Biological Model of Abnormality - Unit 2 (AQA)

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Biological Model of Abnormality
Assumes psychological disorders are physical illnesses with physical causes
When the same symptoms occur frequently together they represent a reliable
syndrome or disorder
Causes of psychological disorders:
Genetics ­ Faulty genes are known to cause some diseases that have psychological
Neurotransmitters (How neurons communicate with each other) ­ Too much or two
little of a particular neurotransmitter can cause psychological disorders e.g. ­
Increased levels of dopamine liked to schizophrenia
Infection ­ Disorders can be caused by infection e.g. Syphilis (STD) was identified as
causing a range of symptoms of mental illness (paresis)
Brain Injury ­ Accidental brain damage may cause psychological disorders e.g.
Alzheimer's Disease ­ caused by malformation and loss of cells in nervous system/
Korsakoff's Syndrome ­ Memory impairment caused by alcohol abuse
Research into Genetic Basis of Schizophrenia:
Gottesman (1991):
Concordance rate of 48% in Identical twins and 17% in non-identical twins for
Not 100% so environment must have played a part
Not very holistic ­ only looks at one disorder
Barr et al. (1990):
Higher rate of schizophrenia in children with mothers who had suffered flu whilst
Biological Therapies:
Anti ­ Anxiety Drugs (Enhance action of neurotransmitter GABA) ­ Help to relax &
reduce tension
Anti- Depressant Drugs (Increase availability of neurotransmitter Serotonin) ­
Elevate mood & lift depression
Anti ­ Psychotic Drugs (Reduce availability of neurotransmitter Dopamine

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Proven to be effective
Scientific ­ MRI & CT Scans (Objective)
Address symptom and not cause
Addiction ­ Withdrawal symptoms
May not work for everyone - drugs work differently for different people
Side effects ­ can range in severity between drugs & patients
Drugs work better when combined with other forms of therapy
ECT ­ Electro-Convulsive Therapy:
Patient lies on bed ­ given anaesthetic
Electrode fixed to patients temple ­ current passed through brain (1/2 second) ­ 225
Current induces convulsions (1 minute)…read more


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