Biological perspectives of psychological disorders refer to the view that mental disorders are caused by biological factors such as genetics, chemical imbalances in the brain, and brain structure abnormalities. This perspective is also known as the medical model or biological model of understanding psychopathology.
1. Genetics: Research has shown that many mental disorders have a genetic component. For example, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are both more common in individuals who have a close relative with the disorder. This suggests that these disorders may be inherited.
2. Chemical Imbalances: The brain communicates through chemicals called neurotransmitters. Imbalances in these chemicals can lead to mental disorders. For example, depression has been linked to low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood.
3. Brain Structure: Abnormalities in the structure of the brain can also lead to mental disorders. For example, individuals with schizophrenia often have enlarged ventricles (fluid-filled spaces) in their brains.
4. Infections: Certain infections have been linked to brain damage and the development of mental illness or the worsening of its symptoms. For instance, a condition known as Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections (PANDAS), occurs when strep throat leads to a sudden onset of symptoms such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, tics, personality changes, decline in math and handwriting abilities, sensory sensitivities etc.
5. Prenatal Damage: A disruption of early fetal brain development or trauma that occurs at the time of birth -- for instance, loss of oxygen to the brain -- might be a factor in the development of certain conditions such as autism spectrum disorder.
6. Substance Abuse: Long-term substance abuse, in particular, can lead to anxiety, depression and paranoia.
7. Poor Nutrition and Exposure to Toxins: Poor nutrition and exposure to toxins such as lead during pregnancy may play a role in later cognitive difficulties.
These biological perspectives are not mutually exclusive and often interact with each other as well as with environmental factors to lead to the development of psychological disorders. For example, a person might have a genetic vulnerability to depression which is then triggered by a stressful life event.
It's important to note that the biological perspective does not negate the importance of psychological and social factors in understanding mental disorders. Rather, it provides one piece of the puzzle in understanding these complex conditions.