Treatment for Depression Understood


As far as the IB is concerned, there are 4 main types of treatment for disorders: Biomedical, Individual, Group & Eclectic.

By far, the most popular treatment practiced today is the Eclectic Approach to treatment which is a combination of 2 or more of the above.

However there is growing research supporting alternative treatment forms such as sleep therapy, acupuncture, yoga, and exercise.  These treatments are the focus of much recent research:

You should be familiar with research supporting all the above approaches.  The learning activity below will aide you in this acquisition of knowledge:

Treatment Activity

Check out the AWESOME treatment project that 2 students did!

Biological Evidence of PTSD

Interesting article below elucidating recent studies on specific opiate receptors in brain that are active/inactive in patients with PTSD and the hope that greater understanding of brain regions involved in PTSD could lead to a more specific treatment. The lead doctor writes:

“Our study points toward a more personalized treatment approach for people with a specific symptom profile that’s been linked to a particular neurobiological abnormality,” explained the study’s lead author, Dr. Alexander Neumeister, co-director of NYU Langone Medical Center’s Steven and Alexandra Cohen Veterans Center for the Study of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, in an NYU news release. “Understanding more about where and how symptoms of PTSD manifest in the brain is a critical part of research efforts to develop more effective medications and treatment modalities.”

Unpacking the 2015 TOK Essay Titles

The 2015 Titles are Here and Copied Below!!  But before you get writing, you gotta get unpacking!  Use the document linked below, above the titles, to work to unpack one of the questions below! I will assign you to a question!

Unpacking the 2015 Titles


  1. There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.


  1. “There are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge: through passive observation or through active experiment.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?


  1. “There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?


  1. With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge.


  1. “Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?


  1. “The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?


 If you’re writing on title #4, you MUST read the attachment below PRIOR to writing and formulating a “plan of attack” !!!

Shared v personal knowledge


Below is further information elucidating the titles above!



Kantian Ethics vs. Utilitarianism

As an introduction to ETHICS, move through this incredibly excellent introduction to ethics, ethical hypocrisy, kantian ethics and utilitarianism:

One of the heaviest hitters in the philosophical world of ethics is German Philosopher Emanuel Kant.

Kant wrote at length on a variety of topics and is considered one of the great German Philosophers along with Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Schopenhauer.

Below is a link to a great summary of Kant’s famous, “Categorical Imperative” and his Deontological Moral Theory.

This is in contrast to UTILITARIANISM which is a philosophical perspective that places an emphasis on choosing behaviors and actions that have the most advantageous ratio of utility (value) to risk/disadvantage. John Stuart Mill was one of the most famous philosophical proponents of utilitarianism. Below is some information:

So…after you’ve read the above and contemplated each philosophy’s ramifications, answer the following questions: 

1.  Which moral approach do you follow, Utilitarianism or Kantian Morality?

2.  Which moral approach do you believe is BEST for society? Why?

3.  Is it possible for a society to adopt Kant’s moral beliefs?

4.  Which approach causes the practitioner to be in touch with more ways of knowing? Which ways of knowing does each approach rely on?

Rethinking Depression

Watch the incredibly informative and insightful ted talk linked below and then complete the case study!  We’ll discuss the ideas contained within such as:

  • Mind as different from brain
  • Depression as a holistic disorder, not brain based
  • Ineffectiveness of SSRI based treatments
  • “Eclectic Approaches” to treatment

After watching the above video, complete the case study assignment linked below:

Depression Case study TREATMENT

Next, read the article, “A new Focus on Depression”

And consider the following:

  1. Summarize Dr. Richard Friedman’s attitudes towards chemical treatments for anti-depression.
  2. Cite 2 arguments he makes why anti-depressant medication is not very effective
  3. What could be the way forward in regard to treating depression if not chemicals? Cite a piece of evidence Dr. Friedman uses as support.

The Anti Depressant Generation

Read this piece in the NYtimes on the prevalence of prescribed anti depressants and be ready to discuss!

Consider the following questions/statements:

  • What are the difficulties of treating depression amongst the “emerging adult” age group, 18-28?
  • Why are anti depressants so readily prescribed?
  • What neurotransmitter do many current antidepressants focus on and how do they work?
  • What institutional “pushes” exist towards a chemical treatment as opposed a therapeutic one?



Read this follow up article discussing the limitations of anti depressant medication as a treatment:

Introduction to Ethics

Would you walk away from OMELAS or stay???

We’ve already discussed various questions that the Human Sciences concern themselves with. We discussed that many of these questions are “Normative” in nature…meaning they concern themselves with what humans OUGHT to do.

Dilemmas of behavior that people face are referred to as MORAL DILEMMAS or ETHICAL DILEMMAS.

Read the following Short Story, Honors Track, on Cheating in High School written by one of America’s up and coming short story writers, Molly Paterson.

Honors Track Short Story

Additionally, consider the following:

Mad Bomber

A madman who has threatened to explode several bombs in crowded areas has been apprehended. Unfortunately, he has already planted the bombs and they are scheduled to go off in a short time. It is possible that hundreds of people may die. The authorities cannot make him divulge the location of the bombs by conventional methods. He refuses to say anything and requests a lawyer to protect his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. In exasperation, some high level official suggests torture. This would be illegal, of course, but the official thinks that it is nevertheless the right thing to do in this desperate situation. Do you agree? If you do, would it also be morally justifiable to torture the mad bomber’s innocent wife if that is the only way to make him talk? Why?

Subway Problem

A trolley is running out of control down a track. In its path are five people who have been tied to the track by a mad philosopher. Fortunately, you could flip a switch, which will lead the trolley down a different track to safety. Unfortunately, there is a single person tied to that track. Should you flip the switch or do nothing?

Fat Man/Pregnant Woman Problem

A fat man leading a group of people out of a cave on a coast is stuck in the mouth of that cave. In a short time high tide will be upon them, and unless he is unstuck, they will all be drowned except the fat man, whose head is out of the cave. [But, fortunately, or unfortunately, someone has with him a stick of dynamite.] There seems no way to get the fat man loose without using [that] dynamite which will inevitably kill him; but if they do not use it everyone will drown. What should they do?

Dostoyevsky, who has in these pages come in for comment in relation to Existentialism and atheism, imagines a classic right vs. good dilemma:

“Tell me yourself — I challenge you: let’s assume that you were called upon to build the edifice of human destiny so that men would finally be happy and would find peace and tranquility. If you knew that, in order to attain this, you would have to torture just one single creature, let’s say the little girl who beat her chest so desperately in the outhouse, and that on her unavenged tears you could build that edifice, would you agree to do it? Tell me and don’t lie!”

This idea is carried out to awesome effect in, “those who walk away from omelas.”  Read it below: 

ones who walk away from omelas