As each science pursues each study from a certain point of view, it quickly became clear that in order to understand man and his environment as part of interacting systems, it had to study this interaction from multiple perspectives, holistically. Examining holistically an illness, such as depression, provides us the right tools to unravel all the aspects that have caused and sustained the illness along with ways to treat it. According to Friedrich Hegel ´´the whole is more than the sum of the parts. The whole defines the nature of the parts. The parts are dynamically interrelated or interdependent´´.
Examining and treating depression from a holistic point of view would mean that we take into consideration all aspects of the illness, such as the biological, the psychological and the social factor. Biologically, depression runs in families, suggesting that biological vulnerability can be inherited. In some families, major depression also seems to occur from generation to generation, revealing that genes and biochemical processes are responsible for the occurrence of this illness. A study by Sullivan et al., found that monozygotic co-twins of a twin with unipolar major depression are about twice as likely to develop major depression as are dizygotic co-twins. This study suggests that about 31 to 42 percent of the variance in liability to major depression was due to genetic influences. In addition, major depressive disorder is often associated with changes in brain structures or brain functions. Psycho socially, depressed people have negative views of themselves and the world around them. Neuroticism is the primary personality variable that serves as factor for depression. People who have high levels of this trait are prone to experiencing broad range of negative moods, such as sadness, anxiety, guilt, and hostility. In addition, high levels of introversion may also serve as a factor for depression. People with low levels of this trait tend to feel unenthusiastic, unenergetic, dull, flat, and bored. Socially, people develop depression due to stressful life events, such as the loss of a loved one; serious threats to important close relationships or to one´s occupation; or severe economic or serious health problems. For example, taking care of a sick person (spouse, parents, etc) suffering from a severe illness, such as Alzheimer´s, is known to be associated with the onset of both major depression and generalized anxiety disorder for the caregiver.
Dealing with depression from reductionist point of view, will lead to unresolved treatment. Data from a national survey reveal that depressive people who accept only pharmacological treatments have only a 21% to 30% chance of achieving a remission. The 55% to 86% possibility of remission after receiving electroconvulsive therapy alongside medication is tempered by the fact that there is a significant 40% chance of relapse within 6 mounts even with this treatment approach.
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