Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Double Trouble: Hopelessness Key Component Of Mood Disorder

Date:
July 26, 2007
Source:
Florida State University
Summary:
There's depression, and then there's double depression. Double depression occurs when an individual who suffers from dysthymia, a persistent case of mild depression marked by low energy, falls into a major depressive state. It is not a new concept, but psychologists know little about the characteristics that distinguish double depression from dysthymia or major depression alone.

There's depression, and then there's double depression. Sound bad?

It is, according to Thomas Joiner, Florida State University Distinguished Research Professor and the Bright-Burton Professor of Psychology, who has identified hopelessness as a distinguishing feature of double depression in a new paper published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. The finding could help therapists diagnose and treat the mood disorder.

Double depression occurs when an individual who suffers from dysthymia, a persistent case of mild depression marked by low energy, falls into a major depressive state. It is not a new concept, but psychologists know little about the characteristics that distinguish double depression from dysthymia or major depression alone, according to Joiner.

"It's clinically important because it is under-recognized and harder to treat than either dysthymia or major depression by themselves," Joiner said. "The hopelessness result is significant, and it suggests that therapists should especially focus on this feature early and often in the treatment of double-depressed patients."

Joiner, along with FSU doctoral student Kathryn Gordon, Joan Cook from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia and Michel Herson from Pacific University in Oregon, studied the psychological assessments of 54 adults who entered a community-based psychiatric outpatient facility for non-psychotic adults ages 55 and older. Questionnaires were given to patients before starting treatment to measure depression, hopelessness, anxiety and their sense of control over their own lives.

They found that double-depressed patients had high levels of hopelessness, whereas patients with either major depression or dysthymia alone showed more moderate levels of hopelessness.

"A patient who is hopeless has really just given up," Joiner said. "They feel that the world is against them, the future is bleak and they are incapable of fighting back."

This entrenched sense of hopelessness is one likely reason why double depression is so hard to treat, according to Joiner. The chronic nature of the underlying dysthymia is another.

"Any chronic condition is harder to treat than a less chronic one, and that is true for medical and psychiatric conditions alike," he said. "Second, people with dysthymia come to view depression as just part of who they are, and so they don't come in to treatment as often, even when they dip down into a major depression. When they do come in, issues of motivation to do the treatment are common."

In addition to differences in the level of hopelessness, the researchers found that people with dysthymia alone and those with double depression felt little control over their own lives. People with these conditions felt that external forces -- other people or fate -- determined their future. Those suffering from major depression alone did not have this characteristic.

Joiner cautioned that the study's findings must be interpreted in light of the study's limitations, namely its small sample size. Still, the results could have important implications for treatment of double depression. Cognitive therapy, which focuses on changing negative thinking patterns, and antidepressant drugs are particularly helpful in treating symptoms of hopelessness and perceptions of a lack of control over one's own life, he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Florida State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Florida State University. "Double Trouble: Hopelessness Key Component Of Mood Disorder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723160142.htm>.
Florida State University. (2007, July 26). Double Trouble: Hopelessness Key Component Of Mood Disorder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723160142.htm
Florida State University. "Double Trouble: Hopelessness Key Component Of Mood Disorder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723160142.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins