Issues Related the Classification of Schizophrenia Essay

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a) Outline the Clinical characteristics of Schizophrenia (4 marks) In order to be diagnosed with schizophrenia (according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders (DSM) IV) there must be continuous signs of 2 or more symptoms over at least 6 months. This can include positive symptoms which reflect an excess or distortion of normal functions, such as bizarre behaviour, hallucinations, disorganized speech and delusions; which can be sub-characterized as delusions of grandeur, reference, persecution, nihilism and thought control. At the other end of schizophrenia is negative symptoms which reflect a loss of normal functions, this includes catatonic trance, flattened affect and avolition. b) Explain and discuss issues related to the classification of Schizophrenia (20 marks) An issue with classifying schizophrenia with the medical model is that it requires a diagnosis, with physical illness; diagnosis is relatively straight forward as it can be based on clear physical tests which can help explain the cause of the disorder. However for mental disorders such as schizophrenia there are no yes or no tests that can be carried out making diagnosis and classification difficult. This may because there is no single aetiology, so if the cause is unknown it creates issues for diagnosis and the validity. It has been suggested that genetics are a cause as in Gottesman’s twin studies, found there was 48% concordance in MZ twins compared to only 17% in DZ twins. Although this does suggest a genetic element, the fact that it is not 100% in MZ tins suggests that there must be other factors such as environmental. This interplay of a range of causes also creates issues for the prognosis of the disorder as different causes a likely to have different effects on how the schizophrenia develops. This is shown in the rule of thirds where one third will recover and lead normal lives, one third will experience occasional relapses, and for the last third, the schizophrenia...
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