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The biological approach and
AS Psychology, AQA A, unit 2-
individual differences
(psychopathology)…read more

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The biological approach
All mental disorders are caused by a physical change in the
body such as Genes, Infection, Neurotransmitters and
· Genes- abnormal genes may lead to abnormal neural
development or abnormal levels of neurotransmitters
· Infection- exposure to infections when in the womb can
lead to schizophrenia in later life as the virus may lie
dormant until the person reaches puberty.
· Neurotransmitters- chemical transmitters at the synapse
that transmit electrical signals from one side of a neuron
to another. Depression can be caused by a lack of
serotonin as positive electrical signals aren't able to cross
the synapse and reach the conscious part of the brain...…read more

Slide 3

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The biological approach
...schizophrenia can be caused by having too much
dopamine leading to electrical signals not being able
to reach the synapse. This creates false signals which
leads to hallucinations.
· Nueroanatomy- can cause schizophrenia. Spaces in
the brain called ventricles can be bigger than normal,
meaning there are less brain cells, so the person may
not be able to do as much as another person can.…read more

Slide 4

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The biological approach-evaluation
Reliability of diagnosis
· Focuses on specific symptoms so its more likely that
psychiatrists will make the same diagnosis about a
Effective treatments
· 2 main treatments are drugs and ect
· Drugs target neurotransmitters and there is evidence
that they are quite effective, if the treatments work,
it suggests the explanations are valid…read more

Slide 5

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The biological approach-evaluation
· Ignores other factors such as childhood experiences
and conscious thoughts, it only gives a limited
understanding of the mental illness in question
Conflicting evidence
· Identical twins don't have concordance rates of 100%
for any mental illness
· This means that their must be other factors that
influence the development of metal illnesses such as
childhood experiences…read more

Slide 6

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Biological therapies- drugs
· Prozac- increases the amount of serotonin which is
usually broken down by an enzyme after its been used.
Prozac slows down the enzyme which reduces the rate
at which serotonin is broken down which increases the
amount of serotonin
· Chlorpromazine and clozapine which treat positive
symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations.
They work by blocking dopamine receptors in the
brain…read more

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