When it comes to looking at the biogenic perspective of psychopathy, it is much more difficult to apply it to phobia etiology and treatment, as there is very little that it directly suggests for such a case. Instead, it is perhaps better to take a more general view of biogenic etiologies and treatments, and understand that each could be seen to apply to phobias, if the case was deemed relevant (or in many cases severe) enough. As previously explained, the etiology involved in the biogenic perspective is very clear cut. Any behavioural or mental deviance from the norm is seen to result from some malfunction of the brain itself.

The treatments involved on the other hand are much more diverse, ranging in both style and severity10.The first, and least severe corrective measure that can be taken is psychopharmacology or drug therapy. This is the subscription of various chemicals that are designed to in some way alter the human biochemistry, and in biogenics there are four categories; antiolytics, Neuroleptics, antidepressants and antimanics.

Antiolytics is the category term for depressants and minor tranquillisers (such as Valium). They are mainly prescribed to reduce anxiety or depression without the need for hospitalisation.Neuroleptics are major tranquillisers that are used mainly to calm severely disturbed individuals. Their effect and us is such that they have gone a long way to replacing ‘strait jackets’.

Instead of inhibiting certain chemical reactions in the brain (as seen with the antiolytics) they actually block certain neural receptors (such as dopamine receptors) completely. The more severe effects of these drugs mean that they can often lead to side effects such as blurred vision, reduction in white blood cell production and uncontrollable shaking. Antidepressants (such as Prozac) are stimulants, which are used to treat depression, anxiety, agoraphobia etc. they work by temporarily increasing the supply of noradrenaline and seratonin to the brain.Again, the nature of the drug means that they can often lead to harsh side effects with continued use, such as heart problems and even brain haemorrhages. Antimanics are used to control severe, bipolar mental disorders such as bouts of mania or severe depression. Side effects can include weight gain, tremors, dry mouth, impaired memory and kidney disease. Drug therapy is particularly relevant to this discussion as it is the only one of the biogenic therapies generally used to deal with phobias, although they are not particularly useful with specific phobias11.

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Anti anxiety drugs (tranquillisers) can be administered just before or during a phobic situation to induce calm and relaxation (as well as drowsiness and lethargy). As such a person who has a phobia of flying may take such drugs to help him take a flight. The problem with psychopharmacology in this and all other conditions is that it is only a short term solution, it deals with immediate symptoms but does not effect the underlying cause12.

Moreover, even if the drug itself is not addictive, the patient can often become dependant on it to continually alleviate the symptoms from which he suffers.The second type of therapy involved in biogenics is Electro-Convulsive Therapy (E.C.T.

). In this procedure, a series of electrical shocks are applied to the temporal region of the brain to alter brain synapse patterns and therefore stop the impulses which cause depression, schizophrenia and other such disorders. It is seen to have an immediate effect and an 80% success rate where drugs have failed13. Although it is believed that that this therapy works by causing the release of noradrenaline which effects seratonin and dopamine levels, and other similar biochemical changes, it is not known for certain. Moreover, it is not always successful, not always of long term effect, and can lead to permanent memory loss and brain damage.The final type of biogenic therapy in use is psychosurgery, which involves physically tampering with and often removing parts of the brain. It is used to permanently destroy specific connections in the brain with the aim of disrupting psychotic thoughts and impulses in patients.

Techniques include lobotomies, lobectomies and cauterisations. This is a last step measure that is now replaced where possible by psychopharmacology, as there is no great understanding in how it works, no major consistency in the results, and the process is irreversible. Moreover, the side effects of the procedure include apathy, partial paralysis, permanent memory and general brain damage, and can even lead to death. Although all of the biogenic treatments come with associated risks and can seem very dangerous, they are only ever administered where they can be perceived as the lesser of two evils, i.e. where the effects and risks are relatively less than the current suffering of the patient.Both the psychoanalytic and biogenic perspectives of psychopathy, then, can be seen to be less than perfect. There are many who would claim that it is debatable that psychotherapy has any real benefits whatsoever, and that those ‘successes’ seen so far could have been totally unrelated to the therapy which the individual was undergoing.

Biogenics is also criticised by many for being the practice of ‘scientific guesswork’, and for being unethical, as most often the patients are in no objective state to give consent to such treatments. It has to be remembered, however, both perspectives are still in their relative infancy, and both have still enjoyed a relative amount of success. Also, these two are not (as previously mentioned) the only two perspectives on psychopathy available.

Perhaps then to get a full understanding of the mature of mental and behavioural problems these perspectives need to be researched further, or possibly even combined to some extent.References (Primary):1) Atkinson, R.L., Atkinson, R.C., Smith, E.E., Benn, D.

J., Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (Eds.) (1999) Hilgard’s Introduction to Psychology, Harcourt Brace.2) Gleitman, H. (1995) Gleitman Psychology, Norton Publishing.3) Gross, R.

D. ; Humphreys P. (1993) Psychology: the Science of Mind and Behaviour, Hodder ; Stoughton.

4) Wallerstein, R.S. (1975) Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, International Universities Press, Inc.5) Corsini, R.J. ; Wedding, D.

(1995) Current Psychotherapies, F.E. Peacock.