Paradigms in psychopathology have been advancing in how we diagnose and investigate abnormal behavior. Current paradigms have been instrumental in understanding and creating effective treatments for abnormal behavior. In specific, the biological viewpoint or neuroscience has been greatly advancing in how we treat and investigate neural imbalances .
The biological viewpoint uses the central and autonomic nervous system as its main principal in addressing abnormal behavior. One of the historical breakthroughs in the traditional biological view was general paresis and its link to syphilis, focusing on mental disorders as diseases, "The disorders first recognized as having biological or organic components were those associated with gross destruction of brain tissue (Butcher, Hooley & Mineka 2014)". However, mental disorders are usually not directly linked to neurological tissue damage, but rather the functioning of neurotransmitters in the synapse. The major principle of neuroscience focuses on how messages travel via the neuron throughout the brain. .
The charge within a cell membrane of a neuron is due to negatively charged proteins, potassium cations, sodium cations and chloride anions. .
Electrical impulses trigger action potentials when the cell membrane of an axon becomes depolarized. Depolarization is a process in which two major forces act on ions, both diffusion and electrostatic pressure creating a slightly positive charge within the membrane. The action potential starts when sodium ions flood into gated channels originating in the axon hillock. The action potential is then reached when electrical impulses surpass the membranes resting potential (-60mV), and exceed the threshold by depolarizing to (-40mV), or the action potential. Once voltage-gated sodium channels open the impulse is fired creating an, 'all or none' refractory period. Following the influx of sodium, doors are slowly unlocked allowing positively charged potassium ions to leave the cell.