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The Destructiveness of Perfectionism Implications for the Treatment of Depression

“The Destructiveness of Perfectionism Implications for the Treatment of Depression” The article “The Destructiveness of Perfectionism: Implications for the Treatment of Depression,” used research findings along with anecdotal evidence to support their idea of a connection between individuals’ problems with perfectionism and the development of depression. Certain investigations and research provide evidence that perfectionism has a role in adaptive and maladaptive functioning including disorders such as depression and suicide. Some main points the article uses to support these assertions include the stories of three prominent respected men, all with perfectionism crises that committed suicide. The article points out the relationship between these facts, and how this problem may have developed into depression, leading to the eventual suicides. Through cross-examinations of several studies to define categories of perfectionism, two specific ones were generated. These two categories, self-oriented perfectionism and socially prescribed perfectionism, further relate to two types of depression. These types, introjective (self-critical) depression and anaclitic (dependent) depression, correspond respectively to the above mentioned categories. Some antecedents of self-critical, or introjective, depression were mentioned and analyzed in this article. Some identified precursors were disrupted parent-child relations, and childhood experiences of nonapproving or inconsistently approving parents with love that is conditional upon success. The article also addresses the implications of these findings on courses of treatment for depression. It is acknowledged that patients suffering from this perfectionism-derived depression must relinquish certain aspects of their current identification and adopt new identities they develop for themselves.
The article does all of these things effectively, and one main strength of this article would be the way in which it identified, step by step, how perfectionism can actually be linked to developing depression. It showed both actual investigative evidence and detailed reports of real-life evidence of the role of intense perfectionism in suicidal behavior. However, a weakness of the article is the attempt to discuss and cover too many topics in one article, with not all of the information being necessary to the goal of the article.
This article covers topics that can be analyzed in many different ways through different approaches. In addressing the idea of parental involvement in the later development of problems with perfectionism, the article can be classified in the field of developmental psychology. It studies the factors, such as nonapproving or inconsistently approving parents, or overly controlling and critical parents, that may contribute to the development of a problem with perfectionism as an adult. This problem may then lead to depression, which is the main focus of the article, and the purpose in describing this transition in detail. The main focus of the article, dealing mostly with the topic of perfectionism and depression, can be classified as an issue within personality psychology. This field focuses on accounting for differences in characteristics of personalities and individual behavioral differences. The article, in addressing the problems of perfectionism, is focusing attention on personality characteristics and the ways in which it affects behavior. It discusses the development of perfectionism and its implications for the individual. Different types of perfectionism are mentioned, such as self-oriented perfectionism, which has many psychological disturbances associated with it, such as eating disorders, depression and suicide. Another type of perfectionism mentioned was the socially prescribed perfectionism, which is the belief that others hold unrealistic and exaggerated expectations, and that results in feelings of failure, anxiety, hopelessness, and anger (all symptoms associated with depression and suicide). The topic of depression is also related to personal characteristic differences among individuals, placing it within the field of personality psychology. It also discussed what behaviors result from depression and the implications for the individual. The article also compares within the personality psychology area of study, what is considered “normal perfectionism” and neurotic perfectionism. It points out that although many characteristics exhibited by individuals with neurotic perfectionism can be adaptive, they are not the same as the characteristics exhibited by individuals with “normal perfectionism” because the motives behind the actions are not the same. This analysis of the topic provided by the article using this perspective is very plausible and lends a lot of credibility to this field as a way to analyze behavior.
This topic is very pertinent to psychology, but also to our lives in general. The idea that depression can be a result of a problem that is quite common in the world today is a very important one. If the destructiveness of intense perfectionism is as far reaching and serious as the evidence in this article suggests, then we need to recognize this as a real problem, and work to identify and prevent this type of thing from continuing to happen. By recognizing relationships between personality problems such as perfectionism with something like depression, we can begin to understand it a lot more thoroughly. We can also use this information to show the significance of a problem like neurotic perfectionism and help to reduce the occurrence of it.
Recognizing and handling such important, but widely overlooked problems like perfectionism, and realizing the possible implications of it, is the reason I decided to choose this article to read. Many of the points presented in this article about perfectionism, and the problems it can lead to, were very interesting because of their applicability to real, everyday life. Neurotic perfectionism is something that occurs often enough, and is serious enough that it deserves more research into the dangers and results it can lead to. After dealing with some family experiences with depression, I was interested to learn about different causes of depression and factors that contribute to the development of it, and how it can then lead to suicide.
One issue involving depression and perfectionism that was not addressed nor answered in this article was what can be done to prevent the problems people have with perfectionism to begin with. It discussed how parental influence can play a part in developing it, but the article never discussed what could be done to prevent this problem from becoming so widespread, rather than simply waiting for it to develop to the point in adulthood where it could lead to depression.

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