Schizophrenia: Genetic or Environmental?

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Schizophrenia: Genetic or Environmental?
About one percent of the American population suffers from schizophrenia. The term schizophrenia literally means the "splitting of psychic functions" (Pinel, 447). At the time of the early 20th century, this is what was used to describe what was assumed at that time to be the primary symptom: the breakdown of integration among emotion, thought, and action (Pinel, 447). Schizophrenia is a form of psychotic disorder which causes people to have difficulty interpreting reality. These individuals develop changes in their thinking, perceptions and even behavior. It is believed to be caused as a result of a disturbance in the development of the brain. It is still uncertain, however, whether the disorder is characterized only by genetic factors, or if it is influenced by outside environmental factors as well.
Schizophrenia is a disease that strikes young people in their prime. This disease distorts the senses, making it very difficult for the individual to tell what is real from what is not. The usual onset of this disorder is between the ages of sixteen and twenty five. With this disease they will have a disorder that will last for at least six months and includes at least one month of active phase symptoms (i.e. two [or more] of the following: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior). Only one symptom is required if delusions are bizarre or hallucinations consist of a voice keeping up a running commentary on the persons behavior or thoughts, and if there are two or more conversing with each other (Pinel, 449). The essential features of schizophrenia are mixtures of characteristic signs and symptoms which can be either positive or negative. A person with Schizophrenia may be conceptualized as falling into two broad categories, positive or negative. The positive symptoms appear to reflect an excessive or distortion of normal function, whereas the negative symptoms



Cited: Comer, Ronald J. Abnormal Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers, 2004. 435-461. Picker, Jonathan. "The Role of Genetic and Environmental Factors in the Development of Schizophrenia." CMP Media LLC. Lexis Nexis. Davidson Library, Santa Barbara, CA. 30 Nov. 2005. Pinel, John P.J. Biopsychology. Ed. Karon Bowers. Boston: Pearson, 2006. 447-454. Tsuang, Ming T. and Stephen V. Faraone. "Genes, Environment, and Schizophrenia." The British Journal of Psychiatry 2001. 28 Nov 2005

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