All mental illnesses involve breakdowns in neural mechanisms for emotions that do not simply reduce to isolated mental, social, or chemical causes. The case of depression shows how illness results from the interaction of many causes that can be social, cognitive, neural, and molecular. Depression emerges from the interactions of mechanisms at all of these levels in a way that exemplifies emergence rather than simple reduction. Accordingly, treatment of depression often benefits from trying to repair mechanisms at multiple levels, most commonly by employing psychotherapy to make changes in mental representations and by employing antidepressants to change neurochemistry. Social cognitivism, the approach that integrates social, mental, neural, and molecular mechanisms, provides a new approach to explaining mental illness thanks to semantic pointer theories of cognition and communication.
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