Outline and Evaluate the Cognitive and Biological Explanations of Psychopathology.

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Psychopathology is the term used to describe psychological function which deviates from the norm. This can include mental disorders, and so explanations of psychopathology attempt to describe why individuals develop these disorders. As with all aspects of psychology, there are many different perspectives, and in this essay the Biological and Cognitive models will be addressed. The biological approach sees mental disorders as caused by abnormal physiological processes such as genetic and biochemical factors. Psychological abnormality, according to this model, is an illness or disease. The biological approach has dominated the field of mental health for the past 200 years. Disorders where a clear organic cause has not been identified have been traditionally referred to as functional disorders. However, people who adopt the biological approach believe that research will eventually show that all mental disorders have an underlying physical cause. Psychiatrists approach psychological abnormality in the same way that they would investigate physical illness: Classify the disorder as a recognised syndrome by identifying symptoms, Identify the underlying cause and prescribing an appropriate treatment or therapy. The four physical causes of mental disorders are brain damage, infection, biochemistry and genes. Once disease or brain damage has caused mental deterioration, there is no way to stop it. This deterioration can cause Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia, and Korsakoff’s disease, a profound impairment of the memory, usually caused by alcohol abuse. Infection can give rise to mental illness as well as physical illness such as flu or meningitis. Flu has been linked to schizophrenia, and recent studies suggest that 14% of schizophrenia cases may be linked to exposure to the flu virus in the womb during the first trimester. The sexually transmitted disease syphilis
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