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Describe two research studies into the causes of schizophrenia. Evaluate them in terms of whether schizophrenia is a genetic or social illness.

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Chyrise cox 16/03/2009 Psychology of Individual Differences: Assignment Three Describe two research studies into the causes of schizophrenia. Evaluate them in terms of whether schizophrenia is a genetic or social illness. Schizophrenia is a psychological illness that has been intensely researched for a number a years. There have been many theories that all claim to have found the cause and reasons why schizophrenia occurs. Genetic or social influences are the two main argued points in this psychological debate. In this assignment I will look at the two main theories which provide some substantial evidence for each explanation. Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that has been recognized throughout recorded history. People with schizophrenia may hear voices other people don't hear or they may believe that others are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. These experiences are terrifying and can cause fearfulness, withdrawal, or extreme agitation. People with schizophrenia may not make sense when they talk, may sit for hours without moving or talking much, or may seem perfectly fine until they talk about what they are really thinking. Because many people with schizophrenia have difficulty holding a job or caring for themselves, the burden on their families and society is significant as well. Available treatments can relieve many of the disorder's symptoms, but most people who have schizophrenia must cope with some residual symptoms as long as they live. Nevertheless, this is a time of hope for people with schizophrenia and their families. ...read more.


The use of larger segments of family interaction in empirical source material should be one of the priorities of double bind research in future work. Bateson's (1969) double bind theory would suggest that identical twins may share the disorder more often than fraternal twins because the former are double bound together more often than the latter. The reasons for possible more frequent double binding may be the greater genetic similarity of identical twins, but these more similar traits and behaviours are not necessarily related to the disorder, only to the concordance thereof. Adopted away offspring are in a potentially double binding environment, and may be even more so if contact with the biological family remains. Patterns of exposure to such contingencies may be different for those adoptee who have versus those who do not have the disorder. Medical records typically do not contain enough information to decide on such issues, and the interviews with relatives conducted in the Finnish and Danish adoption studies primarily served to diagnose them, rather than to obtain information about the adoption process itself. Gregory Bateson's (1969) double bind theory is very complex, and has only been partly tested; there are gaps in the current psychological and experimental evidence required to establish causation. Current subjective assessments of individuals, faced with making a serious decision while exposed to conflicting messages, report feelings of anxiety. It is argued that if the double bind theory is indeed to overturn findings indicating a genetic basis for schizophrenia, more comprehensive psychological and experimental studies are needed, with different family types and across various family contexts. ...read more.


For example, a schizophrenic is not given Haldol on the basis of a laboratory test which shows that his dopamine level is too high. Chemical imbalances theories distinguish, incorrectly, between 'side' and 'main' drug effects in recording the response to the drug. 'Side' effects are considered to be simple, direct, predictable, allowable effects which are merely 'physical' but do include often flattened effect and memory, emotive and cognitive effects. These drug effects may then be cited capriciously as further evidence to confirm the diagnosis as correct, confusing cause and effect. Chemical imbalance theories predominate in 'streamline' public sector medicine for lower social class and homeless persons, where drugs constitute the only form of treatment. There is much wishful thinking in attribution of drug effect, particularly in cases like schizophrenia, where there no longer exists a patient [non-drug user] control group available. In conclusion it can be said that there is enough evidence to back up both theories. Whether or not schizophrenia is caused by genetics or social influences, the patient is still treated with the same type of medicine that controls the dopamine levels in the brain, and suppresses the symptoms of the illness. Therefore the genetic evidence seems more plausible in explaining the causes of schizophrenia as it assumes that it is the levels of dopamine that causes the patient's symptoms but when medicated correctly there symptoms disappear. _____________________________________________________________________ Eysenck, M (2000) Psychology, A Students Handbook: Psychology Press Ltd: East Sussex. Gross, R (1996) Psychology, The Science of Mind and Behaviour: Greengal Publishing Service: Kent. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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