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Discuss the Evidence That Implicates a Biological Dysfunction as a Cause for Schizophrenia

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Discuss the Evidence That Implicates a Biological Dysfunction as a Cause for Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a mental disorder, which is characterised by a number of both positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms are behaviours which are present although should be absent. Examples of these are thought disorders resulting in difficulty in arranging thoughts logically, jumping from one topic of conversation to another and speaking random words. Other positive symptoms of schizophrenia include delusions whereby the effected person may feel that people are plotting against them and trying to kill them as well as hallucinations whereby the schizophrenic person hears voices in their head telling them to do things. Negative symptoms are also shown by people suffering from schizophrenia and are the absence of behaviours, which are normally present. Examples of these symptoms are a flattened emotional response, a poverty of speech and social withdrawal. It has been suggested that there are different causes for the different types of symptoms, for example excess activity in some neural circuits is said to be responsible for the positive symptoms whereas the negative symptoms are said to have developmental causes. There are many suggestions for the biological causes of schizophrenia, many with varying degrees of supporting evidence. ...read more.


Susser et al who studied the children of women in the Netherlands who were pregnant in the winter of 1944-45 further illustrated this point. This winter was the end of the Second World War and during it the Germans had blockaded the Netherlands, this led to poor nutrition for the pregnant mothers. The results from this study supported the theory suggested by Dalman as this poor nutrition then led to a higher percentage of schizophrenia in the participants. A final suggestion to illustrate how problems in prenatal development lead to schizophrenia is called 'The Seasonality Effect.' This effect suggests that babies born in late winter and early spring have a higher chance of having schizophrenia. This was shown in a study conducted by Kendell and Adams who looked at patients in Scotland. Their findings supported 'The Seasonality Effect' theory as they showed that patients born in February, March, April and May had higher levels of schizophrenia. A possible explanation for this effect is that the mothers of the schizophrenia patients contracted a viral illness during the critical months of development. As more people tend to contract viral illnesses in the winter months this explains how 'The Seasonality Effect' can explain how problems in prenatal development can cause schizophrenia. ...read more.


Brain abnormalities as a cause for schizophrenia also highlight the fact that biological theories for the cause of schizophrenia are not completely convincing. The many studies carried out investigating this issue have shown many areas to be responsible for schizophrenia. They haven't however led to an exact region being identified and the specific dysfunction being discovered. This again shows that despite some evidence for the theory there is still a lack of evidence for it to be fully conclusive. Therefore it can be concluded that there is an implication that biological dysfunction does cause schizophrenia however there is not one single cause for the disease, but a number of causes that result in a person having the disease. It is also possible that biological aspects are not entirely responsible and that other factors such as the environment play a role in the cause of schizophrenia. References Weyandt, L. (2005) The Physiological Bases of Cognitive and Behavioural Disorders. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Ltd. The following references were obtained from Weyandt (2005) Weinberger Honer et al Rioux et al Murphy, Jones & Owen Watson, S. (1996) Biology of Schizophrenia and Affective Disease. American Psychiatric Press. The following references were obtained from Watson (1996) Kender Susser Kety et al Kalat, J. (2001) Biological Psychology. Wadsworth The following references were obtained from Kalat (2001) Dalman et al Heston Carlson, N. (2004) Physiology of Behaviour. Pearson Education Ltd. ...read more.

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