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Psychology questions - Evaluate the models of explanation of mental disorders.

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Psychology Test 5: 1. Give examples to distinguish between cognitive and behavioral models (use treatment for a condition to explain). (3 marks) Ans) The cognitive model is a reaction to the behavioral approach. The basic assumption of this approach is that abnormal behavior is caused due to faulty thinking processes. The cognitive model is based on the idea that faulty thinking causes faulty behavior and that negative thoughts lead to irrational beliefs and illogical errors. For example, cognitive treatments for depression try to restructure the faulty cognitions which are the assumption of the cognitive theory about depression. The aim of this therapy is to restructure thoughts from illogical thinking to rational thinking. The behaviorists have a deterministic view of mental disorders. The two basic assumptions of the behaviorist model are that all behavior, including maladaptive behavior, is learnt and what is learnt can be unlearnt. For example, behaviorist treatments for depression are based on the assumption that depressed behaviors are learnt and so can also be unlearnt. The treatment teaches patients by reinforcing them for non-depressive behaviors. 2. Define mood disorders. (3 marks) Ans) Mood disorders are characterized by marked disturbances in emotional state, which affect thinking, physical symptoms, social relationships, and behavior. Mood disorders include the diagnoses of depression, bipolar disorder, grief reactions, seasonal affective disorder, cyclothymic disorder, and dysthymic disorder. Mood disorder is a general term and not a specific diagnosis. ...read more.


The behavioral model has two basic assumptions which are-all behavior, including maladaptive behavior, is learnt and what is learnt can be unlearnt. The advantages are that it has led to the development of specific behavioral therapies, many of which have had high success rates. Also, proponents of the model argue that once the symptoms of an illness are alleviated, the complaint disappears. The weakness of this model is that the model is reductionist in the sense that it reduces the complexity of human behavior to behavioral responses to environmental stimuli. Also, only the symptoms of illnesses are treated, not the underlying causes. The cognitive model assumes that abnormal behavior is caused due to faulty thinking processes. The advantage is that the model promotes psychological well-being by teaching people the means of control over their own lives. Also, there is much evidence of maladaptive thought processes in people with psychological disorders. The weakness includes that the disordered cognitions may be a result of the disorder, not the cause and also the emphasis on the individual draws attention away from social support systems and the need to locate the causes of psychological distress in wider social, political and cultural contexts. The psychodynamic model assumes that the root of all mental disorders is psychological. The advantages of this model include the fact that by developing a method of treatment, Freud encouraged a more optimistic view regarding psychological distress. ...read more.


Pregnancy and birth factors are also used to explain schizophrenia. Torrey et al states that there is a correlation between being born in winter and early spring and developing schizophrenia. He also supported the viral hypothesis from the observation that in history, peaks in schizophrenia diagnosis have corresponded with major flu epidemics. Psychologists have also found treatments for schizophrenia. Chemotherapy can be used to treat schizophrenics. This is the use of anti-psychotic drugs to treat psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia. This is a very effective treatment as NHS cites a 50%-60% success rate for chemotherapy as well as the ease of administration and immediate relief. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is also used to treat schizophrenics. Low voltage shocks are given to the patient in an attempt to restore the abnormal neurotransmitter level in individuals. This is a temporary relief and not a cure. Sackeim et al has shown that 60% of patients have responded to the treatment. Another treatment is Psychosurgery which is a very controversial method that includes procedures like pre-frontal lobotomy and computer based imagery to remove large sections and burn tissue. Moniz claims a 70% success rate with schizophrenia. But this should be used only as a last resort as the patient undergoes irreversible operations with many side effects and requires strong rehab because recovery would be slow. In conclusion, psychologists have discovered a lot about schizophrenia and are still uncovering more and more information every day. ...read more.

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