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Inter-Relatedness between Schizophrenic Hallucinations and Biological Causes Essay

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Updated: Nov 22nd, 2021

Outline

This paper seeks to establish the possibilities of inter-relatedness between schizophrenic hallucinations and biological causes. It begins with a brief look into the definition of schizophrenia and the common symptoms that have elicited the debate. The body of the discussion starts by exploring the current issues that relate to the question of whether hallucinations are related to biological causes. It explores the mixed reactions that have been brought up in a bid to explain the behavior. What follows is a deep insight into the perspective of the debate on whether biological psychology affects psychotic behavior. The paper ends is brief conclusive remarks that relay the stance on the issues raised.

Introduction

Schizophrenia, which is a chronic mental illness characterized by delusions, hallucinations, distorted speech and distorted cognitive ability, is considered one of the most common health conditions. Delusions refer to an individual experiencing beliefs perceived to be true when they are not, while hallucination refers to experiencing sounds and images that seem to be there but are actually just a creation of the patient’s mind. These symptoms explain the individual’s psychotic behavior characterized by the inability to distinguish reality from imagination. Ashley (2009) stated that the exact cause of schizophrenia is not understood though attempts have been made to make biological and psychological explanations of schizophrenic’s behavior. The exact root causes of the hallucinations associated with schizophrenia have elicited mixed debate among people.

Current issues related to the topic

Presently, there is a lot of debate going on surrounding issues related to schizophrenia. The discussion ranges from the explanation of the behavior to the causes of the illness. One such debate is whether the behavior can be termed biological or psychological. Currently, the empirical evidence from research indicates that hallucinations as a symptom have biological predisposition factors that influence mental illness while psychological factors are also said to affect the possibilities of a person experiencing mental illness and their rate of recovery from such mental illness. The studies have concluded that of most importance is having in mind that both biological and psychological influences are valid and are important in helping to reduce the likelihood of occurrence and also in the recovery process.

Another issue is the optimum dosage of antipsychotic antidopaminergic drugs administered to a patient in various stages of the illness. Cullen (2008) published an article revealing the unorthodox strategies used by medics in establishing the right dosage for the patient and the correct methodology of establishing the exact stage of the illness. Calls are being made for establishing the correct dosage of antipsychotics during the different phases namely; rapid tranquilization in, acute psychotic phases of a schizophrenic, chronically hospitalized psychotic schizophrenic patients and during maintenance phases of schizophrenia.

The increasing quest for quality of life (QoL) in schizophrenics explains their recent willingness to seek therapy as a remedy for the symptoms such as hallucinations. Recent studies have revealed that QoL is a complex concept consisting of illness-related symptoms (e.g. hallucinations), medication and variables that relate to stress. This has inspired the current debate on various ways to prevent the illness with suggestions being made that incorporates personality traits, increased social support and medication treatment. Clinical interventions have therefore recommended that as an effective way of maximizing quality of life, the patient should start with antipsychotics with little effect on attention, motivation or effect as the first treatment remedy.

A recent discussion that was going on about the symptoms of schizophrenia is the allegations that such patients displayed dual personality traits. The misconception is that schizophrenics behave irrationally in one minute and in the next minute they show normal behavior. Scientists in a bid to rescue the situation have explained that it is correct to say that individuals suffering from schizophrenia experience recurrent surges of dysfunction and disorder occurrences. Another misconception connected to dual personality traits is the branding of people with the condition as having violent behavior. Evidence to back these allegations has been found wanting. The explanation to this misconception has been attributed to the media for hyping the rare incidents of violence by schizophrenics giving an impression that they are frequent while they are rare. Experts have actually stated that patients are actually likely to be the victims of violence and have released statistics showing that if patients of the conditions were cured in a day, the cases of violence in the UK for instance would drop by just 1%.

Relate the topic to the area of biological psychology

When it comes to understanding schizophrenia, one subject has always dominated the debate concerning the actual explanation of behavior symptomatic of the illness such as hallucination. The discussion has taken two sides with the behavior being attributed to biological cause on one side and on the other side the argument being that the behavior is caused by psychological factors. Evidence supporting the biological explanation state that hallucinations are related to changes in brain activity and the physiology related to it. The psychological explanation is that the disorder is psychotic and is characterized by lapses in contact with reality and a lack of self-insight. The raging debate has resulted in a lot of research on the two areas and having in mind the conclusions drawn as a result of carefully comparing the two, I’d say the hallucinations can be explained both biologically and psychologically.

Biological psychology leans towards explaining the aspects of our behavior, both normal and abnormal, as having a strong link to the inheritance of the genes from our parents. Hallucinations associated with schizophrenia have been found to be common in the biological relatives of schizophrenics. The greater the degree of relatedness seems to rhyme with the rate of prevalence of the behavior. This is supported by the researcher’s discovery of a defective gene called PPP3CC in the DNA of individuals with schizophrenia as noted by Walsh (2008). Schizophrenia-associated behavior has been linked to the prevalence of neurotransmitter dopamine which is a neurohormone associated with the inhibition of production of prolactin from the pituitary. Individuals exhibiting schizophrenic-related hallucinations were found to have brains containing high amounts of dopamine which inhibited the normal nerve impulses. The dopamine levels have also been found to explain the problem of loss of attention. Exposure to viral infections before birth could also explain abnormal behavior. This has been found to resurface during puberty when hormonal activities increase. The evidence to support this is the fact that children found to suffer hallucinations associated with schizophrenia were found to have been born during winter.

Schizophrenic hallucinations can also be explained based on psychological evidence. One such explanation seeks to link the psychotic behavior to the family interaction. Nassir (1999) wrote that children who are exposed to hostility and criticism by their parents or exposed to situations where they are given conflicting messages in a family setting seem to display the possibility of the child relapsing into schizophrenia. Another psychological explanation of the behavior is based on social class. The discussion is supported by the common knowledge that most people with hallucinations associated with schizophrenia are evidently from the lower social class where possibilities of stress are high. Dysfunctional marriages marred with the conflict between parents have been found to result in schizophrenic tendencies in the offspring in a term referred to as “marital schism”.

Concluding remarks

While biological explanations of Schizophrenic related hallucinations have received the most attention in recent times in terms of research, ignoring the psychological explanations would lead to unanswered questions in the topic. The conflicting explanations in the behavior are however efforts to try and devise the best medication of the psychotic tendencies by understanding how the tendencies are developed and the ideal way to control the environmental/societal factors that lead to them. Despite the persistent arguments of both sides, schizophrenic hallucinations are a result of the development of both biological and psychological factors. Understanding this concept has led to a hybrid treatment method that incorporates the use of medication in the initial stages and adopting a therapeutic approach to contain the situation.

Reference

Ashley, C. (2009). Connoisseur Ashley’s Bloggage Base: Biological & Psychological Explanations of Schizophrenia, 1-3. Web.

Cullen K.R, Kumra, S, Regan J et al. (2008). Atypical Antipsychotics for Treatment of schizophreniaa Spectrum Disorders: Psychiatric Times. 25 (3). Web.

Nassir, G. (1999). An Empirical Approach to Understanding Delusions: Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology 6:1 Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology. 6.1 (1999) 21-24. Web.

Walsh, K., (2008) Schizophrenia – Biological Explanation – Abnormal Brain Structure: Abnormal Brain Structure. 17-19. Web.

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