How the Medical Model of Psychopathology and the Family Systems Model Reflect Linear and Circular Causality Respectively by Referring to the Causes of Schizophrenia.

Topics: Schizophrenia, Family therapy, Mental disorder Pages: 6 (1864 words) Published: December 2, 2012


In this assignment I will show how the medical model of Psychopathology and the family systems model reflect linear and circular causality respectively by referring to the causes of Schizophrenia. SCHIZOPHRENIA

Schizophrenia is characterised by a broad spectrum of cognitive and emotional dysfunctions that include delusions and hallucinations, disorganized speech and behaviour and inappropriate emotions. It disrupts social, occupational and recreational functioning and almost every other aspect of daily functioning. It is usually chronic with a high relapse rate and recovery from Schizophrenia is rare. MEDICAL MODEL

The DSM-IV-TR is based on the medical model. The basic assumption is that psychological disorders are diseases and are treated as such. In his definition of the medical model, Blaney (1975) stated that mental disorders are in fact organic diseases. He further explained that the visible evidences of disorders are merely manifestations of an underlying condition. According to him, the individual has no responsibility for his/her behaviour. The medical/biological model reflects a linear view of the causes of Psychopathology. Linear causality means that a particular cause (or more than one cause in combination) leads to a specific effect (e.g. a virus causes an illness). Thus, from this perspective, event A causes event B (A -> B) in a linear (unidirectional) fashion. In this linear way of thinking, our reality is considered to be separate from us. We are thus seen as reacting to our reality rather than creating it (Becvar, 2003).

Possible medical causes for Schizophrenia:
* Genetic influences – Inherited tendency (multiple genes) are responsible for making some individuals vulnerable to Schizophrenia * Neurotransmitter imbalances – This refers to brain chemistry such as abnormalities in the dopamine and glutamate systems * Developmental disruptions such as prenatal / birth complications – A viral infection during pregnancy or a birth injury can affect a child’s brain cells. * Brain structure – Research by Eve Johnstone (Johnstone et al, 1976) showed, by using computed tomography (CT), that there is an enlargement of the lateral ventricles in some patients with chronic Schizophrenia. * Psychological stressors have also been named as a possible medical cause. Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Positive symptoms: Delusions are false personal beliefs that are firmly and consistently held despite disconfirming evidence or logic, for instance: delusions of grandeur or persecution. Perceptual distortions (hallucinations) e.g. hearing voices, seeing people or objects and smelling peculiar odours. It is important to remember when diagnosing a patient that hallucinations aren’t pathognomonic. Disorganized thought and speech as a symptom comes through when communicating with the Schizophrenic person. The individual may jump from topic to topic, talk illogically or reply tangentially to questions. Disorganized motor disturbances such as extreme activity levels, strange gestures and grimaces, catatonic immobility, waxy flexibility and peculiar body movements and posture. More examples of behavioural problems are bad personal hygiene, inappropriate dress and affect. Negative symptoms would be to not show emotional expression (flat affect), avolition (an inability to become goal-orientated or to take action) and alogia (a lack of meaningful speech). DSM-IV-TR

DSM-IV-TR recommends that clinicians examine and evaluate the individual’s mental state with regard to five factors (axes). Axes I, II and III addresses the individual’s present mental and medical condition. Axes IV and V provide additional information about the person’s life situation and...

References: * Barlow, D.H., & Durand, V.M. (2005). Abnormal Psychology: An integrated approach. (4th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning
* Becvar, D.S., & Becvar, R.J. (2003). Family therapy: A systemic integration. (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
* Blaney, P.H. (1975). Implications of the medical model and its alternatives. American Journal of Psychiatry, 132, p.911-914.
* Johnstone, E.C., Crow, T.J., Frith, C.D., Hurhard, J. & Kreel, L. (1976). Cerebral ventricular size and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. Lancet, ii, p. 924-926.
* Sue, D., Sue, D., & Sue, S. (2006). Understanding abnormal behaviour. (8th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
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