Approaches to Psychopathology

The Biological Approach, Behavioural Approach and Psychodynamic Approaches to Psychopathology, includes therapies for each.

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The Biological Approach & Therapies

The most widely used approach to the causes and treatment of mental illnesses in the western world.

Key Features:

  • A Physical Cause - abnormal behaviour is compared to a disease and put down to abnormalities that are physical, usually within the brain. it's assumed that all mental illnesses have a physiological cause related to the physical structure and/or functioning of the brain. An example would be a physical abnormality, such as a brain tumour that may cause mental problems such as depression.
  • Symptoms - medically physical illnesses have clear-cut symptoms, doctors can diagnose problems because of physical abnormalities.
  • Genetic Inheritance - Twin studies, such as Kendler et al 1985 have found that some mental illnesses are hereditary and therefore genetic.

Therapies for:

  • Drug Therapy - drugs work by entering the bloodstream in order to reach the brain, neurotransmitters affect behaviour, the main ones are; dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, noradrenaline and GABA.
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  • Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT) - used when drugs and psychotherapy failed, electrical charge passed through the brain which causes a temporary brain siezure.
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