Thought Assignment: Diagnosis, Theory, and Perspective

My topic of choice is Postpartum Depression (PPD), a mental health condition that affects some women after a birth of a child (Stewart & Vigod, 2016). Women with the condition may develop exhaustion, severe mood swings, and feelings of hopelessness. Over time, patients with PPD become insomniac and experience crying spells, anxiety, and difficulty bonding with their child (Stewart & Vigod, 2016). Without treatment, the patients are likely to develop Major Depression Disorder (MDD) associated with comorbidities, such as medical conditions that affect metabolism, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality (Gerber et al., 2016). In this paper, the biological model of abnormality was used to examine how family members can support PPD patients. Using the model is suitable because it provides a logical system for establishing the diagnosis and treatment for a condition based on credible science, such as medicine.

Theory: Biological Model

In abnormal psychology, abnormalities refer to people’s involuntary deviance from the ideal code of conduct (Bridley et al., 2020). Either rebelliousness or underlying physiologic function could trigger the deviance. Therefore, a classification model was developed for use in defining abnormal behavior. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is the broadly accepted classification model for identifying abnormal behavior. The model was developed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and published in 1952. The model contains five axes upon which a person’s mental health can be evaluated to determine the presence of abnormal behavior (Bridley et al., 2020). The first axis is the presence of typical clinical syndromes. The second axis is the persistence of the behavior for some time. The third axis is to assess the physical health of the person. The fourth axis is to check for underlying environmental and psychosocial problems (Bridley et al., 2020). Using the gathered information, a person’s level of functioning can be established.


In this paper, the target population comprises women who have given birth recently. The population was assessed for abnormal behavior, PPD, using the published version of the DSM. In the first axis, the common symptoms in women with PPD comprise feelings of hopelessness, exhaustion, and severe mood swings that affect bonding between the mother and the baby (Stewart & Vigod, 2016). The symptoms must have been occurring over a long period of more than two weeks. The relevant personal information important in establishing a diagnosis is that the patient should have given birth recently. The underlying environmental problem is the introduction of a newborn. Ratings about the functioning of a patient are established based on the ideal social code of conduct. In an ideal situation, new mothers love their infants and do not suffer extreme mood swings every often (Stewart & Vigod, 2016). Therefore, new mothers can be diagnosed with PPD when they develop severe mood swings that keep recurring.


The biological model’s propositions about abnormal behavior are established from a medical perspective (Bridley et al., 2020). The overall recommendation is that abnormal behavior is caused by malfunctioning sections of the brain of a person. The proposition is based on the assumption that the mind, neuro-anatomy, and related biochemicals work together to regulate a person’s moods. The theory’s premise is that mental illness can be diagnosed and treated, as is the case with physical illness (Bridley et al., 2020). The diagnosis of mental illness is made based on underlying environmental conditions in the brain. For example, a patient experiencing depression, having developed adverse symptoms, such as insomnia, and is threatening to commit suicide is likely to be diagnosed with a chemical imbalance in the brain. Medically, patients with psychological illnesses exhibit reduced levels of Serotonin in the brain (Marazziti, 2017). The same scenario is applicable in women who have delivered recently; they are inherently exhausted and experience severe mood swings. A possible diagnosis would be a chemical imbalance in the brain following the process of childbirth.


Diagnosis made from a medical perspective is treated using such approaches as psycho-surgery, prescription drugs, or behavioral therapy (Bridley et al., 2020). Prescription drugs are administered to mitigate the symptoms that informed decision-making about the diagnosis. Drugs are effective with almost instant improved health outcomes. However, users are at risk of reverting to the sick state once the blood concentration reduces (Bridley et al., 2020). Subsequently, some users may develop an unhealthy dependence on the drugs to function properly. In addition, psycho-surgery is rarely used because it is intrusive. The approach involves removing the brain nerve fibres that are thought to be causing abnormal behavior (Bridley et al., 2020). Behavioral therapy involves manipulating the conduct of a person by making them aware of their distorted cognitions and encouraging them to change potentially self-destructive actions.

Of the three treatment approaches for abnormal conduct, cognitive behavioral therapy effectively manages women with PPD. The aim of introducing the treatment regimen is to help alter how they think by demystifying the unrealistic expectations and incorporating healthy targets. The treatment approach was developed in the 1950s by an American psychologist called Albert Ellis (Bridley et al., 2020). The recommendations were inspired by teachings from Greek, Roman, Asian, and modern philosophers. The theory’s premise is that a person’s thinking pattern has a significant impact on their emotional state (Bridley et al., 2020). Therefore, care providers, family members, and friends must be blunt, honest, and logical to the new mothers around them. The family members can also say validation statements to mothers often to express warmth and support towards their endeavors.


I am curious about the instances when a woman carries a pregnancy to full term, experiences safe delivery, and is unable to bond with the baby because of the severe mood swings developed after childbirth. Such situations occur, and the victims improve with time after securing assistance from professionals and people around them. In this paper, the outline of the biological model of abnormality was used to examine how family members help someone with postpartum depression. The model has been customized to explain abnormal behavior from a medical point of view.

The findings from examining PPD are that the condition’s diagnosis is established as the imbalance of serotonin hormone in the brain. Therefore, treatment should focus on mitigating the symptoms that occur when the levels of serotonin hormone reduce. The common symptoms comprise severe mood swings and anxiety. The symptoms can be addressed using either prescription drug or cognitive behavioral therapy. Drug therapy would be effective for instant relief, possibly relapsing once the concentration of the drugs in the blood begins to reduce. Conversely, cognitive behavioral therapy would be slow but effective for improving mothers’ emotional state through constant words of affirmation from family members to make them aware of their cognition and encourage healthy and realistic expectations.


Bridley, A., Daffin Jr, L. W., & Cuttler, C. (2020). 2.3 The biological model. Abnormal Psychology. Web.

Gerber, M., Holsboer-Trachsler, E., Pühse, U., & Brand, S. (2016). Exercise is medicine for patients with major depressive disorders: but only if the “pill” is taken! Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 12, 1977-1981. Web.

Marazziti, D. (2017). Understanding the role of serotonin in psychiatric diseases. F1000Research, 6, 180. Web.

Stewart, D. E., & Vigod, S. (2016). Postpartum depression. New England Journal of Medicine, 375(22), 2177-2186. Web.

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