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Free Content A Social Theory and Treatment of Depression

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This article outlines a theory of depression and the rudiments of a treatment plan. It builds upon my earlier study of interviews in a mental hospital and the work of the psychologist Helen Block Lewis. Theory: Recursive shame-based spirals may be the basic mechanism of both clinical depression and extreme violence. Shame–fear, shame–shame, and shame–anger spirals are described. Hypotheses: depression may result from a shame–shame spiral or when the anger in shame–anger spirals is directed in, recursively, without limit. Similarly, violence can result if the anger in the shame–anger spiral is directed out. These ideas lead to a proposal for treatment of depression focused on social bonds and hidden emotions. In this connection, possible effects of antidepressants on emotion are also discussed.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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