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John Bowlby's Attachment Theory Essay

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The general opinion on the causes of mental disorders has evolved over the centuries. Many ancient civilisations, like India, China and Greece, referred to mental abnormality as ‘madness’ or ‘lunacy’, and blamed it on demonic possessions and divine punishment. This theory continued throughout the Middle Ages, despite more environmental factors had been suggested, e.g. intemperate diet and alcohol. It is not until the 19th century when more sophisticated ideas were developed. Sigmund Freud’s famous psychoanalysis theory in the 1890s changed the way scientists dealt with mental illnesses: Before, mental illness was almost universally considered 'organic', meaning it was thought to be caused by some kind of physical deterioration or changes of…show more content…
He claimed that the lack of a loving secure bond with a mother figure in early childhood can be detrimental to one’s mental health in future life. This was highly influential in causing widespread changes in the practices of institutional care for infants and children, and in changing practices relating to the visiting of infants and small children in hospitals by parents. A more recent yet controversial theory is Darwinian psychiatry. Michael McGuire, a prominent psychiatrist in this field, suggested in 1998 that mental disorders were due to the dysfunctional operation of mental modules adapted to ancestral physical or social environments but not necessarily to modern ones, and that some disorders had evolutionary advantages to the species. For example, depression is evolved to be a coping strategy for a reduction in expected goal achievement, and anorexia is an extreme adaptive method to enhance physical attractiveness, thus increasing the chance of reproduction. In contemporary mainstream Western psychiatry, one of the most widely accepted theories for the etiology of mental illness is the biopsychosocial model. Proposed by George Engel in 1977, it involves the interaction between biological, psychological and social factors, combining to cause patterns of distress or dysfunction or, more severely, trigger
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