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What is Schizophrenia?

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Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness, characterised by symptoms affecting the patient’s perception of reality, emotions, thoughts and behaviour. TraditionalThere is a range of symptoms such as delusion, disturbed and illogical thoughts, irrational behaviour, hallucinations, such as hearing voices, disruption of verbal communication and negative symptoms such as emotional disengagement, social disconnection and absence of normal behaviour.

Paragraph about schizophrenia, types of schizophrenia more about symptoms and what is involved in which one. Among people diagnosed with schizophrenia, 65% describe hearing voices telling them things that no one else can hear (Frith and Fletcher, 1995). Researchers have found that there are two determinants, or ‘causes’ to the disorder, these are referred to as biological and psychological factors. The first one to be discussed is biological factors.

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Biological factors are described as the role biology has in schizophrenia. Studies on genetics, neuroanatomy and prenatal and perinatal environments show evidence for the biological determinants. Studies have shown that genetics has an influence on the likelihood of a person developing schizophrenia. Family history is known as the strongest risk factor for schizophrenia, as it increases the risk of developing the disorder by about 5-50 times depending on the extent of genetic similarity (Gottesman, 1991).

While examining the brain structure and activity of closest relatives of patients with schizophrenia, it was found that they share roughly 50% of their genome (Sullivan et al, 2003). Another area of influence in the likelihood of developing schizophrenia is prenatal and perinatal factors. Being exposed to environmental variations during a critical period of brain development, and environmental situations that cause stress can lead to impaired neuronal responses and symptoms of malfunctioning of the prefrontal cortex (the prefrontal cortex is an area of the brain located in the frontal lobe responsible for a variety of complex behaviours and it contributes to the development of the individual’s personality), which provides a link between the environment and the symptoms observed in psychological disorders (Arnsten, A. F., 2009). Finally, another biological area to be emphasised as evidence for the causes of schizophrenia is neuroanatomy.

As soon as neuroimaging techniques were discovered, researchers started to look for anatomical characteristics of the brain in patients with schizophrenia. Observations revealed that in some of the patients, the ventricles were abnormally enlarged, which suggested that there was loss of brain tissue, probably because of an anomaly during the prenatal brain development (Arnold et al., 1998). However, there are some limitations to this theory. Firstly, enlarged ventricles were only found in a minority of patients with schizophrenia. Secondly, it was found that this type of abnormality could be caused by the medications that were prescribed for schizophrenia patients (Gur et al 1998). In addition, it should be noted that there are psychological factors that contribute to schizophrenia.

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What is Schizophrenia? (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2023, from
“What is Schizophrenia?” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
What is Schizophrenia? [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 9 Dec. 2023].
What is Schizophrenia? [Internet] Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2023 Dec 9]. Available from:
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