Schizophrenia Is a Family Research Paper

Pages: 7 (2298 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Such elements include strengths and vulnerabilities for dealing with stress. The term "vulnerability" is not a judgmental term that implies weakness but instead is an attempt to understand the variables involved in developing severe forms of mental illness. For instance, a person with an innate very low vulnerability could consequently withstand a great amount of stress; however, perhaps solitary confinement could stress the person so much that they experience a psychotic episode. Such as case could be viewed as a "normal" reaction to extreme stress for that person. A different person might have an innately higher vulnerability, due to genetic a predisposition for example, and solitary confinement would not affect them as severely. Another person might have a genetic loading but may have suffered the loss of mother when they were young (as a child) and then was traumatically abused. Such a person might develop psychotic symptoms in young adulthood. Zubin and Spring's model was obviously simplistic, but was the forerunner of the notion that a genetic vulnerability combined with life experiences lead to illnesses, especially severe psychopathology. In addition, this model did unite the many different approaches to understanding the development of psychosis. There have been much more sophisticated models that explain these interactions such as the model of Nuechterlein and Dawson (1984).

Increasing the coping skills of a person with schizophrenia and/or altering certain potentially stressful environmental factors (family, work, housing, etc.) and prudent use of the proper anti-psychotic medication can reduce a person's vulnerability and build their resistance to stress. Group therapy can help to build a sense of self-efficacy, increase a person's self-esteem and self-acceptance, which may all be protective against relapse. People with schizophrenia are often treated from a multi-disciplinary approach (Picchioni & Murray, 2007) indicating the recognition of multiple interacting factors in the cause of this disorder.

This essay represents a brief summation of a substantial topic. This brief view does enable us to clearly visualize the complications of the dichotomy apparent in most casual attributions of schizophrenia: is it due to nature or nurture? In effect, this is a false dichotomy that more realistically represents the interaction of two symbiotic forces. After years of study scientists actually know relatively little about schizophrenia, except for its distressing effects on people, families, and society. The one thing that has been learned is that there are no easy answers to understanding this disorder. Given the stance of biological psychiatry these days those take the "nature" route appear unlikely or at the very least are difficult to be swayed by the opposing viewpoint; however, it also appears that the inverse also applies. The issue is that it is nearly impossible to sway a person directly from one extreme point-of-view to another, which often appears to be the goal in nature vs. nurture type debates. This author suggests that often the most valuable and functional truths to a situation are those that are found in the middle ground, between the extreme views at opposing endpoints. The most important way to understand most forms of psychopathology is to view how biology and environment contribute to their expression and not to focus on one extreme and not the other. As we begin to understand more about the cause of psychopathology, especially severe disorders like schizophrenia, we can appreciate these different, yet synergistic forces and how they interact to produce their different effects. Once we understand that we are better able to control and possibly cure this devastating family of psychotic disorders.

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th Ed.-test revision). Washington D.C.: author.

Bateson, G., Jackson, D., Haley, J. & Weakland, J. (1956). Toward a theory of schizophrenia. Behavioral Science, 1, 251-264.

Bowen, M. (1960). A family concept of schizophrenia. In D.D. Jackson (Ed.), The Etiology of Schizophrenia. New York: Basic Books.

Feldman, R.S. (2008). Understanding psychology (Ninth Edition). Boston: McGraw Hill.

Fromm-Reichmann, F. (1948). Notes on the development of treatment of schizophrenics by psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Psychiatry, 11, 263-273.

Gottesman, I.I. & Shields, J. (1976). Schizophrenia: the critical review of recent adoption, twin and family studies of schizophrenia: behavioral genetics perspectives. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 2, 360-398.

Lewontin, R.C., Rose, S., & Kamin, S.J. (1985). Not in our genes. New York: Pantheon.

Miller, A. (1991) Banished Knowledge: facing childhood injuries. Virago Press: London

Nuechterlein, K. & Dawson, M.E. (1984). A heuristic vulnerability-stress model of Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 10, 300-312.

Picchioni, M.M. & Murray, R.M. (2007). Schizophrenia. British Medical Journal, 335, 91 -- 95.

Sarason, I. & Sarason, B. (1996) Abnormal Psychology 8th Edition: New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Tienari, P. (1991). Interaction between genetic vulnerability and family environment: The Finnish adoptive family study of schizophrenia. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 84, 460- 465.

Wynne, L.C., Ryckoff, I.M., Day,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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