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Explanations Of Schizophrenia Notes

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Explanations of Schizophrenia

Genetic explanations of Sz

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Some people inherit a genetic predisposition to Sz. Your chances of inheriting Sz are increased if you have a genetic relative with it. It has been found that the more closely related they are, the greater the chance you will develop the disorder too. For example if you have one Sz parent there is a 13%
chance you will inherit it and if you have two Sz parents it rises to 46%. There are a number of genes that contribute to Sz but none alone are responsible for the disease. It is estimated that the current number of genes associated with Sz is 10. The gene variations linked to the development are common in every population. The more of these gene variations a person has, the greater their risk of developing Sz. A link has been found with a specific gene on chromosome 22 to a near double risk of developing Sz called COMT. It is thought to affect levels of dopamine which is involved in thought, perception and emotions. The changes can result in hallucinations, delusions and disorganised thinking which are all symptoms of Sz.

Strengths of genetic explanations of Sz

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Twin studies show that concordance rates for Sz in monozygotic twins were higher than for dizygotic twins. Since monozygotic twins share more genes, this supports the idea that one of the predisposing factors for Sz could be genetics since it is assumed that both sets of twins would be treated similarly to each other, thus ruling out environmental factors that may cause the condition. However... the concordance rate is never 100% which suggests its not just genes it's other factors as well that affect it e.g. family life. Also MZ twins are often treated more similarly than DZ twins because they look the same and they experience more 'identity confusion' than DZ twins. Therefore the differences in concordance rates might be down to the fact DZ twins have more of a different environment than MZ twins and these environmental factors could play a part in the development of Sz. One longitudinal study compared a group of children with Sz mothers (called the highrisk group) to a group of children with mothers who didn't have Sz (called the lowrisk group). The two groups were matched on many environmental factors such as age, gender and socioeconomic status. When the children reached adulthood, a followup study was conducted which found that 16% of the highrisk children had been diagnosed with Sz whereas only 1.9% of the lowrisk group were diagnosed with it. This suggests there is a strong genetic component because of the clear link between having a parent with Sz and developing it yourself. The Finnish adoption study looked at adopted children whose biological mothers had been diagnosed with Sz and compared them to other adopted children whose mothers hadn't been diagnosed with any mental disorder. They had all been separated by the time they were 4 to try and rule out a contributory environmental factors. It was found that 7% of the children with a Sz mother developed it compared to only 1.5% of the control group. This suggests that it was genetics playing a part in the development of the disorder since environmental factors had been removed such as copying the mother's behaviour.

Weaknesses of genetic explanations of Sz

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The link between parents with Sz and children having Sz might not be solely caused by genetics. SLT theory would

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