Abnormal and Clinical Psychology: An Introductory Textbook

By Paul Bennett | Go to book overview

6
Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is one of the most controversial psychiatric diagnoses. Over time, debates have addressed whether a distinct state of schizophrenia actually exists, whether it results from genetic or environmental causes, and whether it should be treated using drug therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, or more social or psychological approaches. This chapter will address each of these issues. By the end of the chapter, you should have an understanding of:
The nature of schizophrenia
Alternative understandings of the 'symptoms' of schizophrenia
The possible causal role of genetic factors, the family and psychosocial factors
Neuronal and neurotransmitter models of the disorder
Psychological models of the experiences of people diagnosed as having schizophrenia
Differing approaches to the treatment of schizophrenia and their effectiveness.

The condition now labelled schizophrenia was first described by Kraepelin ([1883] 1981) using the term dementia praecox. This label was chosen to indicate that it was a progressive and deteriorating illness with no return to pre-morbid levels of functioning. Some years later, Bleuler (1908) identified four fundamental symptoms of what he termed the group of schizophrenias (literally, 'split mind'): ambivalence, disturbance of association, disturbance of mood and a preference for fantasy over reality. In retrospect, many of these people may actually have been suffering from a number of neurological disorders including a form of encephalitis known as encephalitis lethargica (Boyle 1990).


The nature of schizophrenia

The exact nature of schizophrenia remains hotly disputed. However, the consensus view is that it comprises a number of related disorders characterized by fundamental distortions of thinking and perception. Disturbances in thought processes are usually the most obvious symptom of schizophrenia. Conversations may lack coherence,

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Abnormal and Clinical Psychology: An Introductory Textbook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations xiii
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • Part I - Background and Methods 1
  • 1: Introduction 3
  • 2: The Psychological Perspective 29
  • 3: Biological Explanations and Treatments 62
  • 4: Beyond the Individual 86
  • Part II - Specific Issues 111
  • 5: Somatoform Disorders 113
  • 6: Schizophrenia 141
  • 7: Anxiety Disorders 170
  • 8: Mood Disorders 205
  • 9: Trauma-Related Conditions 233
  • 10: Sexual Disorders 262
  • 11: Personality Disorders 289
  • 12: Eating Disorders 318
  • 13: Developmental Disorders 341
  • 14: Neurological Disorders 370
  • 15: Addictions 392
  • Glossary 421
  • References 427
  • Index 485
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