Essay on The Biological Explanatory Model For Severe Mental Illness

Essay on The Biological Explanatory Model For Severe Mental Illness

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Individuals with serious and persistent mental illness, such as schizophrenia, must cope not only with the disabling psychotic symptoms but also with society 's stigmatizing attitudes towards them. While the exact etiology of mental disorders such as schizophrenia is still unclear, there is mounting evidence that neurobiological causes play a role (Davis, 2014). With this in mind, the psychiatric community has tried to place an emphasis on serious mental illness being equivalent to other physiological disorders in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with them. Anti-stigma campaigns have compared mental illness to physical ailments such as diabetes and cancer but have their efforts really succeeded in decreasing stigmatizing attitudes towards individuals with severe mental illness? This paper will serve to illustrate that not only has the use of the biological explanatory model for severe mental illness failed to decrease stigma, but its application can also lead to worse outcomes for individuals with these mental disorders.
Over the last few decades, advancements in health technology and increased research into mental illness has led to significant gains in knowledge about the potential causes of disorders such as schizophrenia (Schomerus et al., 2012). In Canada, the biological explanatory model has become the most widely-accepted viewpoint in regards to serious and persistent mental illness (Davis, 2014). This model views schizophrenia and other serious mental disorders as being "brain diseases" with neurobiological origins that are manageable with pharmacological treatment (Davis, 2014). This explanatory model is not without its benefits: the use of this model has been shown to increase help-seeking behaviour as indivi...


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...covery model are a step in the right direction, viewing psychotic symptoms in a bio-psycho-social context and collaborating with clients on treatment goals rather than emphasizing the elimination of symptoms as the main objective (Davis, 2014). In order to help clients achieve the best outcomes possible, it is necessary to integrate the client 's lived experiences and personal expertise with our skills and knowledge to provide holistic care. It is part of a psychiatric nurse 's responsibility to work towards decreasing stigma and advocating on behalf of clients to minimize the discrimination they often face. It is clear that the continued emphasis on the biological model when attempting to educate the public on mental illness needs to be replaced with a more comprehensive model that highlights our shared humanity rather than accentuating an "us vs. them" mentality.

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