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Critically assess the extent to which the medical model of abnormality has successfully explained mental-ill health.

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Introduction

Critically assess the extent to which the medical model of abnormality has successfully explained mental-ill health. (18 Marks) The medical model (sometimes known as the biological model) became most dominant in the middle of the 19th Century, and is still the most dominant model up to date. It was thought that abnormal behaviour came from mental illness caused by organic or physical disorder. This is a biological approach regarding abnormality as an illness or disease. Some mental illnesses have been linked to microorganisms. Barr et al 1990 found there was increased evidence of schizophrenia in children whose mothers had the flu when they were pregnant. This suggests that the cause of mental illness might be a disease. Psychiatrists usually adopt this model as they are trained in medicine having obtained a medical degree. Doctors base their diagnosis on physical symptoms e.g. raised blood pressure. Although many psychological disorders do not have physical basis so psychologists have to base their diagnostic on behaviour, thoughts, and feelings. ...read more.

Middle

It is rare that twins get separated at birth, so there is only a small sample, which people can find results from. Although this sample is small, it has still been theoretically proven that mental illnesses can be biologically influenced. The biological model says that once the physical cause of a psychological disorder has been identified, a physical therapy is needed to treat the physical problem. A method of theory is chemotherapy, which involved the use of drugs. The drugs range from 1. Minor tranquillisers e.g. anxiety disorders 2. Antidepressant e.g. depression disorders 3. Major tranquillisers e.g. manic depression, schizophrenia It is said that these drugs do relive the symptoms, but usually have side effects ranging from fever and nausea, to becoming dependant on the drug, convulsions and even death. Thus making some of the side effects worse than the disorder. Prozac, the drug taken for depression is effective in 65% to 75% of cases, showing that the drugs will work differently on some people than others. ...read more.

Conclusion

Gene therapy is another method of helping with mental disorders. The Human Genome Project aims to show the complete genetic make up of humans. In the future individually made genetic engineering may help those at risk from inherited mental disorders. Howvere a problem with this theorpy is that eveidence suggests that it is not only genes that cause mental illness, it is also our environment e.g. upbringing, but genes just increase the chance off getting a mental illness. The Diatheses Stress Model says it is an interaction between genes and the envoronment that causes mentall illness. Although there have been a lot of bad points mentioned about this medical model, about it raising ethical concerns, I still feel that is it a very effective and successful model. This is because mental illnesses must be related to our biological make up as for e.g. drugs to work. Therefore mental illnesses must be chemical imbalances in the brain. Also, it had been proven that mental illnesses could be inherited through testing with family history e.g. manic depression and schizophrenia tends to run in the family. No wonder that this is why the biological (medical) model is the most dominant model. ...read more.

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