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The Concept of Mental Depression



Introduction

The concept of mental depression has become important in academic, corporate and family lives. With increasing job tasks and pressures, constant domestic chores and academic work for students, mental depression has become inevitable in modern days. Indeed, mental depression has been a great source of disability among adults due to its recurrent and chronic nature. Although various agencies have made attempts to control the ever-increasing phenomenon, the progress is still low and women continue suffering the most. Statistics by the World Health Organization indicate that depression will be the greatest cause of disability among adults by 2020 in developed countries (World Health Organization, 2001).

The organization also reports that the global burden of depression on health is second to heart complications. Thus, necessary measures are required to ensure that such a condition and its associated costs are contained. In the current analysis, the focus will be placed on examining various ways in which mental depression can be controlled. Specifically, the responsibilities of a critical thinker in the control of mental depression will be assessed. To examine such measures, the causes of mental depression will be reviewed in order to appreciate the steps that a critical thinker can use to control depression.

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General Overview of Mental Depression

Mental depression can be defined as the process in which an individual’s mood state is characterized by losses of interest in activities that previously seemed enjoyable. A depressed mood is a normal and common experience among the population and, thus, an individual must always appreciate such changes as part of their normal life. However, the distinction should be drawn between normal and acute forms of depression. Acute depression may manifest itself in the form of sleep disturbance, sustained restlessness and lack of concentration.

Thus, the terms duration, severity, persistence, and characteristic symptoms should be used to distinguish between normal and chronic depression. Chronic mental depression is disastrous to an individual and may manifest itself on the affected person through reduced self-esteem, lack of energy and loss of attention and feelings of worthlessness. Persons experiencing such forms of mental depression are described as “stressed out.”

However, the level of mental depression varies among various individuals and, thus, we shall review them along a spectrum for the current analysis. Consequently, both the mild and chronic forms of mental depression shall be reviewed in regard to the current analysis.

Causes of Mental Depression

Although psychological and medical researchers have not found a concrete reason for the causes of mental depression, two points of view are raised by scholars. From one perspective, the authors point at biological factors as the major cause, while other psychological factors are advanced as the major causes of mental factors. The biological proponents argue that mental depression is caused by neurochemical dysfunction of the brain.

Similarly, psychological proponents argue that the dysfunctions of the cognitive process are the major causes of mental depression. However, both proponents fail to account for the factors that cause and maintain depression in its acute forms. Given the uncertainties of both scholarly views, other medical and psychological practitioners have attributed mental depression to a set of other related factors.

Firstly, depression is linked to an individual’s situation in regard to the immediate environment. For example, difficult life situations lead to stressful feelings that are often devastating. Attempts by the person to deal with the circumstance prove unsatisfactorily leaving the individual hopeless and overwhelmed. Such situations can occur in various domains of the personal life that include work life, home or school. For example, an employee may experience sustained stress levels resulting from poor relations with the peers and the employer. When the issues relating to the stressful condition are not resolved on time, the individual experiences continuous stress, which translates to chronic forms of depression.

In addition, a person’s thinking patterns have a great influence on their response to events that are a source of mental depression. Given the fact that each one of us faces different sets of events, the interpretations that we make regarding such events have a great effect on our depression levels. For example, we may be swayed to judge situations in a pessimistic manner, as well as judge ourselves in unfair and harsh ways that enhance our likelihood of experiencing negative outcomes. Other causes of mental depression are the psychological patterns accompanied by neurochemical dysfunctions and physical symptoms.

As a result, depressed individuals face psychological problems, such as lack of sleep, loss of appetite and lowered energy levels. The other major cause of mental depression is the emotional reactions that people offer to cope with a situation. As the depression develops, the individual’s feeling of unhappiness causes feelings of hopelessness, misery, pervasive mood and sense of despair. Emotional reactions, such as aggressiveness and emotional numbness, worsen the situation and chronic mental depression develops. Depressed persons interpret the condition in an unrealistic and unfair manner, thus, experiencing chronic forms of mental distraction.

