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Depression is one of the major contributors to the Total Disease Burden and afflicts about one-sixth of Western populations. One of the most effective treatments for depression focuses upon analysis of causal chains in overt behaviour, but does not include brain-related phenomena as steps along these causal pathways. Recent research findings regarding the neurobiological concomitants of depressive behaviour suggest a sequence of structural and functional alterations to the brain which may also produce a beneficial outcome for the depressed individual--that of adaptive withdrawal from uncontrollable aversive stressors. Linking these brain-based explanations to models of observable contingencies for depressive behaviour can provide a comprehensive explanation of how depressive behaviour occurs and why it persists in many patients.
This document has been peer reviewed.