The Biological Model of Abnormality

The Biological Model of Abnormality
The Biological model suggests there are four possible causes of mental
illness, the subject?s genes, biochemistry, infection and
neuroanatomy.

Neuroanatomy, or the nervous system, could be to blame for abnormality, because many Schchizophrenics have irregularly shaped brains comparison to normal people. Yet it is not clear if this is a cause or effect of the illness, all we know is that there is a correlation. There is also a correlation between schizophrenics and biological abnormalities, like high amounts of dopamine. Biochemical factors could be to blame for being mentally ill due to imbalances in their brain chemistry, such as too much or too little of a particular neurotransmitter. These are chemicals which transmit nerve impulses from one synapse to another. Infection could be to blame for abnormality, due to germs, bacteria and viruses. An example of this is with Syphilis which sometimes leads to brain deteriation which gave rise to psychotic behaviours such as delusions.
This is widely thought to be due to your body unable to cope with the infection effectively. Genetic Factors could cause mental illness if you inherit a gene which causes mental illness. A study has shown that twins with the same genes, the concordance rate for schizophrenia is 42% whereas for twins with 50% of the same genes the rate is 9%. Yet the twins with the same genes would have shared the same environment, so this could be to blame rather than the twins having the same genes. Furthermore many other weaknesses are associated with the biological model. With the study for the MZ and DZ twins there is never a 100% concordance rate, which should be the case if an illness is totally genetic, and as I have said the higher concordance rate could be due to the same environment for the twins. Secondly it is not known if symptoms of a mental illness are a cause or effect. For example high levels of dopamine may be the effect of schitophrenia not the effect. However many specialists argue that drugs are still appropriate as they relieve symptoms probably due to the comfort of someone trying to help them. Still this isn?t the answer to curing the mental illness as it only treats the symptoms and not the causes, by adjusting the serotonin levels in a depressed person. Thirdly the concordance rates are never 100% suggesting that biological factors are not the only cause of the mental disorder. If the person is subject to stressful life events and the person inherits susceptibility for the disorder, then it will develop. Therefore there inconclusive evidence. The term mentally ill can lead to discrimination e.g. in employment. The actual diagnosis can often be wrong as the person is usually in a poor mental state to comply. Therefore a person?s ethnical issue is that they could be prescribed with the wrong drugs which could alter them physically. The reductionist element of the biological model is a weakness as it ignores the complexity of the human mind by reducing it down to physical level e.g., neurotransmitters and genes. Another drawback is that there are many side effects that occur from successful treatments, and sometimes they cause long ?term dependency. A further weakness is that handing over control to professionals like psychologists, people are ceding responsibility for themselves to other people therefore preventing them from taking control of there own recovery, as they have relinquished the responsibility. A furtherer weakness could be argued that it is a form of control, which was famously argued by Thomas Szasz in ?Myth of Mental Illness?. He denied that mental illness has a physical basis, arguing it is a form of control. The biological model also bares the weakness of ignoring cultural influences, like there being a higher rate of schizophrenia in Afro-Caribbean males in the UK compared to white British males. This is a form of Ethnocentrism, because there is the thought that their culture worldview is central. However there are many positive aspects to this model. Firstly the treatments are cheap and effective which relieve distressing symptoms. Also the actual treatments are basted on scientifically-based research, of which our understanding has advanced to increase our understanding of the biological aspects of psychological disorder. Furthermore, adoption studies provide strong evidence for genetic causes, for example with the twins with the same genes there was a higher concordance rate compared with twins with 50% of the same genes. This method for solving mental illness is much more humane than in the past. Before the 19th century mental illness was thought to be caused by demons or the evil in the individual. Therefore the individuals are not as scared to seek help to therefore recover.

The Biological Model of Abnormality 8.5 of 10 on the basis of 3814 Review.