A students - this supports the idea of myth of mental illness – “a sane response to an insane world” (Laing 1959).
Rosenhan (1973).Rosenhan (1973).• Sent participants to mental hospitals (claiminghearing voices).• On admission, behaved normally.• Behaviour interpreted by staff as being indicative ofmental illness.• Some detained for up to 50 days.• R told hospitals in different areas of his intention toreplicate the study to see if they could detect thesane from the insane.• 41 patients were turned away in the following sixmonths.• Rosenhan had not sent any participants!• He concluded that diagnosis was unreliable.
Outline and evaluate theOutline and evaluate thebiological model (12 marks)biological model (12 marks)First things first...What does the biological model state?The biological model states that all illnesses have aphysiological root. This model uses the disease modelto explain mental illnesses as having the same rootcause as any other type of illness. This model focuseson biological causes of illness and therefore there isno assumption of blame onto an individual. Thebiological model also states that the mental illnesscan be solved by treating the biological cause.
What are the “features” of this model?The biological model has 5 key features.1. Genetic factors2.Biochemical Factors3.Damage Factors4.Symptoms5.Similarity to other diseases
GenesGenes• This model assumes that there is agenetic contribution to any mentalillness. Just as an individual inheritstheir parents hair/eye colour, heightand body so they will too inherit anyvulnerability to disease.
BiochemicalBiochemical• Biologists state that any chemicalimbalance in the brain could lead tomental illness. This could be a lack ofneurotransmitters (chemicals used inelectrical impulses), or an excess ofthem. E.g. Schizophrenics have anexcess of the neurotransmitterdopamine. Depression shows a lack ofthe same chemical.
DamageDamage• This model states that damage to thebrain, either through physical damageor infection can lead to changes inbehaviour. Illnesses like meningitis canlead to swelling of the brain tissueswhich can cause pressure and thereforedamage to the brain. We can see thatdamage to the brain in any form canalter someone’s thoughtpatterns/behaviour as seen in the H.Mand Clive Wearing case studies.
SymptomsSymptoms• These are a key feature in the diagnosisof mental illness. Doctors andpsychiatrists use manuals like the ICD-10 and DSM-IV to characterise andgroup symptoms into disorders
SimilaritySimilarity• Abnormal behaviour is likened to anyother disease in this model. It’sassumed that any biological defects inthe brains functioning and structuremay lead to psychological illnesses.These can be referred to as ‘organic’disorders where obvious physicaldamage has been caused to the brain.
What comes next?The evaluation!!This model has much positive support, there is physiologicalevidence to support the model as well as a history of case studyto support the idea of genetic contribution. For example fMRIscans show that areas of the brain are more/less active inschizophrenics, that there is globally less activity in depressedpatients and that anorexic patients show different activity whenlooking at themselves. research has shown that schizophreniahas a genetic basis. Case studies on identical twins show a 48%chance of developing schizophrenia if one twin has the condition.The approach leads to less “blame” being pushed onto theindividual, it assumes that the factors causing illness are out ofthe persons control.There is also a strong case to the control of the symptoms formental illnesses with the treatments. Animal research alsosupports the concept of physiological causes behind mentalillnesses;
-ves-veshowever, animal research cannot reliably establish a basis forunderstanding illness in human patients as the physiology ofanimals differs to our own.Current biological treatments only treat the symptoms, they do notattempt to solve the cause of the illness and although thismeans that the person can live “normally” on treatments, it alsoleads to them being reliant on the treatment.Although fMRi scans show physiological differences in individualswith mental illnesses, it is extremely hard to establish the causeof the illness – what we’re seeing in the scans may only be theeffect of something we can’t see!There is also no accountability in this model, people are told thatthe cause of their illness is nothing to do with them – not theirfault, but this may not always be the case – for example ifsomeone is in the habit of recreational drug use, they may blametheir genes for this instead of trying to change their ownhabits. It also leads to the ‘blame’ being assigned to thehealthcare professionals responsible for diagnosis and care.
Evidence...Evidence...• To finish....Studies also show that diagnosis is not a reliable tool. Rosenhanconducted an experiment where the aim was to see whetherpsychiatrists could reliably distinguish between people who werementally ill and those who were not. The study consists of twoconditions from which in one the hospital were informed thatpatients will be coming that are not actually mentally ill when in factno patients were sent at all. In this condition the psychiatrists onlydiagnosed 41 out of 193 patients as being mentally ill when in realityall patients were mentally ill.In the other conditions, 8 people were told to report at the hospitalthat they hear noises in their head. As soon as they wereadministrated, they behaved normally. The doctors in this conditionstill classified these patients as insane, with a case of dormantschizophrenia. Rosenhan concluded that no psychiatrist can easilydiagnose the sane from insane. Though Rosenhan delivered a veryaccurate report on diagnoses of patients, Rosenhan was criticisedfor deceiving the hospital for claiming that sane patients werebeing sent over, though none were actually sent.