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Describe the biological (medical) model of abnormality and evaluate it in terms of its strengths and weaknesses. (12 marks)

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Introduction

´╗┐Describe the biological (medical) model of abnormality and evaluate it in terms of its strengths and weaknesses. (12 marks) The biological model of abnormality assumes that there is an underlining physiological cause of psychological disorders. Such disorders are considered as illness in the same way as the body can be affected by illnesses. The model includes the idea that genetic factors may be important in psychological disorders. As identical twins are 100% genetically identical and fraternal twins don?t share all of their genes, identical twins might be more similar if a condition is inherited. ...read more.

Middle

Evidence for this includes the effects of drugs such as amphetamines, which increase dopamine levels and can result in behaviour similar to schizophrenia. However, an alternative explanation is that people with schizophrenia are more sensitive to dopamine, rather than they have more of the chemical. Because the medical model assumes there is a physical cause of abnormality, it uses physical treatments. These include drug therapy, electro-convulsive therapy (which is sometimes used in very severe depression) and psychosurgery such as prefrontal lobotomies. One strength is that there is evidence supporting the view that there are physical causes underlying some psychological disorders. ...read more.

Conclusion

They may also have serious side effects. Another weakness of the medical model is that there are ethical issues raised by the use of treatments like ECT. It may be difficult to gain informed consent for treatment from someone with a psychological problem, especially if they don?t have insight into the condition. In conclusion, the medical model has provided evidence that there may be underlying physical causes of psychological disorders. The treatments derived from the approach are often effective, but can have unpleasant side effects and don?t provide a cure. However, despite its weaknesses, the strengths of the model have maintained its popularity. ...read more.

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