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Analyzing Psychological Disorders - Term Paper Example

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Analyzing Psychological Disorders Your Name Your school Abstract This paper examines schizophrenia and two cases, one involving generalized anxiety disorder and one involving anorexia nervosa from the perspective of biopsychology. In analyzing schizophrenia, the neural basis is explored along with the areas of the brain affected as well as the symptomology and possible treatments from this perspective…
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Download file to see previous pages Courses of treatment based on this model are proposed in both case studies. In the end, this paper points to the more balanced perspective of biopsychology as offering more possibilities for effective treatment of mental illness. Introduction The human body is a team of components working together as a whole entity. Therefore, in understanding mental illness, we must not compartmentalize as separate functions the biological and experiential processes operating in persons presenting themselves to us with psychological issues. The experience of a person offers an environment, a history, and a perspective essential to a thorough understanding of his biological components. The biological processes of the human body are essential in the understanding and treatment of mental illness especially the central nervous system, brain functioning, and neurotransmitter activity. Their interactions have a crucial impact on a person’s psychological health, affecting how he or she perceives and lives life. Part A: Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is the most complex of the mental illnesses in its causality, symptomology, and treatment. Yet, an understanding of the neurological and biological functioning of the brain can not only assist medical professionals in finding and applying the best treatments, but also assist patients in coping with the illness in a positive and productive way. (Frese, 1993) The most common symptoms of schizophrenia include: auditory hallucinations, delusions of persecution and/or control or delusions of grandeur, disorganized thinking and speech, flat affect (consistently showing little or no emotion), and inappropriate behavior (such as social isolation or catatonia). (See Pinel pg. 457) Two of these symptoms must be present for at least 30 days to meet criteria for a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and ideally a thorough physical examination including diagnostic testing should be administered to rule out any other possible diagnoses. (Haycock, 2009) Some of the diagnostic testing that includes brain imaging technologies such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and PET (positron emission tomography) scans has also clearly shown that the frontal and temporal lobes and the amygdala are the areas of the brain most altered in schizophrenia patients. (Kircher, et al. 2006, pg 302) Studies that include brain imaging technologies have shown that the connectivity between these regions of the brain is dysfunctional. (Tregallas, 2009) They have also shown both gray and white brain matter volume abnormalities in schizophrenic patients. (Lim, 2007) In addition, there are also abnormalities in the neurotransmitter systems regulating brain function; the first discovered abnormality being the presence and transmission of dopamine. The neural basis for understanding and treating schizophrenia began with the “dopamine theory” (see Pinel, pg 458) that schizophrenia is caused by excessively high dopamine levels in the brain. As research continued in the effects of the drugs given to schizophrenia patients, it was discovered that while some drugs deplete the supply of dopamine, others bind themselves to dopamine receptors effectively blocking the ability of dopamine to activate them. This blocking of the dopamine activity sends a signal to the brain to produce more dopamine which is then broken down in the synapse resulting in an ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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