Biological Approach to Abnormality

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  • Created by: Aletia
  • Created on: 10-04-13 18:44
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  • Biological approach to psychopathology
    • Assumes that all mental illnesses have a physical cause
      • Reassuring to the patient as it is not their fault
      • Disorders may be physical (obvious cause that would show up on a brain scan for example) or functional (no visible cause)
    • Biological explanations focus on genetics
      • DNA testing and twin studies
        • Identical twins are more likely (44%) than non-identical (12%) twins to both have schizophrenia
    • Brain bio-chemistry
      • Neurotransmitter or hormone imbalances
        • Investigated through drug trials and post mortems
        • Schizophrenia caused by low dopamine
        • Depression and Anorexia blamed on low levels of serotonin
    • Brain structure (abnormal or damaged)
      • OCD may be caused by an ineffective message filtering system
        • Investigated by MRI scanners
    • Infection
      • Viral infections in mothers damaging foetus brain
    • Support comes from strong scientific evidence, drugs have a high rate of effectiveness
    • Limitations: reductionist (reduces  symptoms down to a list) doesn't take into account factors like childhood experiences, determinist - patients aren't held responsible for their actions, may be chicken egg situations, treats symptoms not causes

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