Biological approach to abnormality

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  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 30-12-12 16:20
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  • Biological approach to abnormality
    • Causes
      • chemical imbalance
        • mental disorders are explained in terms of an imbalance in the concentraion of neurotransmitters
          • if a particular transmitter is too high or low it causes abnoramlity
          • eg depression is caused by low serotonin levels
          • eg schizophrenia is caused by high dopamine levels
      • genes
        • people can inherit a disposition for mental illness through the genes passed from generation to generation
      • neuroanatomy
        • physical damage to the brain during birth or due to an accident
          • eg damage to the hypothalamus is linked to eating disorders
      • Infection
        • Microbes such as viruses and bacteria are known to produce physical disease and it has been suggested that they also cause mental illness
          • eg anorexia has been linked ot glandular fever
    • evaluation
      • weakness
        • reductionist as it reduces abnormality to biological factors and doesn't include other factors, such as; enviromental
        • removes control from people and makes patients feel like they have no control over the abnormality
      • Strengths
        • It has positive implications for treatments, such as drug treatments
        • supporting studies
          • twin studies
          • family studies
          • kendler found relatives of schizophrenics were 18 times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia
          • Research into eating disorders supported the role of genes but Holland showed that other factors have an effect
            • identical twins share 100% DNA but the concordance rate is 56%
              • problem with twin studies is identical twins have similar enviroments meaning the concordance rate would be higher as there would be similar contributing factors
            • nonidentical twins share 50% DNA but the concordance rate is 5%
    • treatments
      • Drugs
        • Anti-anxiety drugs
          • BZ's increase GABA which lowers noradrenalin and serotonin for a calming affect
        • Antidepressants
          • increase serotonin levels by blocking an enzyme that breaks down serotonin
          • MAOIs and SSRIs
        • evaluation
          • strengths
            • effective as BZ;s have been found to be 60% effective and MAOIs to be 65-75%
            • they have an almost immediate effect
          • weaknesses
            • dependency can occur
            • treats symptoms rather than causes. Bz's have a 90% relapse rate
            • can cause side effects
              • MAOIs can cause a cerebral hemorrhage if mixed with tyramine which is found in most foods
      • ECT
        • evaluation
          • strengths
            • quick in contrast to drugs or psychological
            • effective in treating severe depression and can prevent suicide
          • weaknesses
            • side effects such as; bone fractures and severe memory loss. in new treatments only memory loss but only 1/3 get it severe
            • consent issues as to whether or not a patient is able to agree to the treatment with the right frame of mind
        • involves a passage of electrical current through the brain by the application between 70v and 130v which induce a a convulsion epileptic seizure
        • patients are given a strong muscle relaxer and anesthetic.
        • the seizure lasts 2 minutes
        • treatment is done 2 to 3 times a week for 4 weeks
        • thought that ECT changes neurotransmitters



6 marks worth of AO1 for the biological approach to abnormality is here also if you need it.

It will help with the 12 marker in Psya2.

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