Biological and Psychological Explanations of Anxiety Disorders

Biological and Psychological Explanations of Anxiety Disorders
Research has often concluded that no one biological or psychological theory can provide a sufficient explanation into anxiety disorders such as depression. The diathesis stress model explains psychological anxiety disorders as an interaction between a predisposition to the disorder and environmental stress. In terms of anxiety disorders, predispositions include aspects of biological and psychological factors. Often the main problem found with psychological explanations of anxiety disorders, especially the psychodynamic theory, is that is the theories are more difficult to test. With Freud?s theory, which is largely based on the working of the unconscious mind, it makes it impossible to prove or disprove. When evidence is presented it is often inconsistent, for example, Paykel (1981) reviewed studies and found that had half weren?t supportive of early loss as an explanation.Freud suggested that development is driven by biological changes. Adult?s characteristics are the consequences of the interaction between these and experience. Biological explanations are more scientific and easy to measure as they use three main ways of assessment. These are family studies, win studies and adoption studies. Naturally technology will evolve along with time. When analysing genetic influences, the medical model attempts to identify a specific gene and, although genes appear to be involved, the role of genetic factors in anxiety disorders is enormously complex. Little is also known about the role of biochemistry plays in anxiety disorder. We know very little about the way in which neurotransmitters like serotonin actually work. It is hard to know whether neurotransmitter changes are a cause or effect. Biological theories are at best suggestive rather than conclusive. They suggest why some people are predisposed to phobias and why some phobias are more common than others. However the evidence used to support biological theories can often be used to support other alternative environmental explanations. Both theories attempt to explain and look to treat anxiety disorders although focusing on different aspect of treatment. When anxiety disorders are treated, the fact that often both treatments are simultaneously used suggests that there are many more complex explanations, rather than one specific reason, for anxiety disorders. Etiologists argue that we are born with innate characteristics which inevitably lead to certain behaviors. This refers to mainly to biological approaches as from the viewpoint people with a particular genetic makeup are seen to have a predisposition to depression. This has been supported by studies which show there appears to be a tendency for anxiety disorders to run in families. However in twin studies, in MZ twins share around 100 per cent of their genes. If genes are a major factor in anxiety disorders then we would expect a higher percentage of identical twins to share the disorder. The behavioral view is that individuals are active in determining their behaviour. There is evidence to support the behavioral views. Behaviorists argue that phobias are learnt by classical conditioning and reinforced by operant conditioning. In concerning depression, according to, Lewinsohn (1974), a depressed person becomes trapped in a cycle of withdrawal which leads to a lack of positive reinforcement, perpetuating depression. Socially unskilled people may be more prone to depression. The problem with the behavioral account as we have seen is it has difficulties accounting for why people all over the world are similar.

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