In this essay a discussion will be held on the two explanations psychologist’s use when explaining abnormality. I am going to focus on one disorder, which is depression. Firstly depression will be discussed in reference to the Biological Theory; then onto discuss a number of Psychological theories also focussing on depression.
It has become very difficult to distinguish whether an individual suffers from an abnormality. Abnormalities can be differences shown when referring to the social norm. This can also vary from culture to culture. Abnormalities can be shown when an individual cannot cope with the demands of everyday life.
Depression is the one of the most common psychopathological disorders known in Britain. Depression affects between 8-12% of the population. (Cherry, L 2012). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is a way in which psychologists use to diagnose what mental health disorder a person is suffering from and the treatment they should receive. The DSM can determine the severity of the disorder by the symptom’s a person is showing. DSM is a consistent way of diagnosing mental disorders; although mental disorders are not something you can diagnose through blood tests each patient is different. Some patients could also hide symptoms. There are many different types of depression. These range from severe long term depression such as chronic depression to seasonal depression e.g. ‘Winter Blues’. Figures show that women are more likely to suffer from depression. 1 in 4 women, whereas only 1 in 10 in men. (Psychology Today) This can be due to uneven gender distribution. The Biological Model explains these figures best. An example could be Women are more subjected to fluctuating hormone levels (child birth); this increases the risk of depression.
There are many different models of abnormality, the majority of them favouring psychological explanations. The Behavioural Model, The Cognitive Model, and The Psychodynamic Model are three main psychological models and the Biological/Biochemical is the only biological model. Each of these models has different explanations and treatments, which I will discuss in more detail further on in my essay.
The biological explanation of depression can be described as a part of the mind that has no spark and cannot often allow people to think positively, it is a more ethical approach to explaining abnormalities. The biological model blames abnormalities on things such as chemical imbalances within the brain. For example serotonin is responsible for arousal and general happiness; individuals who are depressed tend to have low levels of serotonin. The biological model also explains abnormalities due to brain damage; infections and also inherited through genes. This model is more ethical as it does not put any blame on an individual or their thoughts; it bases the blame on activity within the body and brain.
There are three main treatments that the biological approach uses when dealing with abnormalities, these are: electroconclusive therapy, drugs and psychosurgery. One of the main causes of depression is low levels of serotonin; drugs are then used to adjust these levels. Leucht (2003) carried out an experiment to support drug effect, he found that new drugs had decreased relapse by up to 8%. Although drugs do treat depression they also have a lot of side effects as Leucht (2003) emphasises, some of these are weight gain and the increased risk of diabetes. Drugs can also become addictive which becomes another problem in itself.
Electroconvulsive Therapy is a way of altering chemicals within the brain by using electric shocks. These shocks when used with depression are aimed to get serotonin back to their normal state. ECT has many major side effects, it can cause memory loss and muscle damage. ECT is known to be effective but has a high rate