Uncovering the Interaction of Chemistry and Behavior in Depression: The Dimensional Versus Diagnostic Approaches in Structuring Research

  • Martin M. KatzEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Psychology book series (BRIEFSPSYCHOL)


Despite decades of research on neural mechanisms underlying efficacy of the ADs, there is only partial understanding of how they work. The prime reason appears to be that research on mechanisms is constrained by viewing depression as a unitary diagnostic disorder, rather than as a multifaceted one, comprised of neurobehavioral components that interact to create the basic conflicts. Thus, the search has been for “biological markers,” i.e., specific biological indices, of the depressive disorder. The “diagnosis” has in turn, substituted for delineation of its behavioral elements. The basic elements in the neurochemical and behavioral spheres of functioning and their relationships must be uncovered and measured before advancing to the use of such complex concepts as unitary mental disorders. The chapter summarizes the progress in linking central neurotransmitter systems, the serotonergic and noradrenergic, with the regulation of different behaviors and emotions. Such knowledge is essential for understanding depression and for the development of new, more effective drugs. Although neurochemical technology has advanced greatly, the development of behavioral methodology has lagged. Recent research has, however, identified the critical dimensions of behavior that comprise the disorder. The state of depression can now be re-examined and the nature of the interaction between the biological and behavioral spheres be more clearly articulated.


Diagnosis Dimensions Behavioral components Trial models Neurobehavioral components Serotonin 

References and Notes

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center at San Antonio, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Texas Health ScienceBethesdamUSA

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