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Describe how the biological approach has been applied to psychosurgery (12 marks)

 Psychosurgery: surgical procedure for treating mentally disordered behaviour

  • Done by removing or destroying part of brain
  • Aim is to eradicate any undesirable behaviour

Links to assumption that behaviours can be explained in terms of different parts of brain.

Term psychosurgery only used to describe process of removing/destroying functioning parts of brain in order to bring about a change in behaviour.

Can be used to help disorders such as:

  • OCD
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Dates back to ancient practice of trepanning or trephining
    • Common in Ancient Greece & Rome & into Middle Ages in Europe
  • 1940s/50s -- new form of psychosurgery pioneered by Egas Moniz
    • Came to conclusion that removal of frontal lobes would result in reduction of aggression & distress in patients
    • Original surgery -- Prefrontal Leucotomy: drill holes in each side of head, instrument (resembled ice-pick) inserted to destroy nerves underneath 
    • Went on to design 'leucotome' -- instrument with retractable wire loop, cut into nerve pathways that carried…


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