AS The biological model of abnormality

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AS The biological model of abnormality

  1. 1. The Biological Model Main assumptions: Psychological illnesses have a PHYSICAL cause. Abnormal behaviour, thinking and emotion are caused by biological dysfunctions Understanding mental illness involves understanding what went wrong with the brain www.psychlotron.org.uk
  2. 2. The Biological Model Possible cause of abnormal behaviour Genetics – inherited developmental abnormality Toxicity – chemical poisoning from e.g. drugs or environmental toxins Infection/disease – causing chemical or structural damage to the brain Stress – causing abnormal hormonal effects in the long term www.psychlotron.org.uk
  3. 3. Genetics and schizophrenia
  4. 4. The Biological Model Possible causes of abnormal behaviour: – Biochemistry – an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters or hormones might cause parts of the brain to malfunction – Structural damage or abnormality – if the structure of the brain is damaged or improperly formed then thinking, emotion and behaviour may change www.psychlotron.org.uk
  5. 5. Example – Clive Wearing
  6. 6. Brain Abnormality (Structure) www.psychlotron.org.uk
  7. 7. Brain Abnormality (Structure) www.psychlotron.org.uk
  8. 8. Brain Abnormality (Functioning) www.psychlotron.org.uk
  9. 9. The Biomedical Model Issues for evaluation: – The evidence – The patient role – Blame and stigma www.psychlotron.org.uk
  10. 10. The Biomedical Model Evidence – Plenty of studies have found that psychological disturbance is associated with biological changes (e.g. in neurotransmitters & hormones) However… – It is often impossible to tell whether such changes are a cause or an effect of the psychological symptoms www.psychlotron.org.uk
  11. 11. The Biomedical Model The patient role – The biomedical model offers people a role and treatments they are familiar with, and are often happy to go along with However… – It encourages them to become passive and dependent and to hand over control of their lives to the expert – this might not actually be good for them. www.psychlotron.org.uk
  12. 12. The Biomedical Model Blame & stigma – Biomedical processes are assumed to be beyond patient’s control; they are not blamed for their predicament or behaviour However… – Critics (e.g. Szasz, Laing) argue that society isolates and stigmatises the mentally ‘ill’, which is just as bad www.psychlotron.org.uk

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