Beyond the Brain Conference

Beyond the Brain Conference

Academic Conference at the University of Edinburgh on Reconceptualizing Mental Disorders

Abstracts: Carolina Trujillo

Conceptualizing ‘Depression’ from an Applied Behavior Analysis Standpoint


What do academics refer to when they talk about ‘depression’? According to World Health Organization (2012) 350 million people suffer from depression, being the forecast for 2020 less hopeful: depression will be the second biggest cause of disability and time off work after cardiovascular diseases (Murray y López, 1997). However, as if this was not enough, there is no consensus on the variables that lead to a depressive mood and scientists are still outlining this broad concept. Depression is frequently defined by its symptoms, just like the DSM does. This view does not tackle the controversy of its causes and more often than not the concept of depression is used to explain itself: if certain person does not go out from bed one can say he/she has depression, but at the same time it is said that he/she does not go out from bed because he/she has depression. In this short talk this logic error will be discussed as well as the utility of these diagnostic manuals for the clinical practice and intervention. In this vein, a definition of depression from an Applied Behavior Analysis perspective will be proposed.


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