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The four main models to explain psychological abnormality are the biological, behavioral, cognitive, and psychodynamic models. We will also be discussing the humanistic-existential and the sociocultural model. They all attempt to explain what the causes and treatments for all psychological disorders are, and they’re all from a different approach.
Biological psychology is a field in which the mind and body connection is explored through clinical studies and scientific research. Researchers in this field study the biological basis of thoughts, emotions and behaviors. The model also suggests that psychological illness could and should be treated like a physical illness and can be treated with surgery or drugs. Electroconvulsive therapy has also proved to be a successful short-term treatment for depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder and related disorders, although there is no evidence to show why it was successful. The main treatments for a psychological disorder under the biological model are electroconvulsive therapy, surgery and drugs. These treatments at times can have some good results in restoring “normality” as biology has been shown to play some sort of role in psychological illness. However, they can also have consequences, whether biology is responsible or not, as drugs always have a chance of causing addiction. Electrotherapy can cause unnecessary stress and surgery and can dull the personality, as the part of the brain responsible for emotion is often altered or even completely removed.
The behavioral model assumes that all maladaptive behavior is essentially acquired through one’s environment. Therefore, psychiatrists practicing the beliefs of this model would be prioritizing the change of the behavior by identifying the cause of the dysfunctional behavior. The main treatment for a psychological disorder under this model is aversion therapy, where the stimulus that provokes the dysfunctional behavior is coupled with a second stimulus, with aims to produce a new reaction to the first stimulus based on the experiences of the second. Another treatment is systematic desensitization it can be used, especially where phobias are involved by using the phobia that currently causes the dysfunctional behavior and coupling it with a phobia that produces a more intense reaction. This is meant to make the first phobia seem less fearsome from comparing it with the second phobia. The behavioral model seems to have been reasonably successful, where phobias and compulsive disorders are concerned, but it doesn’t focus on the cause of the disorder or problem, so the full topic never gets addressed.
The cognitive model is comparable to the behavioral model, but the main difference is instead of teaching the person to behave in a different way, it teaches the person to think differently. They hope that if the person’s feelings and emotions towards something are influenced to change, it will induce external behavioral change. Though similar in ways to the behavioral model, psychiatrists of this model use different methods for treatment. The main treatment is rational emotive therapy and is based on the principle that if you “activate” an emotional event it will cause a change in thoughts toward that situation, even if it’s an illogical thought. So, with this therapy, it is the psychiatrist’s job to question and change the irrational thoughts. It’s like the behavioral model where the success is concerned, as it has also proved to be quite successful in the treatment of compulsive disorders and phobias. Although the cognitive model doesn’t deal with the cause of the problem directly, it does attempt to change the deeper situation more than the behavioral model.
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