Understanding the motive for mental health disorders, and seeing how to treat and remedy them, is a troublesome business. This is for two noteworthy reasons, firstly, there is significant variability within patients with regard to their symptoms, their ways of life, their medication patterns, and their social situation therefore establishing a cause and effective correlation is demanding and requires the study of large and well-characterised participant groups. Furthermore, whilst enhanced imaging techniques permit the structure and function of the brain to be analysed within a living tissue, the organ cannot be removed for detailed analysis; specimens of brain tissue that can be acquired are regularly influenced by after death perseveration processes and additionally by factors including drug treatment, injury, infectious disease or seizures.
This essay will give an explanation as to why animal studies are vital to understanding mental health. Animals have played an essential part in the exploration of mental conditions. A lot of what is known about the structure and characteristics of humans, has been gained from animal research in various situations. Significant researchers such as Darwin, Pavlov, Skinner, Pfaus and Philips, Mitra and Sapolsky, Santarelli, Meaney and plenty more have used animal models in their cutting edge studies. An extensive range of animals have been used to provide insights into developmental, psychiatric and degenerative conditions, mice and rats are the ideal models for mental health research; these animals have similar make up to humans, allowing for most beneficial cross-species translation of findings. Particularly, we can undertake experimental controls that could not be ethically or practically undertaken in humans e.g. dispensing drugs, lesioning parts of the brain, introducing genetic influence. We are able to explore brain tissue from such animals in intimate detail, an important advantage given the cellular intricacy of this organ (Datta, 2017). In neurobiology, our comprehension of homeostasis, inborn and extraneous reward, and the impacts of reinforcement on motivation all stem basically from animal studies. An enormous amount of our present know how of the physiological and neurophysiological bases of craving, thirst and sexual drive has evolved via investigations entailing the use of animals.
Without these trials and their discoveries, our comprehension of large areas of neuroscience may be considerably less. Be that as it may, what is frequently vague is whether a similar degree of learning could have been reached from different, non-invasive procedures, maybe without the utilisation of animals at all. Animal studies have been of extraordinary significance in the increased understanding and development of drugs for neurological and psychological disorders. Behavioural therapies are obtained from animal experiments, for example, aversion therapy, desensitisation and systematic reinforcement were all developed from studying animal behaviours and the innovative work of animal researchers like Pavlov’s experiments into classical conditioning, Skinner and his research into motivation using the Skinner box and Mitra and Sapolsky used rodent models in their studies into anxiety. Biological interventions such as neurosurgery, antipsychotics and antidepressants, could not have been developed without the use of animal models and investigations using animals.
These interventions now improve the quality of life for a large number of patients who would otherwise have been placed in a residential institution. It is important to note that the safe use of drugs, across medical science, not just in psychology, depends heavily upon research carried out on animal models, as researched by Santarelli et al with his study on mice into the efficiency of ADMs. How versatile to human beings is information from animal studies? The use of findings from animal studies to humans is regularly a worry in psychology, particularly in studies including complex regions or behaviours thought to be significantly further developed in humans, making us one of a kind. If humans are considerably more advanced than animals, particularly in capacities, for example, executive function, then it is justifiable why numerous would scrutinise the purpose of psychology experiments on substantially less advanced creatures like rodents. An animal specimen is never going to be 100 per cent representation of human life, structures, cognition or conduct.
Be that as it may mice and rats are close models and really fantastic portrayals of most human attributes and properties. Subsequently new innovative techniques will allow us to make more individual and more clinically-relevant genetic changes, to accurately adjust the activity of brain areas, to observe brain form and function throughout the animal’s life using imaging approaches, and to evaluate characteristics of behaviour and cognition that are commonly perturbed in mental health conditions. So why are animal models critical in psychological studies? Despite everything we have to go on comprehending the human mind, from behavioural, scientific and social points of view, extra research over all parts of brain science is a necessity. In my opinion, animal models keep on providing an important contribution to numerous areas of brain research. By and large animal models play an imperative role in mental health research, including life systems, physiology, behavioural and cognitive neuroscience. The brain is a complex organ containing a mixture of various structures and processes.
In the absence of knowledge acquired from research using animals in neuroscience labs on the fundamental structure of complex capacities, we will by no means completely comprehend the social, behavioural and intellectual elements of the human brain. Animal research is likely to add to an altogether enhanced comprehension of mental illness, and, ideally better access to more powerful medications for common and incapacitating conditions. Therefore, from an individual point of view I can value that animal models still hold an imperative place in neuroscience research. I also believe that the anatomical learning gained from these studies will form the basis for greater understanding of mental health, making animal models important for advancements.