Schizophrenia Project

A project on schizophrenia including clinical characteristics, reliability and validity of diagnosis, biological and psychological explanations of schizophrenia and evaluation and biological and psychological therapies including appropriateness and effectiveness. Grade B.

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  • Created on: 30-05-12 11:00
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According to the ICD-10:
Someone must either have one of these Or two of these symptoms for at least a
symptoms for at least a month month
Thought echo, insertion, withdrawal, and Persistent hallucinations.
broadcasting. The individual may believe that
thoughts are being taken out/ put into their
minds, or that their private thoughts are
being broadcast to other people.
Delusions of control, influence or passivity, Incoherent or irrelevant speech, a result of
delusional perceptions. A delusion is a fixed breaks in trains of thought.
and distorted belief that persists in the face
of factual evidence that is wrong,
Verbal hallucinations (hearing voices). The Catatonic behaviour- means unusual body
voices often comment on the ill person's movements such as adopting odd postures,
behaviour, or may instruct the individual to it can also include a person not moving at all.
act in a certain way.
Persistent delusions that are impossible or Negative symptoms; such as apathy, lack of
culturally implausible. For example, the motivation, lack of emotional responses,
individual may believe themselves to be inappropriate emotional responses and
Mother Teresa or Stalin. mood swings.
Positive Symptoms- those that are additions to the individual's behaviour (e.g.
Negative Symptoms- are to do with the person's normal behaviour being lessened in some
way (lack of energy or emotion, and apathy)
There are two types of Schizophrenia; Type I (acute onset) and Type II (chronic onset)
Type I (acute onset) ­ the symptoms appear quite suddenly; this may be after a stressful or
traumatic event. Within a few days the individual may show quite disturbed behaviour.
Type II (chronic onset) ­ the changes take place over time and the more obvious signs of
schizophrenia such as hallucinations or other disturbed behaviour may not be evident for a
few months or even years.
Clinical Key Terms

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Catatonic Behaviour This refers to bizarre and abnormal motor
Negative symptom movements. For example, holding the body
in a rigid stance, moving in a frenzied way,
peculiar facial movements, copying
movements of others.
Delusions Bizarre beliefs that seem real to the person
Positive symptom with schizophrenia, but they are not real.
Sometimes these beliefs can be paranoid
(i.e. persecutory) and sometimes involve
themselves e.g. inflated belief about their
own importance.…read more

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For instance in some cultures hearing voices would be a good thing but in western
societies this would be something deemed as needed to be treated. There is also the issue
in classification of diagnosis in that, for schizophrenia especially; there are many symptoms
which cross over with other disorders such as depression and bi-polar disorder. Because of
this multiple diagnosis are possible.…read more

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Harrison et al. (1988): Schizophrenia is diagnosed more frequently in African Americans and
African-Caribbean populations. It is difficult to determine whether this is due to greater
genetic vulnerability or psychosocial factors (as being part of an ethnic minority).
Misdiagnosis may occur where there is a misinterpretation of cultural differences in
behaviour as being symptoms of schizophrenia.
Rosenhan (1973) conducted a study where people with no mental health problems got
themselves admitted to a psychiatric unit by saying they heard voices- they became pseudo
patients.…read more

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If a sibling has schizophrenia = 8% concordance
Someone randomly selected = 1%
Gottesman and Bertelsen (1989) also conducted a number of family studies and found that:
If one parent is an identical twin and has schizophrenia
participants had a 17% chance of developing schizophrenia
If one parent is an identical twin and does not have schizophrenia but their identical
twin does
participants had a 17% chance of developing schizophrenia
Gottesman's evidence suggests that schizophrenia runs in families as concordance rates are
much higher between…read more

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MZ twins. It is also hard to compare results of twin studies as they may use
different diagnosing criteria (DSM/ICD).
There are two arguments against the view that MZ concordance rates are high due to
greater environmental similarity:
Lytton (1997) - MZ twins have more similar treatment from parents ­ identical twins
are the cause of similar parental treatment rather than the effect.
Shields (1962) - Concordance rates for MZ twins raised apart are still similar to those
of MZ twins raised together.…read more

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The dopamine hypothesis was formed from finding that some drugs, such as amphetamines
and L-dopa, work by increasing the level of dopamine in the brain. Drugs such as these also
produce states of being which are similar to paranoid schizophrenia in normal individuals.
These drugs also affect the severity of schizophrenia in those with the disorder.
Barlow and Durand (1995) found that neuroleptic drugs block dopamine quickly but
schizophrenic symptoms are not reduced for days/weeks after.…read more

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There are other biological factors that
may be implicated in schizophrenia such as pregnancy/birth factors, substance abuse and
biological vulnerability to stress. Also, the biological explanation for schizophrenia has been
criticised for being too reductionist and for providing an oversimplified explanation.
Psychological Explanations of Schizophrenia
It is thought that dysfunctional families, who are secretive, critical and punitive, create such
anxieties and tensions that the child can be predisposed to developing schizophrenia later.…read more

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EE explanation, there are also high relapse rates amongst those recovering from
schizophrenia that are not in contact with any former family members, so the expressed
emotion hypothesis may not be entirely true.
Many studies of EE are correlational which means they show a link between the levels of EE
and relapse rates but this doesn't mean that the high levels of EE are the actual cause of the
relapse.…read more

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Some similarities have been found, but the data available so far fail to explain why
only some people with cognitive malfunctioning actually develop schizophrenia while others
in the family do not.
Cognitive psychologists suggest that disturbed thinking processes are the cause rather than
the consequence of schizophrenia. It is suggested that people with schizophrenia cannot
filter information in this way and they simply let in too much irrelevant
Explanations that relate underlying biological impairments to
psychotic symptoms are often referred to as neuropsychological
theories'.…read more


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