Schizophrenia, Depression and Phobias

Revision notes on schizophrenia, depression and phobias

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Psychology Revision Unit 5 ­ Psychopathology
Definition = Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder characterised by severe disruptions to an
individual's thoughts, emotions, speech and contact with reality
Clinical Characteristics
1. Delusions ­
Persistent ideas which are clearly untrue but are experienced as being true.
2. Hallucinations ­
Are sensory experiences that don't actually exist by are very real for the individual. Around ¾ of
schizophrenic patients experience hallucinations, most are auditory (voices in the head) but they can
involve any of the 5 senses.
3. Disorganised Speech ­
Often a sufferer may produce something called a word salad. The words are jumbled up and make
little sense to the listener.
4. Behaviour ­
Individuals may exhibit certain motor abnormalities ­ ranging from a complete lack of activity to
adopting bizarre postures, to wild flailing of the limbs. Also lack of motivation, direction, sense of
self, social withdrawal and poverty of speech
Schneider's `First Rank Symptoms'
Formal diagnosis of schizophrenia relies on Schneider's `First Rank Symptoms'. These are things that the
patient reports but no one else can see.
Types of Schizophrenia
1. Paranoid Schizophrenia
Language and behaviour can appear normal, however symptoms include
Delusions (particularly of persecution)
Hallucinations (particularly hearing voices)
A tendency to exhibit behaviour that is aggressive, argumentative and highly suspicious of
2. Disorganised Schizophrenia
Perhaps the most severe type of schizophrenia. Symptoms include;
Disorganised speech and behaviour
Vivid hallucinations (often surrounding sexual or religious content)
Extreme social withdrawal
3. Catatonic Schizophrenia
Categorised by;
Individuals spending long periods of time totally immobile in catatonic stupors (odd
They may also have bouts of wild excited movement and could become dangerous and

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Explanations of Schizophrenia
Biological Explanations of Schizophrenia
1. Genes
There is evidence to suggest a predisposition is somehow genetically inherited. Genetic formations can
be assessed using twin, adoption and family studies.
Supporting Evidence
Twin Studies ­ Gottesman
Gottesman analysed over 40 studies and found
If one identical / MZ twin, had schizophrenia there was a 48% chance of the other twin
developing it.
If one non-identical / DZ twin, had it there was approximately 17% chance the other would
develop it.…read more

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This message overload may produce many of the symptoms
of schizophrenia
Supportive Evidence
Higher Dopamine Levels
It has been found through post-mortems that people diagnosed with schizophrenia have higher than
normal levels of dopamine in their system.
Amphetamines increase the amounts of dopamine, large doses of amphetamines given to people
with no history of psychological disorder will produce behaviour which is very similar to paranoid
schizophrenia.…read more

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Which could
explain how the damage occurs and schizophrenia develops.
Many bran imaging studies have shown varying results
Not all patients showed differences in the size of the ventricles compared to non sufferers.
There is no evidence to identify whether larger ventricles are a cause or an effect of having
4. Viral Hypothesis
This states that schizophrenia develops through a viral infection.…read more

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Psychological Explanations for Schizophrenia
1. Family Systems
Many researchers have argued that schizophrenia can result from being part of a dysfunctional family.
Supportive Evidence
The Schizophrenogenic Mother ­ Fromm Reichman
Reichman claimed that mothers who were domineering and insensitive, overprotective and
rejecting, and whose behaviour patterns were often contradictory could induce schizophrenia in
their children. This is because her behaviour leads to faulty lines of communication leading to
The Double-Bind Hypothesis
The idea of contradictory communication which Bateson called double-bind communication.…read more

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The Diathesis-Stress Mode
The Diathesis Stress Model is probably the best way to explain schizophrenia. This theory argues that
biological factors should only be seen as causing a predisposition to the disorder, not be solely
responsible for it. Biological factors make an individual more vulnerable but it is their environment and the
stresses they experience that generate the onset of schizophrenia. This model argues that both
biological and environmental stressors are necessary for schizophrenia to develop.…read more

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Definition = Depression is an affective mood disorder, with prolonged disturbances to mood and
emotions.…read more

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Biological Explanations of Depression
1. Genetics
The medical approach argues that psychological problems have a physical cause. It argues that genes are
one of these causes. From this view people with a particular genetic makeup have a predisposition to
depression.…read more

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Findings haven't been replicated. ­ This could suggest C11 doesn't actually play a role or it is part
of several genes that cause the onset of depression.
3. Biochemistry
A number of researchers have investigated the biochemical possesses that may play a role in affective
disorders.…read more

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Psychological Explanations of Depression
1. Sex Differences in Depression
According to Williams and Hargreaves women are 2-3 times more likely than men to become clinically
depressed. A number of factors have been put forward to try and account for the sex differences in
depression. These include hormonal fluctuations associated with the menstrual cycle, childbirth,
menopause and oral contraceptives.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) ­ the female menstrual cycle involves fluctuations in levels of oestrogen
and progesterone during the monthly cycle.…read more


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