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Literature Analysis of the Role of a Critical Thinker in a Control of Mental Depression

Various meanings of critical thinking are put forward by different scholars. According to Paul and Elder (2008), critical thinking is the application of collective intellectual values of clarity, precision, accuracy, relevance, breadth depth and fairness in response to a situation (Paul, 1990). Once mastered within an individual mental setup, they become part of the person’s self-monitor, self-corrective, and self-directed thinking. Other scholars, such as Kitchener and Jorm (2004), observe that critical thinking is a systematic and active strategy that individuals use to examine information, seek solutions to problems and postulate viable decisions.

Klaczynski, Gordon, and Fauth (1997) oppose both propositions by arguing that critical thinking goes beyond the simple process of solving problems and includes the information that people must possess to challenge their individual beliefs and values, which are the sources of mental depression. Indeed, the definition of critical thinking among scholars differs and, thus, its application varies under different contexts. In view of the related discussions on the real meaning of critical thinking, I find the authors' arguments contradictory. In my view, critical thinking differs under various circumstances. For example, a critical thinking process adopted in the treatment of a mentally depressed person differs from similar processes connected to the other forms of depressions. Thus, all the scholars’ points of view are relevant in regard to such a proposition.

When discussing treatments of persons with mental depression, professionals can apply critical thinking skills to understand their client’s problems, thinking, as well as their perception that caused mental depression. Indeed, critical thinking is an essential element in the treatment of mental depression due to the fact that some of the symptoms cannot be diagnosed in normal health or the clinical setup. In addition, the symptoms are unforeseeable and are only experienced by the individual in a depressed mode.

Critical thinking can be examined from two perspectives by the professional. First, the thinking skills by themselves, as well as the cognitive skills are applied in the reasoning process for offering critics and enhancing the skills. To understand the client better, professionals must possess a strong knowledge of mental health literacy to draw inferences. In addition, the professionals must be aware of their cultural values, power struggles, and social biases and relate them to the client’s attitudes, values, and biases (Hays, 2008).

In this regard, the professional must evaluate how his values and biases may affect the outcomes of the treatment. A preliminary analysis of each situation is the first step in the thinking process for the treatment of the client’s mental depression problems. The analysis also helps the professional anticipate the potential counter-arguments that may emerge during the process and, thus, the procedures that he can use to deal with each circumstance.

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After an analysis of the overall situational aspects of the professionals and the clients, the next step is to apply the critical skills in the diagnosis, treatment, and anticipated outcomes. The process of evaluating and using the client’s information in the treatment of mental depression lies in the information processing ability of the professional and within the social and medical models of client care (Robinson, Biley & Dolk, 2007). On the social model perspective, the objective is to encourage a collaborative decision-making process between the professional and the client. At the beginning of the process, the professional explains to the client all the options available for the treatment of the condition and recommends the most viable ones. On the other hand, the client is offered two options regarding the selection process.

Firstly, the client is allowed to reject the professional’s recommendations and select a different strategy but with limited decisions-making. Secondly, the client is allowed to critically evaluate all the options advanced by the professional and adopt the option that best maximizes his opinions and values. Conversely, the professionals must seek to assess whether their clients possess the necessary level of critical thinking in making a selection among the alternatives provided. According to Becker et al (2007), clients with advanced critical thinking skills are able to select treatments that match their cognitive behavior better. Consequently, they experience favorable outcomes from the process as compared to those with limited thinking skills ability.

I agree with most of the arguments put forward by Hays (2008) and Becker et al in regard to the procedures that a critical thinker should adopt in order to facilitate favorable outcomes out of a process involved in the treatment of people with mental depression. Actually, the success of the process depends on understanding the cultural values, thoughts, and attitudes of the client in order to examine the most viable method of assessing a victim state of mental depression.

Additionally, it allows the professional to examine his own values compared to the client's values and find the areas of conflict that may affect the process. The process also enables the professional to understand the problem deeply in order to understand the counter mechanisms to adopt in the treatment. However, I find the authors' arguments unsatisfactory, since they tend to ignore the role of a research-based process. In fact, a critical thinking process should be a supplement to a research-based process due to the fact that it is supported by evidence rather than thought.

