The Biological Perspective 2 ...
Brain and Behavior:
The brain .... and ?

Thoughts from last discussion
Bio = genetic?
Psycho = experience? Together = individual, at a given time? Social = relation/"fit" of individual and culture?

Life span = change over time

Brain in relation to behavior - Maybe that's all there is?

Brain

"Self" and ... ? The tacit/"I-function" complementarity The self in context

Ways of influencing the brain


Pros and cons of thinking about mental health in brain=behavior context

conspros
propensity to "medical model" attitude

associated presumption of "illness" as distinct category

associated assumption of perfectibility

associated assumption of "patient" as object

associated look for "quick fix" therapies

a "neurobiological model" attitude?

accepts existence of innate influences, of continuous variation among individuals

emphasizes importance as well of experience and of personal choice

acknowledges that some kinds of changes take extended time at best, may not be achievable at worst

incorporates cultural context dependence

Some specific cases

Depression
  • Variation rather than "illness"?
  • Genetic factors plus?
  • Relation to personal choice/mind?
  • mood semi-autonomy
  • advantages of mood variation
  • chemical influences
  • "just" chemicals?
I have had many concerns about writing a book that so explicitly describes my own attacks of mania, depression, and psychosis, as well as my problems acknowledging the need for ongoing medication ... but one of the advantages of having had manic-depressive illness for more than thirty years is that very little seems insurmountably difficult.

Kay Refield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind, Vintage Books, 1995

Manic-depression is part of my life. I cannot deny that. It is encoded in my genes. But that doesn't mean it has to rule my life -- and I haven't let it.

Ashley Plotnick

Tourette's Syndrome
  • Variation rather than "illness"?
  • Genetic factors plus?
  • Relation to personal choice/mind?
   

Autism
  • Variation rather than "illness"?
  • Genetic factors plus?
  • Relation to personal choice/mind?
  This is a story of two battles, a battle to keep out the "world" and a battle to join it. ... I have, throughout my private war, been a she, a you, a Donna, a me finally, an I. All of us will tell it like it was and like it is. If you sense distance, you're not mistaken; its real. Welcome to my world.

Donna Williams, Nobody Nowhere, Avon Books, 1992

Schizophrenia
  • Variation rather than "illness"?
  • Genetic factors plus?
  • Relation to personal choice/mind?
   
Addiction
  • Variation rather than "illness"?
  • Genetic factors plus?
  • Relation to personal choice/mind?
  "But I still think about how to get high every day. And that's the part of my addiction that eats me alive".

"Staying Clean", New York Times Magazine, 10 February, 2002

Brain=behavior as incentive for development of therapeutic practice?
of a new kind of therapeutic alliance/community?

Added notes
Additional important feature of "new" ns is "inhibition"
Strengthen depression as "model case", importance of cultural response to depression, potential for alternatives
Strengthen "new kind of therapeutic alliance/community"
Strengthen themes of advantages of thinking in re material object and of personal choice (use arrows but also "paint in different colors")




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