Outline and Evaluate One or More Biological Explanations to Schizophrenia

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Outline and evaluate one or more biological explanations of schizophrenia (8 marks AO1/16 marks AO1)
Schizophrenia is classified as a mental disorder that shows profound disruption of cognition and emotion which affects a person’s language, perception, thought and sense of self. The dopamine hypothesis states that schizophrenic’s neurones transmitting dopamine release the neurotransmitter too easily, leading to the characteristic symptoms of schizophrenia. This hypothesis claims that schizophrenics have abnormally high amounts of D2 receptors; receptors that receive dopamine, therefore resulting in a higher amount of D2 receptors binding to the receptors causing more impulses. Dopamine neurotransmitters play a key role in guiding attention, so an imbalance of this neuron leads to problems relating to attention, perception and thought. Amphetamines are a dopamine agonist drug, which stimulates the neurons containing dopamine. According to the dopamine hypothesis, large doses of the drug lead to the characteristic schizophrenic symptoms, hallucinations and delusions.

The development and use of Antipsychotic drugs to treat schizophrenia support the dopamine hypothesis. The drugs work by blocking activity of dopamine and have been shown to alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations, delusions and thinking problems associated with the disorder. This is because by reducing dopamine activity helps to maintain a constant level in guiding attention, leading to a decrease in key schizophrenic symptoms of hallucinations and delusions because they can be caused by being overly attentive. Statistics increase the reliability of the biological explanation of the dopamine hypothesis for explaining schizophrenia; as they show Antipsychotics have a 60% success rate. Therefore, this shows a link between high levels of dopamine activity and schizophrenia, as antipsychotics work by blocking the dopamine activity. This has led to more...
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