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Outline & Evaluate The Biological Explanation Of Phobic Disorders:

1578 words - 7 pages

Outline & evaluate the biological explanation of phobic disorders:

The biological explanation for the acquisition of phobic disorders establishes that phobias are caused by genetics, innate influences and the principles of biochemistry. This theory recognises that an oversensitive fear response may be inherited, causing abnormal levels of anxiety. This is illustrated in the basis of inheritance, particularly the adrenergic theory that convicts that those who have an acquisition to phobic disorders consequently show high levels of arousal in the automatic nervous system, which leads to increased amounts of adrenaline, thus causing high levels of anxiety.

However this theory lacks ...view middle of the document...

Nonetheless this element of evidence into the biochemistry of phobic disorders, does demonstrate scientific knowledge, which other explanations including the cognitive theory are void of, adding credibility to the explanation overall.

The theory however does lack reliability, as it does not consider individual differences, as there is an avoidance of looking at the type of individual who is suffering from the phobic disorders, as it only looks at the genetic and innate cause of the phobia. As although Eysenck depicted through the introvert and extrovert scale, that those individuals with anxiety disorders including phobic disorders, may have an personality trait of an anxious disposition, he defined it as an ‘inherited trait’. This lack of focus on the individual forms a juxtaposition with the cognitive theory, which actually looks at the thought process of the individual in causing the phobia. This suggests that there is a lack of consistency in the causation of phobias in relation to the biological theory, as it does not take into account the impact of the individual’s actions and thoughts, which could actually trigger a phobic disorder.

Moreover, one of the main aspects of the theory; genetics is demonstrated through family studies which propose that through sharing the genetics of a family member with a phobic disorder, there is an increased risk that the individual may consequently develop a similar disorder, as Fyer et al recognised that probands had 3x as many relatives who experienced similar phobias. This has been further highlighted by Ost who exposed that 64% of blood phobic’s had at least one relative with the same disorder.

This facet of the theory appears to lack reliability as Ost only acquired a percentage of 64% in relation to blood phobic’s, not 100% leaving 36% not accounted for, causing the concordance rate to appear an inadequate percentage as it is only just over half. It can therefore be criticised as it is not enough to rule out other explanations including the cognitive and psychodynamic theory of phobic disorders, establishing an lack of confidence in the biological theory overall, as it only suggests that genetic factors may predispose phobias rather than cause them.

Parallel to this, the focus on genetics is Particularly convicted in twin studies, which establish a comparison between monozygotic twins that are identical and dizygotic twins, which are opposingly non-identical. This distinction can be identified in Torgersens study, which compared MZ and same sex DZ twins where one proband had an anxiety disorder, and it was discovered that such disorders were 5x more frequent in MZ twin pairs, who mutually shared identical genetics.

This theory creates an issue, as it only looks at nature’s impact as the root cause of phobic disorders and relishes in not accounting for environmental causes, which are posed by nurture. This aspect of nurture which is ignored can be questioned in the twin studies as...

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