Chapter 11: Biopsychology of Psychological Disorders
The biological perspective views psychological disorders as linked to biological factors, such as genetics, chemical imbalances, and brain abnormalities (Spielman et al., 2020). Widespread evidence indicates that most psychological disorders have a genetic component. Researchers search for specific genes, genetic mutations, and epigenetic markers that contribute to mental disorders, and in turn may be targeted in future genetic-based therapies (e.g., Davidson et al., 2022). Sophisticated neuroimaging technology has revealed that abnormalities in brain structure and function are directly involved in many disorders. As imaging technologies continue to develop, they will continue to improve our understanding of psychological disorders. Advances in understanding neurotransmitters and hormones have yielded insights into their role in psychological disorders, and guide pharmacological treatment approaches.
Over the past decades, biological-based research has made incredible strides in understanding psychological disorders and informing treatment. However, biological markers are generally not reliable enough yet to be useful for clinicians in diagnosing disorders (Abi-Dargham et al., 2023).
In this chapter, we largely focused on pharmacological treatments, but many treatment approaches are effective. In addition to psychotherapy in its various forms, other effective treatment approaches include deep brain stimulation to treat depression, as well as yoga, music therapy, and exercise, as interventions to alleviate symptoms of anxiety. As biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors all contribute to psychopathology, it only makes sense that effective treatment approaches take many various forms.
This section contains material adapted from:
Spielman, R. M., Jenkins, W. J., & Lovett, M. D. (2020). 15.3 Perspectives on Psychological Disorders. In Psychology 2e. OpenStax. Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/psychology-2e/pages/15-3-perspectives-on-psychological-disorders License: CC BY 4.0 DEED.