Essay on Mental Disorders: Schizophrenia

1362 Words 6 Pages
There continues to be debate as to the cause of schizophrenia. This essay will describe two theories which explain the occurrence of the disorder and will explain how these theories relate to the environment and to genetics.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that causes psychosis; which means a break with reality (Hewstone, Fincham and Foster 2005: 320). The onset of the disorder is usually in the person’s late teens. Early signs are that they may become more self-absorbed and display inappropriate behaviour. One of the main symptoms is that the person’s thinking becomes disordered as though their brain is unable to make sense of input from the environment and unable to focus only on relevant information. Changes in the person’s
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This suggests that it is inherited genetic differences that cause the condition and not the environmental influence of the biological parent on the child’s development.
However, another study found that adopted children with an inherited susceptibility to schizophrenia are at higher risk of developing the condition if there are high levels of stress and dysfunction in the adoptive home (Hewstone, Fincham and Foster 2005: 322). This seems to show that it is possible therefore that environmental factors can have an impact on the development of schizophrenia in susceptible individuals.
Canon et al, found that siblings of individuals with schizophrenia also have similar neurological functioning even if they do not have the condition themselves and this also suggests that there is a genetic element to the disease (1994).
There are biological differences commonly found in the structure and chemistry of the brains of schizophrenics compared to those without schizophrenia. One difference in people with schizophrenia is that the size of the prefrontal cortex is reduced and is less active compared to a non-schizophrenic brain. This part of the brain is responsible for language, emotions, planning and social interactions and this may explain why people with

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