A Comparison of Two Therapeutic Approaches to Mental Disorders

A Comparison of Two Therapeutic Approaches to Mental Disorders
The essence of the medical model is the view that abnormal behaviours like mental disorders result from physical problems and should be treated medically, in other words; mental disorders resemble physical diseases, in that they are both illness of the body. As a result, the medical approach would argue that mental illness and therapeutic action should be taken from the medical perspective. Whereas the psychodynamic approach concerning mental illness put forward by Freud was based partly on his psychosexual development theory. In essence, the child passes through stages such as oral, anal etc. Major conflicts or excessive gratification at any of these stages can lead to fixation, therefore if an adult experiences great personal problems, he or she will tend to show regression (going back through the stages of the psychosexual development) to the stage at which he or she had previously been fixated. Thus because conflicts cause anxiety, and the ego defends itself against anxiety by using several defence mechanisms to prevent traumatic thoughts and feelings reaching consciousness, mental disorders can arise when an individual has unresolved conflicts and traumas from childhood.
Defence mechanisms may be used to reduce the anxiety caused by such unresolved conflicts, but they act more as sticking plaster than as a way of sorting out an individuals problems. The medical model has clear implications for treatment. If mental illnesses are basically illnesses of the body, then treatment should involve direct manipulation of bodily processes. For example, if a mental disorder such as for example schizophrenia involves biochemical abnormalities, then drugs can be used to correct these abnormalities. Drugs have been used with some success to treat various disorders such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression. The medical model argues for direct manipulation of the physiological system within the body, and uses somatic therapy (a major part of which is drug therapy). Drug therapy has been used in the treatment of several disorders, and has been used in the treatment of patients suffering from major depression and schizophrenia. Neuroleptic drugs (drugs that reduce psychotic symptoms but can also produce some of the symptoms of neurological diseases) are often used in the treatment of schizophrenia. Common neuroleptic drugs include the phenothiazines, the butyrophenones and the thioxanthenes as they reduce the positive symptoms of schizophrenia for example delusions and hallucinations, but have little effect on the negative symptoms e.g. lack of motivation and emotion and social withdrawal. The drugs used to treat schizophrenia have the great advantage that schizophrenic patients no longer need to be restrained in straitjackets. However, they have significant disadvantages. First, as we have seen, they have several unfortunates? side effects. Second, the drugs basically reduce symptoms, and cannot be regarded as providing a cure for schizophrenia. This is very unlike the psychodynamics? approach to treating mental disorders; the psychodynamic therapy is based on psychoanalysis, and was introduced by sigmund Freud at the start of the twentieth century. Freud and other psychoanalysts used various methods to uncover repressed ideas, and to permit the client to gain insight into his or her unresolved problems unlike the medical model, which is drug-centred. As a form of therapy the approach uses hypnosis, Freud and Breuer treated a twenty one-year-old women called Anna O, who suffered from several neurotic symptoms such as nervous coughs and paralysis. Hypnosis uncovered a repressed memory of Anna O hearing the sound of dance music coming from a nearby house as she was nursing her dying father, and her guilty feeling that she would rather be dancing than looking after her father. Her nervous coughing stopped after that repressed memory came to light. However, patients are either hard or impossible to hypnotise or that people under hypnosis become very suggestible. Both models have shown very different ways in treating mental disorders, and in doing so have shown inadequacies and ethical implications that are both positive and negative in their therapeutic perspectives. When looking at the medical model it can be noted it can be seen as desirable to label individuals with mental disorders as suffering from an illness as it suggests that they are not responsible for their condition, the psychodynamic model also suggests that the individuals are not really responsible for their own mental disorders, this is because these disorders depend on unconscious processes which individuals have no control. However with both of these approaches suggesting that the individual has no responsibility may carry the undesirable effect of encouraging individuals with mental disorders to hand over complete responsibility for their recover to other people. Also with the psychodynamic approach unlike the medical approach there is the notion that adult mental disorders have their basis in childhood experiences suggests that parents or other caregivers are at least partially to blame and this can lead to distress within the family. Although it can be argued that at least with the psychodynamics? therapeutic approach unlike the medical model there is no serious drug side-effects or chance for patients to lead to drug dependence, nevertheless the psychodynamic approach has encountered as serious as those problems posed in the medical model, with the numerous recent cases of false memory syndrome. In these cases, patients undergoing psychotherapy have made allegations about childhood physical or sexual abuse that have turned out to have no basis in fact. In sum, the psychodynamic approach though positive in many ways is limited because it tends to ignore genetic factors unlike the medical approach and cultural and subcultural differences between societies in diagnosing and giving therapy to those with mental disorders like the medical approach. In its original form, the patients current concerns and interpersonal relationships were de-emphasised and there was undue focus on childhood experiences and sexual problems. The medical approach has proved positive where psychodynamic therapies have failed in including medically genetic factors and that drug therapies have proved effective, at least in the sense of reducing the symptoms of those suffering from mental disorders. Still there are negative sides, the medical approach ignores unlike the psychodynamic the more subjective side to disorders or background experiences, it has also been argued that with drug-centred therapies people stop working threw for example what would have been considered normal depression and finding out the cause, now ?pop pills? to fix what was once every day life problems whereas the psychodynamic approach is more prone to work these problems out slowly.

A Comparison of Two Therapeutic Approaches to Mental Disorders 8.3 of 10 on the basis of 2599 Review.