Discuss biological explanations of schizophrenia.
It has long been believed that schizophrenia has a strong psychological basis, with it being described as a functional psychosis till 1978. However the biological aspect of the disease has long been present, shown clearly by Freud’s refusal to treat schizophrenics due to what he believed to be a lack of psychological basis. However it was Kraeplin who was one of the first to describe as a physical disease. He chose to describe the name the symptoms as result of ‘dementia praecox.’ However there is still much debate with the biological sector to what the underlying cause of schizophrenia is, neurological, biochemical or genetic? As of yet there is no conclusive evidence but rather varying theories and proposed models.
Some biologists will argue that schizophrenia has a primarily neurological basis, however there are many differing theories on the precise cause. Gershon and Reider claim that it is caused by a reduced blood flow to the frontal cortex, which results in decreased neuronal activity. Both Torrey et al (1977) and O’Callaghan et al (1991) find links between schizophrenia and viral infections in pregnant mothers. Torrey found a higher percentage of schizophrenics were born in winter, increasing proportionally to the increased number of infections. O’Callaghan found increased incidence of schizophrenia when mothers contracted flu in their 5th month of pregnancy. He suggested that the virus may remain inactive until adolescence – the period of time schizophrenic symptoms begin to appear usually due to hormonal changes.
Ambrus et al used MRI scans to discover that schizophrenics had small corpus callosums (the connective neuronal between the two hemispheres of the brain) and a high density of white matter in both the right frontal and parietal lobes. It was also found that there was some abnormal functioning of the neural circuit, which connects the limbic system with the prefrontal...