AS Psychology: Individual Differences

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AS Psychology: Individual Differences

Abnormality(Biological Approaches)


Biological approach: a model of abnormality percieving mental disorders as illnesses with physical causes. 

The biological model assumes mental disorders are physiological causes related to the physical structure and/or functioning of the brain. A distinction is made between two types of disorders.

Organic disorders: illness as a result of physical brain damage and/or disease

Functional disorders: no obvious physiological causes(i.e. depression)

Psychiatrists in Britain use the ICD(Internation Classification of Diseases) to compare the symptoms a patient shows to make a diagnosis, whilst American psychiatrists use the DSM(Diagnostic Statistical Manual). 

There are four waysin which biological factors are seen as causing mental imparments...

1) Bacterial infections and viruses

These may cause damage to the brain and cause malfunction, e.g. general paralysis of the insane, a neuropsychiatric disorder caused by syphilis(a sexually transmitted disease). The bacterium Treponema Pallidum enters the body causing ulcers in the genital region, and eventually, tumor-like masses begin to develop on the brain. Memory and intellect are effected, as are mood. 

Brown et al(2000)- found a link between respiratory infections in the second trimestor of pregnancy and the development of schizophrenia when the affected foetus reaches adulthood(implying bacteria and viruses can cause mental illness). 

Gaskell et al(2009)- found the toxoplasmosis parasite transmitted to humans through eating contaminated food, can cause schizophrenia and manic depression. The parasite effects levels

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