Most people now accept that human beings are the product of millions of years of mammalian evolution and, more recently, primate evolution. This landmark book explores the implications of our evolutionary history for theories and therapies of depression. In particular, the focus is on how social conflict has shaped various behavioral and psychophysiological systems. Special attention is given to the evolved mechanisms for dealing with social defeat and subordination in both animals and humans. By linking human depression to the activation of ancient psychobiological programs for dealing with social conflict, one is able to understand the function of depression within groups, family systems, and between individuals and begin to distinguish depressions that may have adaptive functions from those that are the result of maladaptive feedback systems.
Although many acknowledge the need for an integrated,
biopsychosocial theory of psychopathology, there continue to be
great divisions among social, psychological, and biological
approaches. Sloman and Gilbert have brought together leading
scientists and clinicians representing different disciplines and
schools to present a provocative new evolutionary model of
depression. This model illuminates old problems in new ways, links
a common disabling condition to evolved mental mechanisms, and
points to potential new approaches to prevention and intervention.
The book will be of compelling interest to all those who study or
treat mood disorders.