Discuss the biological explanation for mood disorders- ESSAY PLAN

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Discuss the biological explanation for mood disorders
Concordance Rates: > Many theorists believe that some people inherit a genetic
predisposition to unipolar depression
> This is supported by the concordance rates presented by Mc Guffin
MZ= 46%, DZ= 20%, General population= 10% illustrates the
closely related and individual is related to someone with depression
the higher the risk of that individual also developing unipolar
depression (a more similar genetic makeup)
Family Studies: > Support has been found from studies of sufferers and their close
> Winokur et al found depression in just over 10% of first degree relatives
to sufferers compared to 4.9% of a control group of relatives,
it was earlier found that 50% of offspring to parents with unipolar
depression showed signs of depression supports the genetic
explanation BUT there are possible environmental factors first degree
relatives will often live in the same environment as the depressed
individual which can be stressful
Adoption Studies: > Useful as they eliminate these possible environmental factors if both
the biological parent(s) and the adopted child have depression, this
would suggest biological influences
> Wender et al Investigated the families of individuals in Denmark
(generalisation issues) and found a greater incidence of severe
depression between the biological parent and the depressed adoptee
compared to the biological parent and the nondepressed adoptee
supports the genetic explanation BUT only for severe depression
Serotonin Hypothesis: > It is argued that low activity of the neurotransmitters serotonin
(5HT) and noradrenalin (na), reduces firing at the synapse and as
consequence results in the cognitive, behavioural and physical
slowing seen in depressed patients e.g. a less productive attitude
> McNeal found low levels of 5HT in the cerebrospinal fluid of
depressed patients and low na levels in their urine strong
scientific supporting empirical evidence strengthens the weight
the hypothesis
> Putting a very complex disorder down to neurotransmitters
highlights the reductionist approach of the biological psychologist
which may not be best suited to a depression which has a large
emotional factor to it a holistic approach such as the
environmental approach may be more appropriate
Brain structure and functioning: > Frontal cortex lower than normal activity levels found

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scans which have found a reduction in the size of the
frontal lobes explains symptoms of a lack of ability
plan for the future, a role of the frontal cortex
> Amygdala part of the limbic system which is controlled
by the frontal lobe, increased activity has been found in
this area which is associated with the inability to
appropriate process a situation as threatening leading
information being interpreted negatively and overly
significantly explains symptoms such as anxiety…read more


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