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Schizophrenia is a group of psychotic disorders that are characterized by loss of contact with reality.

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SCHIZOPHRENIA Schizophrenia is a group of psychotic disorders that are characterized by loss of contact with reality. Characteristics may include disturbance of thought processes, such as hallucinations, insertion and delusions (positive symptoms). A second type involve disturbance of affect, such as withdrawal, apathy and displaying no, or inappropriate emotion (negative symptoms). Motor disturbances such as catatonia and rocking, and a disturbance in social functioning are also commonly found symptoms. For diagnosis the criteria are, reduced social functioning and two of the above symptoms, present for 6 months or more. In extreme cases, disturbance of thought processes or hallucinations, if bizarre enough, would be sufficient alone. A distinction was made between type 1, positive/acute functional disorders and type 2, negative/chronic organic disorders. An alternative classification is used by the DSM-1V, which includes three main subtypes. These are, paranoid (positive), disorganised ( pos & Neg) and catatonic(motor). The onset of schizophrenia is usually in the late teens or early twenties for men, and in the late twenties for women. Around one third will have a few acute episodes followed by a full recovery. ...read more.


The children's age at the beginning of this study was up to 14 years. It could be argued that some children could have been affected in their pre-Kibbutz years. Children with schizophrenic mothers, who had been adopted by the age of 4, were studied by Tienari in The Finnish Adoption Study. He found that 7% of them developed the condition compared to 1.5% of the control group. This offers support for the genetic theory but it could still be argued that their first four years with their mother affected their future health. More conclusive evidence could come from those sharing identical genes. Twin studies have also supported the genetic link. Gottesman 1991, summarised many studies of MZ and DZ twins with one diagnosed as schizophrenic. He concluded that the concordance rate for MZs is about 48% and only 17% in DZs. This indicates a large genetic element but no study had revealed a 100% concordance in MZs, suggesting an involvement of environmental influences. The problems with these studies include, only small sample groups being available and the criteria for diagnosis changing over the years. ...read more.


Alternatively, the social drift hypothesis points out that schizophrenia leads to reduced social status, which would explain the higher incidence in lower social classes. Behaviourists believe that displaying schizophrenic symptoms can for some people be rewarding. This can be in the form of escape to a more peaceful inner world, or by receiving attention and sympathy following bizarre behaviour. Once labelled in this way they will model their behaviour on learned stereotypes and conform to the label. Scheff proposed that mental illness is no more than a "dustbin category" for all behaviour that cannot be explained. In support of this theory it has to be acknowledged that "normal behaviour" varies across time and cultures, and the criteria for schizophrenia has been dynamic. On the other hand it cannot explain the physiological differences, such as larger brain ventricles, the dopamine hypothesis and abnormal brain structure & metabolic activity. It also offers no explanation of why it affects some but not others. Many aspects of the genetic and psychological models have been brought together in the diathesis-stress model. This proposes that some people inherit a genetic vulnerability towards schizophrenia, which may or may not develop, depending on whether the environment is supportive or stressful. Most of the research findings would support this model which is still popular today. ...read more.

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