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The Ethical Treatment of DepressionAutonomy through Psychotherapy$
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Paul Biegler

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015493

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015493.001.0001

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Understanding Negative Biases Promotes Autonomy in Depression

Understanding Negative Biases Promotes Autonomy in Depression

(p.96) (p.97) 5 Understanding Negative Biases Promotes Autonomy in Depression
The Ethical Treatment of Depression

Paul Biegler

The MIT Press

This chapter focuses on how the impairment of autonomy in depressed patients can be addressed by two validated treatments, namely, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and antidepressant medication (ADM). Both treatments deal with negative information-processing biases but in different ways. CBT counters negative biases by requiring the individual to understand the action of negative biases; ADM, on the other hand, requires no such comprehension. Negative affect, even when occurring in depression, retains utility in that it helps mark events of material significance. A person treated with CBT can better identify significant events and more accurately assess them through a residual appraisal function left by depression. Although ADM limits the amplitude of negative affective swings, CBT promotes the autonomy of the depressed person to a greater extent than does treatment with ADM alone.

Keywords:   impairment of autonomy, validated treatments, CBT, ADM, negative information-processing biases, negative affect, residual appraisal function

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