Biological approach

Similar to a disease/symptom
- Abnormal behaviour can be compared to other diseases
- It has symptoms and sometimes physical causes

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  • Created by: Nadia
  • Created on: 18-04-13 18:31


- It assumes genes have a major part in mental health.
- You have a pre-disposition to a certain disorder
- Kendler found relatives of schizophrenics were 18x more likely to get the disorder

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- Chemical inbalances in the brain may be involved in certain mental illness'
- the neurotransmitter, Dopaine, has been found to be excessive in schizophrenics
* BUT cause and effect problem

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- Common in physical illness but also found in some mental illness
- Barra et al found increased levels amongst schizophrenics of their mothers having the flu whilst pregnant ~ possible link
- Syphilis (S.T.I) caused brain damage

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Brain abnormality

- Abnormanlity can occur if the brain is damaged in some way
- Alzheimers is caused by loss of cells and damage to the nervous system
- Alcohol and drugs; hallucinations/symptoms of mental health disorder - E.g, Korsakoffs syndrome; impailment of memory caused by alcohol abuse

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Evaluation - positives

Research is based on well established science
Bases it's theories on things such as brain scans and post mortums

It does provide insight into schizophrenia and depression
Our understanding of schizophrenia and depression is that we are learning more and more every year. The biological approach shows they have strong links to neurotransmitters and genes

The model has validity as it successfully explains phenylketonuria (PKU)
There may be physical reasons why some people have mental health issues.
E.g, Before hand, were unsure as to why children behaved badly until discovered PKU = diet change and no more symptoms

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Evaluation - negatives

The analogy to physical illness is limited
Mental health is not the same as physical illness. Mental health is more subjective and sometimes the bological approach can't explain some things at all, E.g, phobias and OCD.

Cause and effect is not clear
Schizophrenics have higher levels of Dopaine but is it because of that, that causes schizophrenia or does being schizophrenic cause that to appear?

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