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Critically Consider the Contribution of Biological and Environmental Factors for Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a common form of mental disorder effecting 40-50 of psychiatric patients Symptoms include hallucinations delusions and disturbance of thought Although sufferers do suffer a split in their mind- from themselves and the world around them schizophrenia must not be confused with multiple personality disorder It is the most serious of disorders in both ICD-10 and DSM-IV and both recognise the four different types of schizophrenia Each school of psychology has a theory for the aetiology of schizophrenia The two main areas of thought to what causes the disorder are biological factors and environmental factors The biological approach is supported by the medical model in three sectors- the biochemical influence the genetic influence and the neurodevelopment influence The biochemical theory proposes that schizophrenia be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain which in turn are caused by an excess of the neurotransmitter- dopamine There is evidence to support this claim Firstly post-mortem examinations of schizophrenics do tend to show high levels of dopamine as found by Iverson in 1979 The problem with this evidence is that the levels of dopamine could indeed be a result of the disorder rather than a cause The second area of evidence concentrates around the treatment of schizophrenics drugs such as chlorpromazine work by binding to dopamine receptor sites again the fact that there is dopamine there to begin with could be a result not a cause of the disorder Also this evidence only tells us that dopamine is important for the action of anti-schizophrenic drugs it doesnt tell us that high dopamine levels is the sole cause or even cause of the disorder The final piece of evidence for the dopamine hypothesis is that drugs such as amphetamines LSD and L-dopa do increase the amount of dopamine in the brain they also cause the user to portray schizophrenic behaviour Osmond and Smythies 1976 who noticed the
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