Presenting problems may be related to neurological or biochemical factors. Such factors may place boundaries on how much change is possible. Malnutrition, hypoglycemia, and allergic reactions have been associated with hyperactivity, learning disabilities, and mental retardation. Biochemical abnormalities are found in some children with serious behavior disturbances such as those labeled autistic. However, this only establishes that abnormalities in biochemistry are present, not that they cause a certain disorder (e.g., cause certain behaviors). Biochemical changes may be a result of stress related to social conditions such as limited opportunities due to discrimination. Drugs, whether prescribed or not, may influence how clients appear and behave. Certain kinds of illness are associated with particular kinds of psychological changes.
Drugs, alcohol, environmental pollutants, and nutritional deficiencies may influence health and behavior. Accidents may result in neurological changes which result in concomitant psychological changes. Even when brain damage can be shown to exist, this does not show that it causes any particular behavior. Premature acceptance of biophysical explanations will interfere with discovering alternative explanations that yield intervention knowledge. Behavior changes may be due to brain tumors. Hormonal changes associated with menopause may result in mood changes which may be misattributed to psychological causes. On the other hand psychological changes may be misattrib-uted to hormonal changes. There are gender differences in return of diffuse physiological arousal (DPA) to baseline levels; men take longer to return to baseline levels. These gender differences have implications for understanding and altering aggression among family members. Whenever physiological factors may be related to a problem as, for example, with seizures, depression, fatigue, or headaches, a physical examination should be required. Overlooking physical causes including nutritional deficiencies and coffee, alcohol, or drug intake may result in incorrect inferences.
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