Positive and Negative effects of Scizophrenia

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  • Created by: nazya
  • Created on: 13-03-13 19:02

Positive effects of Scizophrenia

Hallucinations – when a person is hearing or seeing things that do not exist. When hearing noises they are often very critical and controlling which causes them to do uncharacteristic things.

Delusions – this is where someone believes that their actions are controlled by someone else. The most common type of delusion is paranoid delusions.

Thought disorder – this can make someone’s speech hard to follow. They may lose concentration with work or complain about muddled thoughts.

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Negative effects of Schizophrenia

Social withdrawal – avoiding family and friends for periods of times and not going out.


Flatness of emotion – there is no emotion and the voice becomes dull with no rise or fall.


Not looking after self or appearance – not adhering to expectations with regards to preserving a sense of self.

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Eval of Pos. and Neg. effects of Sci.

 Negative symptoms seem less affected by cultural factors and it has been suggested that they could be more objectively measured. Hearing voices is hard if not completely impossible to measure.


 Lack of energy, flatness of emotions or social withdrawal however can be easily monitored.


Prodromal features have been found present in many adolescents though they can not be taken to indicate the onset of schizophrenia on their own.

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Distinguishing features

Root cause is yet undiscovered though there are two explanations.

The first is 1 in 100 people will at least suffer from at least one episode of acute schizophrenia in their lifetime, although Jablensky (2000) suggested that the disorder is found in about 1.4 to 4.6 people in every 1000 people in the population. Men and women appear equally affected by schizophrenia, although in men it is typically active between the ages of 15 and 30 and in women it would be when they are in the age range of 20 – 30.

It is thought that schizophrenics have a split personality, acting perfectly, normal one minute and then irrationally the next. Though this might not be the case as the word ‘schizophrenia’ derives from the Greek word to be known as to have a ‘split mind’.

A ¼ of people who have had a schizophrenic episode recover and do not get another one. A ¼ have continuous symptoms without a break,  this leaves 50% who have periods of recovery and periods of symptoms. Positive symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, can be overcome but the negative symptoms tend to remain.

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Types of Schizophrenia

Paranoid schizophrenia – is characterised by someone being suspicious of others and having delusions of grandeur. They normally have hallucinations as well.


Disorganised schizophrenia – speech will be disorganised and hard to follow as well as the person will have inappropriate mood swings in a certain situation. There are no hallucinations.


Catatonic – withdrawn and isolated and has little physical movement.


Residual – there is a low level of positive symptoms but psychotic symptoms will be present.


Undifferentiated – when the person does not fit into the other types.

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Dopamine Hypothesis B Approach

The original D.H. states that the brain of schizophrenic patient produces more dopamine than the brain of a ‘normal’ person. It is possible that because of this, positive symptoms will be present in the mesolimbic pathway. And in the mesocortical pathway there will be the negative symptoms of schizophrenia present.


Other research has been carried out via PET scans and other scanning techniques.


Most research has been conducted on animals which looks at how excess dopamine receptors arise.

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Explanation of the Dop. hypothesis

 ›Too many receptors in one part of the brain could lead to dopamine receptors being inhibited/developed in the other part of the brain. For example, lack of activity in the prefrontal cortex and limbic system could lead to lack of inhibition of dopamine receptors production in the striatum.


›There also is some evidence that people with schizophrenia have enlarged ventricles and smaller frontal lobes, as well as a higher incidence of head injury in childhood. Any of these features link with damage to the prefrontal cortex because this finishes in adolescence as it links to the onset of schizophrenia at this age. 

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Eval of the Dop. Hypothesis using studies

 ›Gjedde and Wong, 1987 Pet scans

›There are more than twice as many dopamine receptors in schizophrenics compared to controls.


›Farde et al 1990

›There is no difference in the amount of Dopamine receptors between schizophrenics and controls.


›Seidman 1990

›Post mortem examinations have found that people with schizophrenia have a larger than usual number of dopamine receptors in their body.  

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Further explanation of the Dop. Hypothesis



The hypothesis has reliability because many studies have shown that dopamine receptors has an influence in causing schizophrenia. 


Many different sources of evidence point to dopamine receptors being involved in causing schizophrenia, from animal studies to PET scans. Evidence also comes from how medication could affect people with Parkinson’s disease or how recreational drugs could lead to psychotic drugs.


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Weaknesses of the Dopamine hypothesis

Animals are used to conduct such investigations where dopamine is given to them so that they are affected by drugs. Lesioning on animals is used where they test the effects of dopamine on the animal’s functioning which is not generalisable to humans. This also is because of the difference in brain structure in animal brains and the difference in the nervous system.


Something else to do with schizophrenia may have caused the differences in dopamine receptors rather than dopamine receptors which cause schizophrenia. 

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Environmental breeder Hypothesis Social Approach

 Social Class


Statistics show that the majority of schizophrenics in the UK come from lower classes or from groups such as immigrants.

It looks as if social classes might either be a cause schizophrenia or at least associated with them.

Official statistics and census figures confirm such differences.

4 people in every 1000 have been found to have schizophrenia, both in the lowest social classes which were in the white and black immigrant groups.

Also schizophrenia is found in unemployed and deprived areas.

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Social Drift

 It is suggested that those people with schizophrenia become lower class because of the difficulties that arise from having schizophrenia which leads to social drift.


A study which was done on men and fathers has compared their social classes. They found that lower classes of men not so much fathers do have schizophrenia.


This could include not being able to hold up a job which leads to unemployment. 

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Social Adversity

Schizophrenia is more associated with the Urban communities than rural communities, so it might be that something in city life leads to schizophrenia.


There are people in lower classes in rural areas so the social drift hypothesis does not explain the city/country split.


Harrison et al. (2001) suggests that being brought up in declining inner city areas could lead to schizophrenia, as this is where the bulk of the suffering lies. 

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Eval of Envrionmental Breeder Hypothesis

The idea supports the facts that there are more schizophrenics in inner – city areas and in lower classes .

It is also highly likely that there are environmental triggers, rather than strict causes. 

Social class can be linked to schizophrenia.


X  Since those in lower economic groups, with no jobs and living alone are more likely to be diagnosed, it suggests that there might be a diagnosis problem not an environmental one.

X It may be that the lower social class, economic status and the lack of a job are all consequences of the disorder, not the other way round, as the social drift hypothesis suggests.  

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