Is Schizophrenia inherited?
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Portfolio Presentation Student No : 01156365 Unit: PSYC3028 Psychological Disorders Is Schizophrenia inherited? For this portfolio presentation I have chosen to look at the mental illness 'Schizophrenia'. My presentation in particular will concentrate on the nature/nurture debate. Whether Schizophrenia is caused by hereditary causes, or by environmental causes. Schizophrenia still remains a partically comprehended illness, with no one single cause (Website 1). I have read a great deal of literature from academics which will be discussed later, but I wanted to do my own field research, and discover first hand what the public thought of schizophrenia, whether they thought it was hereditary or environmentally caused. So I completed a questionnaire, I was able to gain 38 respondents to the questionnaire, of the public's awareness and thoughts of Schizophrenia. I felt this would help me to actually see what the public thoughts and ideas were, other than the academics ideas. I actually got a sense of what people that live day to day life have experienced when it comes to Schizophrenia, and actually how much they know about the illness. Details obtained from this questionnaire will be discussed later on. Schizophrenia is a common psychotic disorder. It is truly puzzling. At times, people with Schizophrenia communicate clearly, have accurate views of reality, and function well in every day life. But at other times their speech and thinking and slurred and garbled, they kind of lose touch with reality, and are not able to care for themselves in the most basic of ways.
Of all children with parents with Schizophrenia, 87 % will not develop the disorder, but 63 % of people with Schizophrenia have no first or second degree relative with the disorder, and hence bends to a more environmental approach. Could the fact that children of people with Schizophrenia gained the disorder through the stress of having Schizophrenic parents? I felt through my research that the public did not really account for stress within the family as causing Schizophrenia, I feel that most respondents who did not have first hand experience of Schizophrenia, chose to believe the academics in that genetics is the main cause. 15 out of the 38 respondents that had had first hand experience of Schizophrenia and were more open minded when it came to the causation of the disorder. Most of them did explain, that when the person suffering from Schizophrenia was a relative, that Schizophrenia does have some environmental influences as well, as they only had one relative with the disorder, so how could it be genetic? One respondent had an uncle which suffered from schizophrenia and the family had noticed signs of his son developing the disorder and hence this respondent did put most of the explanation down to genetics, but also believed that the stress of having a father with the disease may have been a factor too. Many academics and professionals believe that there is not one single genetic abnormality that accounts for this disorder. From a polygenic additive model perspective that believe it is a mixture of abnormal genes and not just one that causes Schizophrenia, Gottesman 1991, (cited in Nolen-Hoeksema 2004).
Family therapy is seen as having a positive effect in helping with Schizophrenia when drugs accompany it. But if one is treated for Schizophrenia with drugs, then if the explanation is all biological and this is being treated with drugs, how can one explain relapses? Surely the environment must play a role as well. From my research I received a very positive response from the respondents with regards to my questionnaire, most respondents claimed that the questionnaire made them think I great deal more about the subject and the disorder, and helped them to understand more about the subject. When asked in their own words whether they feel Schizophrenia is hereditary, not one respondent blamed Schizophrenia completely down the genetics, and they all believed, even though at different degrees, that the environment always played a role, whether it be society, family, politics etc. I felt that people that had experienced Schizophrenia first hand obviously were more expressive of their opinions and voiced a great deal of detail. I feel that more research and information needs to be made available to the public to give awareness of mental illnesses. With regard to my research question, there is no one cause for Schizophrenia as I have backed up by empirical, academics and public research, it is truly a complex interaction of both nature and nurture. Each person voices their own studies or opinions about the cause of the disorder, I don't feel that we will ever agree on the exact causation, which I feel will always be the case until one has a scientific break through to prove otherwise.
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