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Outline Clinical Characteristics of Schizophrenia and discuss psychological explanations of Schizophrenia

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Outline Clinical Characteristics of Schizophrenia and discuss psychological explanations of Schizophrenia The characteristics of Schizophrenia (SZ) can be categorised into two different types: Type 1 symptoms (Positive Symptoms) and Type 2 (Negative symptoms). Type 1 characteristics include things such as delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. Patients may experience things such as hearing voices, which are often said to be from God or the Devil. Type 2 symptoms however show more catatonic behaviour, for example a loss of drive, a lack of emotion or catatonic stupor. On the other hand, there are some patients who experience both type 1 and type 2 symptoms, these are therefore categorised as Disorganised as they will have disorganised behaviour and speech. There is a 1% chance of developing SZ if neither of your parents is carrying the gene, however this increases to 20% if one parent is diagnosed, and to 46% if both parents are. It is said to occur within men when they are 25 or younger, however it occurs at an older age of 25-45 for women. In the 1950's and 60's it was believed that if you belonged to a dysfunctional family that you were more likely to suffer from SZ due to the dysfunction of communication within the family. According to the different psychological explanations of SZ this is because of the high emotional tension and the many secrets and close alliances that are kept in the family. ...read more.


Also, the families are studied retrospectively, meaning they are studied long after the mental disorder may have affected the family system. This means that various family routines will have been disrupted so you will be unable to see how the family acted before a child developed SZ. This is because living with someone with SZ is difficult and distressing for all the family as it has an impact on everyone, not just the patient of SZ. A final criticism is that it is said to be an unconstructive theory as the theory blames the parents and families for a child developing SZ. By suggesting that a parent has caused SZ is at least unhelpful and at most highly destructive, as they not only have to cope with living with someone with SZ, but they are then told that it is their fault, which will lead them to feel guilty and hurt as they are blamed for a poor upbringing. A second psychological explanation of SZ is Expressed Emotion. This was developed in the late 1970's when psychologists were more interested in how the family might play a part in the course, rather than the cause of SZ. For example, Brown found that patients who returned to homes where there was a high level of expressed emotion, for example lots of hostility, criticism and over involvement, they showed a greater tendency to relapse in comparison to those who returned to homes where there was a lower level of expressed emotion. ...read more.


Therefore it is unclear whether there is an impact. On the other hand, there are several strengths to this theory. For example, there is a lot of supporting research conducted to make the theory more valid. The EE is a well established "maintenance" model of SZ and many prospective studies have been conducted which support the EE hypothesis across many cultures, therefore the theory is also applicable cross culturally. This is also because negative emotion will most likely be found in many different cultures. There has also been an argument as to whether the EE model is a cause or an effect of SZ. The EE model has becoming widely accepted that research is now focussing on relatives of those with SZ in order to understand better which aspects of high and low EE relate to relapse. There is evidence to support that the family members are not held responsible for a person developing SZ, for example they tend to attribute positive symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions to the person's mental illness. But on the other hand, there is also evidence that some attribute negative symptoms, for example social withdrawal, to the person's personality characteristics and in the end they are said to become over critical in an attempt to change those behaviours. Overall, it was concluded by Lopez that families characterised by negative affect (criticism) has much higher relapse rates in comparison to those with positive affect (warmth). ...read more.

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