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Describe two psychological wxplanations for schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder

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Describe two psychological explanations for schizophrenia & multiple personality disorders. Abnormal behaviour is difficult to define as there are no single characteristics that apply to all instances. A model of abnormality offers a complete and coherent explanation for the origins of abnormal behaviour. First we discuss the psychodynamic model/approach along with Freud's psychosexual development stages and defence mechanisms. Next we will look at multiple personality disorders and how Freud's psychodynamic theory explains it. The paper will then move onto the biological model/approach and how this explains abnormal conditions. We will then look at schizophrenia and how the biological theory explains what causes it. The psychodynamic model of abnormality was the first major challenge to the biological model. Freud and others developed this model through clinical work with mentally disordered patients. Freud believed that problems arose from dynamics of the personality (psyche), rather than from physical problems. Freud believed that the mind had both conscious and unconscious areas. The unconscious is the biggest part of the psyche and is dominated by the 'id'. Id is a primitive part of the personality and pursues only pleasure and gratification. It is only concerned with its desires being satisfied and is not interested in social rules. The second area is the conscious and it's 'ego'. This is the part of the mind which gives us contact to the outside world and works on the reality principle. ...read more.


To deal with a fixation Freud believed that we must go back and resolve the issues which led to the fixation. Such fixations could lead to characteristic 'personality types' such as oral receptive, oral aggressive, anal expulsive, and anal retentive. A fixation during the phallic stage could result in sexual deviances and a weak or confused sexual identity. (Cardwell et.al, pg 887) Another factor that affects the development of personality is the use of ego defences. These defences happen during the latency period and the ego uses these to reduce anxiety that arises from the id and its unacceptable demands. One of these defences is Displacement which is redirecting repressed desires, impulses and anger elsewhere. For example if we have an argument with a friend we take it out on our partner. Sublimation is another, which is transforming aggressive and sexual desires into some sort of socially acceptable expression such as kickboxing. Another is Projection which is when you blame someone else for your own unacceptable impulses. An example of this is accusing someone of not liking you when really it is you who doesn't like that person. Denial is another which is a major form of self protection, instead of facing what has or is happening you deny it. An example of this could be a person whom is terminally ill but will not except they are dying. ...read more.


(Cardwell et.al, pg 754) The causes of schizophrenia are not fully understood it seems that it arises from various factors. There is strong evidence that biological factors have an important part to play. Schizophrenia is almost certainly a disorder with a strong genetic component as there is evidence that it runs in families. (Carlson, pg 511) If genetic factors are important structural or biochemical abnormalities should be detectable in those diagnosed with schizophrenia. Advances in technology have enabled the medical profession to stud the live brains of those people with schizophrenia. MRI studies show quite definite structural abnormalities in the brains of many patients with schizophrenia. Brown et.al (1986) found decreased brain weight and enlarged ventricles. As more MRI studies are being taken, more abnormalities are being identified. A number of viral infections have been suggested as an explanation, in particular Influenza A. (Torrey et.al, 1988, Torrey et.al, 1996) The suggestion is that if the mother is infected during pregnancy there is a pre-birth exposure to the Influenza A virus. A 25 - 30 week old foetus is thought to be most vulnerable because of accelerated growth in the cerebral cortex at this time. (Mednick et.al 1988) It is hypothesized that the viral infection enters the brain until activated by hormonal changes in puberty. (Cardwell, pg 759) There is quite convincing evidence for both structural abnormalities and neurochemical abnormalities in the brains of individuals with schizophrenia, but there are conflicts as to whether they are a result from a genetic defect or from a birth defect leading to brain damage. ...read more.

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