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Concept of Depression Disorder Definition Essay

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Updated: Oct 16th, 2019

Most people feel depressed or sad from time to time. Being in such a state can be a natural reaction to loss, life’s problems, and similar issues. Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity which has the ability to affect one’s thoughts, general behavior, feelings and ultimately one’s physical well being.

Depressed individuals are likely to feel sad, anxious, restless, easily irritated, guilty, hopeless or sometimes even worthless. These individuals may lose interest in activities that were once attractive and interesting to them; they may over eat or lose appetite, over sleep or lack sleep, lose concentration and sometimes may contemplate about committing suicide.

Basically, the symptoms of depression reflect the deviation from the cultural norms (Tsai & Duntton 364). There are several approaches to the issue depression. Among them, the three most common types of approaches, these are: ethnographic, biomedical and epidemiological approaches. By 2020, it is estimated that depression will be the second prevalence disease after heart attacks (Tsai & Duntton 364).

Ethnographic approach to depression

The norms of socio-emotional functioning differ from one environment or culture to the other. Ethnographic approach assumes that if members of a particular culture experience the symptoms defined by another culture as causing depressive state, the outcomes of the symptoms thereof, are likely to differ across the subject cultures (Tsai & Duntton 365).

Thus ethnographic approach focuses entirely on the values, norms and structures that define the meaning of depressive signs in that particular cultural context. Most of the work done under ethnographic approach is purely based on interviews and keen observation of behavior of the depressed patient.

Biomedical approach to depression

On the contrary, in biomedical approach it is assumed that regardless of the cultural element, there exists a disorder in the form of familiar symptoms of depression as it compares if the associated elements thereof may indicate a similar relation across cultures from the other localities. Therefore, a lion’s share of biomedical approach focuses entirely on prevalence rates of depression and protective elements across various cultures and countries.

Epidemiological approach to depression

In stark contrast to the ethnographical and biomedical approach, epidemiological approach deals with systemic and comprehensive study of social conditions or problems, rates of disorders in a defined population and keenly scrutinizing the variation in these rates and their determinants (Klerman & Welsaman 807) in a bid to develop methods of interventions, policies or programs that are geared towards reducing the impact, extent or prevalence of depression cases.

By studying the distribution of depression cases, psychologists adopting the epidemiological approach, are able to examine the factors in the lives of the depressed people and therefore the underlying causes of depression.


Ethnographic approach seeks an in-depth understanding of a particular culture and uses it to examine the conceptions of that particular culture in relation to similar ones in other defined environments. In biomedical approach, the cultural factor has little or no influence on the causes of depressive disorders in the subject individuals.

Epidemiological approach focuses on statistical investigation of frequency of depression disorder and its variation in a given population at a particular time. These approaches to depression are unique in strengths and contribute to better understanding of culture and depression. By bringing together these approaches and comparing them, we can be able to benefit as the strengths and weaknesses of each is complimented by the other.

Works Cited

Klerman L. Gerald and Welsaman M. Myrna. The Changing Epidemiology of Depression. New York Press, 1988. Print.

Tsai L. Jean & Duntton Chenstova Yulia Handbook of Depression. The Guilford Press- New York London, 2009. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Concept of Depression Disorder." October 16, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/depression/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Concept of Depression Disorder'. 16 October.

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