Schizophrenia PSYA4

Schizophrenia essays

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  • Created on: 18-06-12 12:01
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Outline Clinical Characteristics of Schizophrenia (5 marks)
The characteristics of schizophrenia can be categorised into two different types. Type 1
symptoms (Positive symptoms) and Type 2 symptoms (Negative symptoms).
Positive symptoms include things such as delusions, hallucinations and paranoia.
Patients may experience things such as hearing voices (auditory hallucinations), which
individuals which suffer from schizophrenia often say are from the devil or from God.
Negative symptoms however show more catatonic behaviour, for example a loss of
drive, a lack of emotion or catatonic stupor.
There are some individuals that suffer from type 1 and type 2 symptoms, these are
therefore categorised as disorganised as they will have slurred behaviour and speech.
It has been shown that the prevalence of developing Schizophrenia if neither of your
parents are carrying the gene is 1%, however this can increase to 20% if one parent is
diagnosed and 46% if both parents are schizophrenic suffers.
Reliability and Validity of Schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder which is characterised by a disruption in a
person's thoughts, emotions, speech and their contact with reality.
Within this essay I am going to discuss issues surrounding the reliability and the validity
for the classification and diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Reliability refers to the extent to which the classification and diagnosis of schizophrenia
is consistent amongst different people.
The Diagnostic and statically manual of mental disorders (DSM) is designed to create a
more reliable system of diagnosis for mental illness including schizophrenia. This is
because psychiatrists all use the same diagnostic criteria so that a diagnosis of
schizophrenia should be consistent with all psychiatrists that use the manual.
However, research by Klosterkotter et al found that this isn't always the case.
Klosterkotter assessed 489 admissions to a psychiatric ward in Germany to determine
whether positive or negative symptoms were more suited for the determination of
diagnosis of schizophrenia, and found that negative symptoms were a more unreliable
basis for a diagnosis of schizophrenia than positive symptoms. This concluded that it is
possible to give individuals with totally different behaviours the same diagnosis of
This study has many strengths for example it was produced with a large sample of 489
admissions, this makes the study more representative to a wider variety of the

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However, it was produced in Germany, making it culturally specific and does
not show the reliability of schizophrenia in other cultures.
The reliability of diagnosis in schizophrenia was further challenged by the findings that
there is a massive variation between countries of what schizophrenia is. This was
shown in a study by Copeland et al who gave a description of a patient to 134 US
psychiatrists and 194 British psychiatrists.…read more

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I am going to describe to two psychological therapies used to treat schizophrenia,
cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and psychoanalysis.
CBT is based on the assumption that people have distorted beliefs which are likely to
influence their behaviour, for example schizophrenics may believe that their behaviour is
being controlled by an external force, or that they are God. CBT then identifies the
beliefs the schizophrenic has and deals with them with the patient.…read more

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Support for psychoanalysis comes from Gottdiener who carried out a metaanalysis of
37 studies and found that psychoanalytical and cognitive behavioural therapies
produced similar levels of therapeutic benefits as well as the fact there was no
difference in improvement when psychotherapy was accompanied by antipsychotic
medication to just psychotherapy alone. This shows that psychotherapy is an effective
treatment of schizophrenia.…read more

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By using questionnaires it also makes it
high in social desirability as participants may want to look desirable to the researcher.
However, Liem measured patterns of parental communication in families with a
schizophrenic child and found no difference when compared to "normal" families.
Therefore this statement disproves the double bind theory.
Labelling theory ­ scheff
Social groups construct rules for members of group to follow
Symptoms of SZ such as hallucinations, delusions are seen as deviant from the "normal"
behaviour ­ SZ label is applied.…read more

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Another psychological explanation of schizophrenia is the psychodynamic approach.
This was developed by Freud in 1924. He believed that schizophrenia was the result of
two related processes, regression to a preego stage. He attempted to reestablish ego
control. In schizophrenics the preego state might be them acting like a child, showing
that a proper sense of reality has not been established yet.…read more

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Adoption studies look at adopted children to find out whether it is genetics or
environment which result in schizophrenic behaviour.
Tieari et al found that out of 164 adoptees whose biological mothers had been
diagnosed with schizophrenia only 6.7% also received a diagnostic of schizophrenia
compared to just 2% of 197 adopted children with no schizophrenia background.
The methodological strength in this study is that both groups have high samples make it
more representative to the population and more reliable.…read more

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Haracz found that in a review of postmortem studies of schizophrenics, most of those
studied who showed high dopamine levels had received antipsychotic drugs shortly
before death, unlike postmortem studies of schizophrenics who hadn't received
medication these results showed that these individuals had normal levels of dopamine.
Therefore, this evidence weakens the support for the dopamine hypothesis.
Another problem was found by, Crook who used PET scans to investigate dopamine
activity more precisely than in previous studies.…read more

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A weakness of conventional antipsychotics as a biological therapy for schizophrenia is
that there is a risk of side effects such as Tardive dyskinesia and motivational deficits.
Hill found that 30% of people taking antipsychotic medication develop tardive
dyskinesia and it is irreversible in 75% of cases. This raises ethical issues such as
harm to the patient, however this can be overcome by raising the concern to the patient
before prescribing the medication.…read more

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There is little evidence to support ECT as a therapy for the treatment of schizophrenia,
however Tharyan and Adams found that real ECT was more effective than a placebo or
simulated ECT in terms of improvement for the patients.
However, due to the risks associated with ECT including memory dysfunction, brain
damage and even death, the use of ECT as a treatment for schizophrenia has now
been declined.…read more


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