When the professional and the client demonstrate excellent critical thinking skills their ability to select the most viable treatment options improves. In most cases, clients begin mental depression treatment expecting the most favorable outcomes. Similarly, the professional must endeavor to ensure that the selected model maximizes the client’s wishes. Essentially, connecting critical thinking skills with the selection of mental depression treatment process may uncover diverse information on how the clients make choices on the treatments or whether there are other variables that affect their selection.

Role of Academic Knowledge on Social Institutions of Local and Global Communities

Academic knowledge has a role in shaping our perceptions toward social elements that are sources of mental depression (Weist, Rubin, Moore, Adelsheim & Wrobel, 2007). For example, the individual is equipped with higher critical thinking skill that translates to better responses to social issues. In addition, it shapes local and global communities in that it enhances harmony and understanding that supersedes individual society values, norms, and practices. Within the academic circles, the principles of active citizenship impact the individual’s perceptions and responses to social issues. Thus, active citizenship is likely to reduce incidences of mental depression in the next decade significantly.

Besides, academic knowledge is known for its role in encouraging positive thinking among the learners. For example, some courses are highly accredited for promoting critical thinking skills that enable the learners to cope well with social issues. Indeed, research has shown that learned individuals are at a lower risk of experiencing mental depression compared to their counterparts at the lower spectrum of academic knowledge (Procter, 2005). In addition, education allows interactions among scholars from diverse parts of the world. It results in multicultural and interracial thinking that supersedes one of the local communities. As a result, the culture of a positive mindset is encouraged, which reduces instances of mental depression.

Moreover, the virtues of active citizenship encourage positive behaviors that enable individuals to overcome instances of mental depression. For example, active citizenship through participation in communal activities enables the citizens to pursue agendas that foster national cohesiveness, unity, and cooperation. It helps eradicate instances of mental depression stemming from external sources. However, care should be taken to ensure that active citizenship reflects the individual’s value systems and beliefs, as well as challenging unfavorably beliefs.

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Principles of Critical Thinking in Relation to Mental Depression

There are various principles of critical thinking in relation to the treatment of mental depression. The first principle is always adopting an independent thought (Procter, 2005). Many of our thoughts are acquired at a tender age and, therefore, when we develop the tendency to center our reasoning alongside with such thoughts, we develop opinions that may lead to mental depression. In such a way, the positive outcome is based on our ability to exercise judgment of situations irrespective of our past. In developing new thoughts, critical thinkers avoid relying on the beliefs of other people. Instead, they attempt to understand the things by themselves, recognize the assertions of positive scholars and reject contradictory arguments.

In addition, critical thinkers try to examine a wide range of relevant knowledge to determine the most useful among the given alternatives. Critical thinkers examine their own mistakes and make relevant adjustments when possible. The power to think critically supersedes individual thoughts and feelings towards certain phenomena. Critical thinkers are able to recognize the fact that their feelings affect their responses. In addition, they understand that their thoughts would change if they adopt a different way of interpreting a certain circumstance. Thus, their ability to respond to stressful conditions that cause mental depression is higher.

Another principle of critical thinking is to develop confidence for every reason. A critical thinker is able to recognize the reason for every circumstance he/she may face. Rather than attributing the problem for a cause, a critical thinker examines solutions to the problems that he/she faces. Virtually, he/she develops faith in every circumstance and considers his/her interests over that of mankind. Relating it to contemporary issues in mental depression, the critical thinker is able to view his/her circumstance deeper and appreciate life rather than blame others. As a result, positive feelings develop, which corresponds to a better and positive response to situations that cause mental depression. The ability to question critically in pursuit of a solution to a given problem is one of the major traits of critical thinkers.

Perhaps, it translates to a better understanding of the problem and development of possible insights to solving it. Critical thinkers tend to ask both specific insight and general questions in understanding a problem. For example, a professional in mental depression treatment is able to critically seek clarifications of certain issues from the client in order to advise accordingly in regard to the problem he/she is facing. As a result, he/she is able to explore solutions specific to a certain problem.

