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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
Treatment of major depression varies greatly depending on the nature and severity of the illness, and the theoretical perspective the psychologist or doctor is working from. Psychiatrists practicing traditional psychoanalysis believe that depression results from unconscious anger towards the outside world, which is directed inward. Psychoanalysis is usually a lengthy process, and therapy is geared towards uncovering and working through these unconscious conflicts. Behavioral approaches are based on the idea that depressive behaviors like social withdrawal and negative thinking are learned. Behavioral therapy generally takes less time than psychoanalysis, and seeks to teach clients to unlearn these behaviors by modifying their lifestyles. Cognitive theorists attribute depression to distortions in perception, such as the belief that only bad things will happen, and treatment consists of attempting to change these distorted patterns of thinking. The biological perspective conceives depression as a physiological illness, and treatment usually involves some form of drug therapy. Anti-depressant medications, which affect the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, are often used to help alleviate major depression. Many modern doctors and psychologists use a variety of approaches rather than limiting treatment to a single theoretical perspective. For more information, consult a healthcare professional in your area.

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