Where Psychology and Neuroscience Intersect

In today’s world, it is clear that there is a link between psychology and biology. These two fields overlap in a number of ways, and I think it is very fascinating how the intersection of these disciplines has influenced the broader field of healthcare and medicine. My initial thought to the question posed about why there is an intersection between psychology and biology was that there appears to be a fine line between the two disciplines; psychological disorders are sometimes treated medically (i.e. with medicine), and this has always intrigued me. For example, depression, a well-known psychiatric disorder, is often treated with medication in combination with CBT. To me, this indicates that depression has both a neuroscientific (i.e. biological) and psychological component to it. On the one hand, medication is given to treat the chemical imbalances within the brain believed to be a major component of depression, and on the other hand, counseling is used as a means of shifting the way individuals think, feel, and perceive the world around them (e.g. cognitive distortions).

A discussion in one of my sociology classes forced me to think about the difference between a disease and a disorder. The terms are often used interchangeably, and I myself have made this mistake. After looking to the Web to help me further understand their differences, I learned that disease relates to impaired or disordered functioning of an organism, while a disorder is defined as not only a derangement or abnormality of function, but as a morbid physical or mental state (sireninteractive.com). How, then, does this influence healthcare and the treatment methods they implement?

Although this may seem like a jump from the above discussion, I also thought about Descartes’ philosophy of mind-body dualism. He posits that the mind and body are separate entities, but when I think of some psychiatric disorders, and the world around us, I am inclined to believe that the mind and body are indeed interconnected systems. Although science cannot prove anything per se, there is certainly an array of literature that suggests that our thoughts can influence our health and well-being. Although this is an oversimplification of such theories, they often indicate that perpetual negative thoughts can lead to a decline in well-being, while positive thoughts and a general positive outlook on life can help to improve one’s general well-being.

I cannot attest to the truth of these theories; however, I think that this line of research alone suggests that the interconnectedness of biology and psychology runs deeper than we often think.

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