PSYC 1F90 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Learned Helplessness, Bulimia Nervosa, Biomedical Model

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21 Mar 2016
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PSYC 1F90: Introduction to Psychology
Lecture 9 – Psychological Problems
Monday, March 14th, 2016
Are Psychological Problems Actually Physical Diseases?
What theoretical model is assumed in this question?
This question is problematic because it is based on an outdated model
Biomedical model: shaped by the notion that the body and the mind are separate from one
another
Would not see psychological problems as a physical disease
Biopsychosocial model: shaped by the notion that the body and the mind coincide with one
another
Would see psychological problems as a physical disease
Two better questions to ask:
How adequate is the biomedical model in accounting for psychological problems?
From a biopsychological perspective, how do “psychological problems” compare to “physical
diseases”?
The Adequacy of the Biomedical Model
Brief history (which speaks to assumptions)
1950 – 1980 (approximately)
Around the beginning of the 1950s, a new field began to look at psychological problem
The field of study grew/expanded throughout the 1960s and 1970s
During this time there was a massive expansion of psychology as a profession (studying
and treating psychological problems)
From the medical perspective, they had a new group without medical training
encroaching on their profession
In the 1980s, it became clear that the body was very influential in psychological problems
1980 – 2010 (approximately)
Rapid development of psychopharmacology
Psychopharmacology is the study of medication for psychological problems
From the biomedical perspective, if physical treatment of psychological problems
(i.e. medication) was effective, then it was a physical problem not a mental
problem
This led to the notion that physical factors were important in
psychological problems
Flawed logic
Based on the notion that because medication was effective, psychological
problems must be related to medication and this must be the diagnosis process
Led to the expansion of a movement which believed that psychological problems
must be related to specific medications
Example: If someone took aspirin for a headache and it was effective in treating
the headache, it would be flawed to think that the headache was from aspirin
depletion
Studies of brain structure and functioning
Studies demonstrate that people with certain severe diagnoses have differences in
the structure and functioning of the brain
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