B) Evaluate the Biological Approach’s Explanation of Schizophrenia.
The biological approach asserts that something in our biology is the fundamental cause of dysfunctional behaviour which could be a genetic cause or a malfunction of brain structures. Although it is seen as the most common explanation for schizophrenia due to the use of drug therapy, it would be deterministic and reductionist to explain schizophrenia only with the biological approach since there are other numerous factors such as the ones related to the cognitive explanation or other environmental causes. Also, even within the biological approach, there are various different biological factors that cause conflict with each other, e.g. genetic tendency, the dopamine hypothesis (a chemical issue), innate brain structures, and diathesis-stress
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Those who display mostly positive symptoms-Type 1- tend to have abnormalities of the limbic system and temporal lobes of the brain. Bogerts (1993) sees this as evidence that there are two distinct types of Sz which are caused by different brain abnormalities. Also, CAT scans have shown that the larger ventricles in the brain of Sz patients than the ones in normal people. Although the enlargement of ventricles may not be a problem, it may indicate that nearby parts of the brain have not developed properly or have atrophied. The evidence to support this idea is that some studies show that Sz tend to have smaller frontal lobes, smaller amounts of cortical grey matter, and a reduced blood flow in their brains (Comer, 1998). The apparent link between Sz and brain abnormalities has led to a search for the cause of those abnormalities.
Lastly, the Diathesis Stress Model is supported by an important on-going study in Finland (Tienari et al, 1994). The researchers found 171 women diagnosed as Sz who had a child that was adopted before the age of 4. The adoptive families were interviewed and given a series of tests. On this basis, they were judged to be ‘healthy’, ‘mildly disturbed’ or ‘severely disturbed’. None of the adopted children raised in ‘healthy’ families