Anorexia Nervosa (Phychology)

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PSYCHOLOGY EXAM ESSAY PLAN TWO OR MORE EXPLANATIONS FOR MENTAL DISORDERS There are several approaches in psychology which attempt to explain mental disorders. The biological approach sees a mental disorder as a medical problem, it assumes mental illness to have a physical cause and the treatment offered is physical. Behavioural approach emphasise learned behaviour, its treatment is based on conditioning principles. New adaptive behaviours are learned. Other approaches which propose causes of mental disorders as psychological are psychodynamic and cognitive approaches. Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses. One illness that is classified as a mental disorder is Anorexia Nervosa. The main characteristics of this…show more content…
In operant conditioning if behaviour is rewarded it will be repeated. If a person is told how they have lost weight and how beautiful they look, this will make them want to keep losing weight. Social learning theory suggests we learn behaviours by watching others then copying them. Nasser (1986) compared Egyptian women studying in Cairo and in London. 12% of those in London developed an eating disorder and in Cairo none of them did. The media plays a big role in portraying thin girls as more beautiful. People observe and take ideas from what they see or hear then there is vicarious reinforcement- living second hand. They imitate what they have observed. The patient can watch a therapist experiencing the phobic situation calmly then they can do the same- modelling. The behavioural model assumes that what can be learned can be unlearned. It uses the token economy, rewarding socially desirable behaviours to encourage good behaviour and discourage bad behaviour. Systematic desensitisation can be used to treat phobias by teaching patients to pair the feared thing with relaxation than anxiety. The behavioural approach is successful to some extent in treating specific phobias or anorexia. The patient is not blamed for the illness and is given power to change by unlearning what they learnt. It is scientific in that experiments have been done although Ethologists

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