Background - The Medical Model


The Biochemical Explanation of Mental Illness

Cause - Believes mental illness is due to imbalance of chemicals within our bodies.

  • However, hard to establish cause and effect 
  • Serotonin → links with depression, low levels means messages are passed ineffectively through neutral pathways = lower moods e.g. depression 
  • Dopamine → excess dopamine has associations with schizophrenia as a result of an overactive dopamine system
  • Anxiety → linked with biochemicals such as serotionin and norepinephirine
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The Genetic Explanation of Mental Illness

Cause Believes that some disorders are assed through genetic → evidence through reseach of monoygotic and dizygotic twins 

  • If identical twins are separated but both have the same disorders, it could be conluded that this is due to genes

Gottesman & Sheilds (1976) → researched adapotion and twin samples

  • Found increased concordiance rates but never 100% with 58% concordance rate for monozygotic twins
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The Brain Abnormality Explanation of Mental Illnes

Cause - Believes that the size and weight of the brain can influence a person's mental illness.

  • Brown et al → studied 41 schizophrenic's brains & 29 brains of people with affective disorder.
    • Those with schizophrenia brain's were 6% lighter and larger temporal horn section.
  • Weinberger (1992) → looked at identical twins
    • Found differeces in brain structures, in particular prefrontal cortex
  • Strakowski et al (1999) → found that patients with bipolar disorders had significant differences in volume of prefrontal and amygdala

Brain Volume 

  • Patients suffering from deression have smaller hippocampal volume than non-depressed people
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