Discuss The Biological Explanation for Depression and Biological Treatments for Depression

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Discuss The Biological Explanation for Depression and Biological Treatments for Depression

The biological explanation or the ‘medical model’ would favour the nature side of the nature nurture debate. This approach or explanation of dysfunctional behaviour / depression asserts that something in our biology or genetic makeup is the cause of the affective disorder depression. / dysfunctional behaviour such as depression.

A number of things such as genetics (a predisposition), biochemical imbalance or even malformation of the structure of the brain are seen to contribute in their own ways to a person suffering from depression.

Research has provided evidence to suggest that depression, a mood disorder, may be caused by other family members being diagnosed. Having a first degree relative (parent or sibling) with depression appears to be a risk factor for depression. Family studies such as Wenders select people who already depression. Twin studies also provide evidence of depression running in families. In Wenders study (1986) they looked at the biological relatives of adopted people who had been hospitalised for severe depression. The study found a much higher incidence of severe depression in those relatives than those of a non-depressed control group Wender concluded from this research that there is a significant genetic link between unipolar depression and suicide as there were 15 times more suicides amongst the biological relatives of the participants with mood disorder compared to the adoptive parents.

One strength of the research into the genetic explanation for depression comes from the empirical support it provides; twin studies in monozygotic twins and dizygotic twins provide strong evidence to suggest genetic causation for depression and other disorders such as schizophrenia ( Gottesman and Shields). For example Bertelsen found a concordance rate of 80% of bipolar with MZ twins, but a rate of only 16% for DZ twins. This evidence suggests that there is a wider academic support that genetics play a part in affective disorders such as depression.

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One weakness of the genetic explanation is that there is a problem of the nature nurture argument. It is sometimes difficult to separate out the influence of nature/nurture. Whilst the twin studies provide strong evidence for the role of genetic factors and the adoption studies point to the role of nature over nurture this is not conclusive.

A further problem with the research is that there is an issue with population validity. The reason is because the samples used in such studies such as Wendlers are so small and there is therefore difficulty in generalising the results to the rest of ...

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