Describe, evaluate and comment upon the many explanations of schizophrenia.

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Debbie Spicer                                                                            4th November

Describe, evaluate and comment upon the many explanations of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a very serious condition the symptoms typically include problems with attention, thinking social relationships, motivation and emotion. People that suffer from schizophrenia generally have confused thoughts and often suffer from delusions, in which they attach great personal significance to external things. Schizophrenics usually suffer from hallucinations which mostly involve hearing voices.

There are two main approaches to the causes of schizophrenia, the biological explanation and the psychological explanation.

The biological approach suggests that people get schizophrenia because of a specific gene. This gene can either be inherited or can mutate. To prove this twins are studied on as identical twins will have exactly the same genes as each other. Gottesman (1991) summarised about forty studies of twins. He concluded that the concordance rate of a monozygotic (MZ) twin (identical twin) getting schizophrenia is 48% if the other twin has schizophrenia. In dizygotic (DZ) twins (non identical twins) the concordance rate of one twin getting schizophrenia is 17% if the other twin has it. Rosenthal studied quadruplets which were all identical to each other. They all developed schizophrenia at some stage in their lives, they were known as the Genain (dreadful genes) quadruplets. The quadruplets had a dreadful and aberrant childhood which may account for their development of schizophrenia.

In the twins studies the concordance rate is not 100% which it should be if developing schizophrenia was solely down to genetics this means that there must be environmental input. The twins have all grown up in the same environment and they would have had a similar upbringing, this could explain the higher concordance rate especially as twins are treated in the same way. Identical twins are treated even more alike than identical twins and this may suggest why the concordance rate for identical twins is higher than the concordance rate for non-identical twins.

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Families with parents that have schizophrenia were also studied by Gottesmann (1991). He found that if both parents have schizophrenia than there is a concordance rate of 46% of their children developing schizophrenia. If only one parent has schizophrenia the concordance rate is 16% and if a sibling has schizophrenia the concordance rate is 8%.

This study does show that schizophrenia does run in families especially when the results are compared to the 1% of someone being picked at random who has schizophrenia. This means that the development of schizophrenia has something to do with the genes that you inherit.


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