• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Schizophrenia is a very serious condition. It is the most common psychosis.

Extracts from this document...


Schizophrenia is a very serious condition. It is the most common psychosis. Schizophrenia affects attention, thinking, social relationships, motivation and emotion. In a serious episode, most find it hard to understand the "reality" and it challenges our basic understanding about human perceptions of the real world. Most experts believe it is not really a single disorder, but has several different causes. This could be due to the fact that it has so many different characteristics. One aspect that all types of schizophrenia share is "a break with reality". No single cause has been identified with schizophrenia. Biological, behavioural and social research suggests a complex interplay between factors. For example, people might have an inherited tendency towards schizophrenia that is triggered by environmental circumstances. Schizophrenia depends in part on genetic factors. Grottesman (1978) studied the likelihood of offspring developing schizophrenia. It was found that children of one schizophrenic parent was a 17% risk, children with two schizophrenic parents were 46-47% more likely to get schizophrenia, siblings were 8%, identical twin of one parent was 17%. ...read more.


Post-mortems show a marked increase in the dopamine receptor sites in comparison to others. This suggests a super sensitivity to dopamine. However there are some problems with the dopamine hypothesis. Neuroleptic drugs block dopamine fairy rapidly, but generally fail to reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia for days or weeks thereafter. Also there is a fairly new drug, Clozapine. It is frequently more effective than dopamine in reducing schizophrenic symptoms. It should be less effective according the dopamine hypothesis. Another negative point on the dopamine hypothesis is that antipsychotic medication does not work on a number of people, even if dopamine is reduced. It has been thought that someone could be wrongly diagnosed with schizophrenia but has a different mental disorder and don't have high dopamine. In conclusion the evidence on the relationship between schizophrenia and dopamine levels is mostly correlational. As a result it is not known whether the changed dopamine activity occurs before or after the onset of the disorder. ...read more.


The behaviour becomes more exaggerated and eventually is labelled as schizophrenia. The behavioural approach has some face validity, as it makes sense. However it lacks conviction of a causal explanation, and is more relevant to maintenance not a cause. The genetic/cognitive explanations may better account for the severity. The diathesis stress model proposes that a complete explanation of any mental disorder is likely to involve both a predisposition to the disorder and a stressor which triggers the appearance of the symptoms. This can be seen to apply to schizophrenia where there is clear evidence of a genetic link, yet not everyone who inherits the genetic component becomes schizophrenic. We can explain this in terms of the psychological factors that trigger the disorder such as learnt behaviour or troubled family. The importance of understanding the causes of schizophrenia lies in the decision of what form of treatment is desirable. Biological explanations lead to biological methods and behavioural explanations to behavioural methods. The most successful therapy has been the use of chemotherapy, a biological approach. This does not offer a cure but offers relief to sufferers. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level The Psychology of Individual Differences section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level The Psychology of Individual Differences essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast the main approaches - Biological and Behaviourist, biological and cognitive, ...

    4 star(s)

    and the production of certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine, and linked this to behaviour. These examples show the scientific approach as they fulfil the aims of the research, conducted objectively and are controlled studies. The psychodynamic approach on the other hand is not scientific as it is not testable, therefore making it difficult to falsify.

  2. Outline and Evaluate the Biological, Psychodynamic and Cognitive Explanations of Abnormality

    to develop and so may not be strong enough to act as an arbitrator between the Id and the Superego. The Ego will be unable to cope in traumatic events, such as maternal deprivation or sibling rivalry, and so such events will be pushed into the unconscious as the Ego cannot deal with them and needs protecting.

  1. Schizophrenia. This essay shall discuss the various theoretical causes of schizophrenia including; biological explanations ...

    necessarily a 'cause' of schizophrenia, but rather it could be an 'effect', or symptom of the disorder. The 'diathesis stress model' explains how genetic and psychological factors may interact in the formation of schizophrenia. Some individuals are born with a genetic 'pre-disposition' to developing the illness, however the disorder will

  2. Outline and Evaluate One Biological and One Psychological Explanation of Schizophrenia

    These effects have been trialled on rats. Randrup and Munkuad (1966) found that rats took on schizophrenic behaviours after being administered amphetamines, and the effects could be reversed through neuroleptic drugs. This suggests that dopamine has a role in schizophrenia. However, there are significant differences in the neuroanatomy of rats and humans, which could lead to such

  1. Describe two research studies into the causes of schizophrenia. Evaluate them in terms of ...

    Bateson et al. (1956) proposed that schizophrenic symptoms are an expression of social interactions in which the individual is repeatedly exposed to conflicting injunctions, without having the opportunity to adequately respond to those injunctions, or to ignore them (i.e., to escape the field).

  2. Free essay

    Discuss the range of methods available to the psychologist.

    This would remove demand characteristics as they would not know what the researcher was looking for. The double blind procedure is where both participants and the researcher are unaware of the nature of the study. This controls the experimenter bias and interviewer effects.

  1. Investigation to find out which gender is better at recognising faces

    The DV for this method is the time it takes for a participant to recognise 6 randomly chosen pictures when shown upside down, also known as inverted. The IV for this investigation is the change of the image. The 1st image will contain 14 celebrities shown perfectly without modifications all


    With positive punishment unfavourable events or outcomes are given in order to weaken the response that follows an example if you stroke a cat in a manner that the cat finds unpleasant, the cat may attempt to bite you therefore the presentation of the cat's bite will act as a

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work