In fact, the ancient Greeks had recognised that abnormalities such as epilepsy might be caused by brain disorders, but it was not until physiologists like von Haller and Greisinger argued that the brain played a crucial role in causing abnormal behaviour that the biological approach ‘took off’. The biological approach to the causes of abnormality The biological approach sees abnormality as being caused by physical factors. The three physical factors are: (1) Brain damage (2) Faulty regulation of brain biochemistry (3) Genetic factors Brain damage: Early support for the biological approach came from studies of patients suffering from a condition called 'general paresis of the insane'. This condition is characterised by delusions of grandeur and mental deterioration. However, far from being caused by 'demonic possession', research showed that its causes were biological (it occurs if syphilis is left untreated - the syphilis bacterium makes its way to the brain and causes damage to it).
Abnormal behaviour is closely linked to the underlying causes behind it. Possession by evil spirits at the ancient times, possessions by demons or the devil at the middle age, and a result of environmental stress around the 18th century, are some of the several explanations, throughout history, that have been speculated and regarded as causes of abnormal behaviour (Cardwell, M. 2008). Until this day, abnormalities are approached by a number of different theories such as psychological models and the medical or biological model. One-dimensional models assume there is a single underlying cause to a particular abnormality, whereas multidimensional models assume, as the name suggests, multiple causes or factors in interaction. The diathesis-stress model, as an example of a multidimensional model, suggests that a disorder depends on two distinct factors: Diathesis: a vulnerability or pre-disposition, and stress: a severe or disabling environmental event (Eysenck, M. 2008).
According to the biological model, there are a few biological things that explain abnormalities; genetics, brain damage, infections, biochemistry and neuroanatomy. The biological model states that some people might be genetically at risk of developing a mental disorder. However, there is only evidence for this in the cases of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. For example, first degree relatives are more likely to develop schizophrenia than second degree relatives. Gottesman & Shield (1972) found that concordance rate for schizophrenia in non-identical twins is approximately 9% whereas for identical twins, the concordance rate is 42%.
As monozygotic twins have 100% of genes in common, it is suggested that the concordance rate for them is greater then dizygotic twins. Gottesman and Shields confirmed that the average concordance rate for monozygotic twins is 46% whereas is it only 14% in dizygotic twins. These averages were worked out from five studies that they conducted. Adoption studies can separate the environment from genes. An early adoption study by Heston in 1966 of 47 mothers with schizophrenia whose
Some of the symptoms, e.g. delusions of grandeur were reflective of this whilst others, such as auditory hallucinations reflected the individual’s attempts to re-establish ego control. This theory is largely based on speculation as it isn’t possible to empirically test the concepts put forth, such as the unconscious processes and regression, therefore it cannot be ascertained that this is categorically what causes the development of schizophrenia. The over-emphasis on early childhood experiences being the root cause means that current problems the individual may be experiencing is overlooked. The setting in which they are in is not accounted for; Brown and Birley (1968) have provided evidence that suggests the occurrence of stressful life events increases susceptibility to
A variety of theories have sought to explain schizophrenia at the psychological level. One being the psychodynamic approach which follows a fixed set of assumptions such as the role of unconscious processes and the psychodynamic conflict in which different parts of the mind are in constant dynamic struggle with each other and the consequences of this struggle are important in understanding behaviour. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of schizophrenia involves two related processes, regression to a pre-ego stage and attempts to establish ego control. Freud believed that schizophrenia is caused when trauma from unresolved conflict between the id, ego, and superego is repressed into the unconscious and this causes regression to an earlier stage of psychosexual development. Fixation and regression means that the ego is not fully developed and so the individual may be dominated by the id or the superego, and because the ego is weak the individual will lack a sound basis in reality.
The first explanation of phobias is the genetic explanation, which argues that phobias are hereditary. Most if the family studies conducted by researchers have found that relatives of those with phobias are more likely to suffer phobias themselves compared with relatives of non-phobic controls. A twin study by Slater and Shields 1969 found 41% concordance in 17MZ twin pairs versus 4% in 28 DZ twin pairs for any type of anxiety disorder. However even though studies have proven to support the genetic problems there are a number of difficulties with family studies. The main problem is that in most cases family members share the same environment so it can be argued that it was the environment that caused them to equally learn the behaviour instead of the genetic relationship.
How ‘no accident’ is going to achieve? Unfortunately. ‘No accidents’ are not possible. The definition of ‘accident’ is an unexpected and undesirable event, especially one resulting in damage or harm that’s why the probability of accidents cannot be 0, but only be minimized, because there are too many factors and uncertainties human being cannot control. Let’s say an accident happen usually depends on two aspects: man made factor (for example: how well does the equipment perform) which can be foreseen and prevented and random uncertainties (for example: natural disaster) which cannot be controlled, we can keep on improving the equipment to reduce the impact and probability of the accidents but random uncertainties are really hard to prevent.
However, Durkheim rejected this theory for two reasons; one, there is no concrete proof to show the existence of monomania, second, mental functions are completely dependent on one another, and insanity is present in one area, then it should also be present in another as well, that is if insanity affects one function it should affect at the other functions as well. Therefore the concept of monomania, where an individual displays normal behavior in every other action but shows absolute abnormality in just one particular action is unacceptable and therefore the idea that insanity causes suicide does not hold true according to Durkheim Suicide And Normal Psychological Conditions , Heritance: Durkheim then turns his attention to normal psychological conditions such as race, nationality and heredity to which psychologists attributed suicide to. He believed that to sociologically define race was a difficult task yet he studied the theory given by Morselli regarding race and its effects on suicidal tendencies. Morselli identified four groups on the basis of suicidal rates, put them in descending order and concluded that the Germans had the highest rate of suicides, then came
While biology simply makes individuals more susceptible to a psychological disorder, environmental triggers are crucial for the actual development. This is evident when comparing the etiology of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Schizophrenia, and Bulimia Nervosa. However since abnormal behavior is subjective and unique to every person affected, there is no measurable discrete conclusion to the significance of influence that each etiological factor has on the development of psychological disorders. For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to develop, an individual must witness or experience a traumatic event, which is an environmental factor regardless of intensity and long-term effect. It is undeniable that environment is the most influential factor that contributes to the development of PTSD, however genetics have an effect on an individual’s ability to handle and display emotions.