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Importance of Ethics, Moral Reasoning in Combating Mental Depression

Principles of moral reasoning and ethics are important in the treatment of mental depression for various reasons. Firstly, it enables the client to approve a process involved in offering mental health care (Kitchener & Jorm, 2004). For example, when the practitioner is viewed as of good moral conduct, the client is able to approve such a process, since he/she attributes the practitioner with a higher skill level and experience in combating the depression. Similarly, a culture of trust is developed between the practitioner and the client, thus, enabling the client to share ideas and develop a suitable way of dealing with the process.

In addition, ethical or moral reasoning prevents the practitioner from a lawsuit resulting from the abuse of confidentiality. Indeed, offering services of advisory nature in mental depression issues requires a person of a high moral character who cannot easily disclose his/her client’s information to others. As a result, it eradicates any instances of lawsuits resulting from loss of confidentiality of the information supplied to the practitioner.

In relation to victims of mental depression, principles of moral reasoning are the basic element for overcoming negative thoughts that result in mental disturbance. In essence, mental depression is caused by internalized thinking styles which cause an increase in stress levels. The ability of an individual to overcome the negative thoughts that arise under different circumstances determines his/her ability to deal with the personal stressors and the likelihood of mental depression. Moral reasoning ranges from avoiding personal stressors to taking a positive look at issues that lead to stress and mental depression. As a consequence, an individual is able to respond favorably to the situation and, consequently, overcome any incidences of mental depression.

Importance of a Research-Based Process

The adoption of the research-based process in the treatment of mental depression is a critical factor that enhances the outcomes of such process. Evidence-based mental treatment procedures are important in providing a framework for understanding the type of disorders and the kind of decisions to adopt to make the process successful (Becker, Darius & Schaumberg, 2007). In addition, research-based evidence is guided by scientific verifications and evidence for various options available for the treatment of mental depression disorders. Moreover, mental depression services should be provided with adherence to a research-based methodology.

Effective implementation of such procedures requires adequate training in therapeutic procedures in mental health. Non-skilled psychologists may not only lack the skills for proper treatment of mental depression but also lack the necessary evidence to defend themselves in court in case of a lawsuit. Consequently, research-based procedures are associated with more functional status and improved quality of life. Over many years, research-based practices in the treatment of mental depression have been recommended as a suitable measure to reduce unnecessary procedures and save resources and costs that would otherwise be incurred.

Blog

In the current blog, the author examines how human minds interpret and segregate evidence that sustains their basic need for survival. In such a way, one is tempted to think “I am OK” when the real state of the mind is disturbed (Calkins & Kelley, 2007). A variety of responses that aim at ignoring the bad, while articulating the good reduces our anxiety and increases our hope for a better outcome. As a result, the self-justification develops and mental schema is swayed to perceive information that maintains our status quo in what we believe is right and wrong. However, the author argues that our thinking is a result of our own experiences, perception, and judgments, which distort our self-esteem and affect our mental state. Indeed, the blog is useful in regard to the assertions of various scholars on the main factors that increase the chances of mental depression. Thus, the blog is both insightful and educational.

Example of a Research Paper Conclusion

To summarize, the research paper has discussed issues of critical thinking in regard to mental depression. In relation to the analysis, a critical thinking process in solving mental depression seeks to understand the value systems of the victim. Generally, the major causes of mental depression include emotional and psychological mindset, as well as our belief systems. In a critical thinking process, the professional seeks to understand the client’s problems with regard to the value systems. Thus, the professional must first understand the client’s value system and align it to his/her own in order to identify the areas of conflict.

In addition, the analysis has appreciated the value of a research-based process in the treatment of mental depression cases. Indeed, a critical thinking process supplements the research-based one. A critical thinker should think and act morally in order to align his/her interests with those of the client. It also creates trust and reduces the chances of a lawsuit resulting from the disclosure of the client’s confidential information.

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