Outline and evaluate the biological approach to psychopathology (12 marks)
The biological approach to psychopathology states that abnormal behaviour is a result of the brain not functioning correctly. This approach treats psychological disorders in the same way as physical orders. It suggests 4 main causes of abnormality: brain injury, infection, neurotransmitters and genetics. Brain injury
Brain injury is deterioration or fault of brain cells can cause memory loss often present in Alzheimer’s disease. As all behaviour is associated with changes in brain function, psychopathology will be caused by changes in either the structure or function of the brain. This might involve changes in the size of brain structures, or in the activity of brain neurotransmitters and hormones.
For example, biological psychologists suggest that mental disorders may be due to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. In other words, there may be too much or too little of a certain neurotransmitter or hormone (i.e., bio-chemicals). These bio-chemicals can affect mood and behaviour, potentially causing mental illness.
Infection is the result of pathogens entering the blood stream and entering the blood brain barrier or the nervous system. These pathogens cause diseases of the brain. However this part of the biological approach is a very small explanation of abnormality, and with large advancements modern medicine is becoming decreasingly unseen. Another issue is multi-finality. For example schizophrenia has been associated with the flu during pregnancy, however not every expectant mother with flu has a schizophrenic child. A lot of other factors are involved in the disease, and simply labelling flu as the only cause is going to cause issues in the understanding of multiple factors. An example of infection is syphilis bacterium which causes a sexually transmitted disease known as syphilis. It causes short-lived sores followed by general paresis - forgetfulness, mental...
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