discussing the biological factors that are thought to contribute to depression, including (i) monoamine levels in the brain, (ii) genetics, (iii) physical illness and (iv) hippocampal atrophy. We then move on to think about the different drugs used to treat depression, focussing in particular on (i) monoamine oxidase inhibitors, (ii) tricyclic antidepressants and (iii) selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Finally, we consider electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as an alternative biological treatment for depression.


In this course, Professor Linda Gask (University of Manchester) discusses the topic of depression. We begin by thinking about what depression is and how it can be diagnosed in module one. We then look at a number of different models of depression, including biological, psychological and social models, in the following modules. Module two focuses on different biological explanations for depression and considers available drug treatments. In module three, we think about Freud’s psychodynamic model of depression before moving on, in module four, to two cognitive models and their corresponding treatments: Ellis’s ABC Model and Rational Emotive Therapy and Beck’s Cognitive Triad and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The fifth module introduces Seligman’s Learned Helplessness theory as a further psychological explanation for depression. The sixth module concludes the course with a discussion of the social factors that may play a role in depression and underlines the importance of considering biological, psychological and social factors in conjunction.


Professor Linda Gask trained in medicine at the University of Edinburgh and in psychiatry in the North West of England. She was a 2000-2001 Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy based at the Center for Health Studies in Seattle. She has also worked as a consultant for the World Health Organisation and has been a zonal representative for the World Psychiatric Association.

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APA style

Gask, L. (2019, September 30). Psychopathology – Depression - Biological Models and Treatments [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Gask, Linda. "Psychopathology – Depression – Biological Models and Treatments." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 30 Sep 2019,

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