Schizophrenia - characteristics, diagnosis issues and biological explanation

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Schizophrenia has been described as a disintegration of the
personality. It has a main feature of a split between thinking and
emotion, and involves a range of psychotic symptoms, where there is a
break from reality.
Schizophrenic patients usually lack insight into their condition.
Schizophrenia follows a pattern of positive symptoms including
hallucinations, delusions, disorganised speech, and catatonic
behaviour. It follows a pattern of negative symptoms including affective
flattening, which refers to a lack of emotion, alogia, which refers to an
unwillingness to speak, and avolition, which refers to an inability to direct
own acitivites.
There have been issues identified surrounding the diagnosis of
schizophrenia. Rosenhan questioned the validity of the diagnosis of
schizophrenia when he referred normal people to American Psychiatric
hospitals claiming that they were hearing unfamiliar voices. They were
all diagnosed with schizophrenia, despite none of them actually having
the condition. No staff recognised them as normal. In a followup study,
Rosenhan warned hospitals that pseudopatients were being sent. There
was an apparent twentyone per cent detection rate, despite no patients
actually being sent.
Copeland questioned the reliability of the diagnosis of schizophrenia.
He gave a description of a patient to American and British psychiatrists.
Sixtynine per cent of American psychiatrists gave a diagnosis of
schizophrenia, whereas two per cent of British psychiatrists gave the
same diagnosis.
Biological Explanation.
The prevalence of schizophrenia is about one per cent all over the
world, which supports a biological view as it suggests that levels of
schizophrenia do not vary with the environment. However, the risk of
developing schizophrenia rises with the degree of genetic relatedness.
A child of someone with schizophrenia has a thirteen per cent

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A D.Z twin has a concordance rate of seventeen per
cent, whereas M.Z twins have a concordance rate of 48 per cent.
However, the fact that the concordance rate for M.Z twins is not one
hundred per cent suggests that there must be some kind of
environmental factors in the development of schizophrenia.…read more

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Phenothiazines, which are drugs that bind to D.2 receptors, effectively
block the transmission of nerve impulses through these receptors, and
can therefore reduce the level of dopamine firing in schizophrenics.
Amphetamine in large doses can cause symptoms similar to that of
schizophrenia and are known to be dopamine agonists.
Those with Parkinson's disease generally have low levels of dopamine.
High levels of L dopa that is used to treat Parkinson's can result in
schizophrenia like symptoms.…read more

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Also, there are effective treatments relating to the
biological approach, suggesting that biology must at least be a factor in
the cause of schizophrenia.
However, it has also been criticised for being a reductionist approach,
and many studies rely on self report. Biological treatments also focus
on the symptoms, and not the causes of the condition.…read more


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