Biopsychological Analysis of Schizophrenia
Affecting approximately one percent of the population across the world, schizophrenia is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD) characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and mental processes, social isolation, and inconsistencies in behavior (Wilson, 2013). To understand schizophrenia, one must first understand neurobiology. Neurobiology is the study of the nervous system and how it influences behavior. Neurology is instrumental in the understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders. Hence, schizophrenia being a type of NDD, can apply the neurobiological theory. Kim (2016) concurs that neurobiological theory helps understand the cause, treatment, mechanism, and results of schizophrenia. This paper seeks to: 1) Explain theories of etiology of schizophrenia, 2) examine the factors causing the disorder, and 3) explain the disease pattern associated with schizophrenia. Lastly, the paper will discuss the various treatment methods and technologies while factoring in the neurobiological aspects of the methods.
Theories of Etiology of Schizophrenia
Kim (2016) explains the causes of schizophrenia using the neurobiological theory, the neurodevelopmental theory, and the genetic theory. The main theory of emphasis to the paper is the neurobiological theory. From a neurobiological approach, NDD occurs when neurotransmitters start to malfunction. If there is a mismatch in the production of serotonin, glutamate, and dopamine in the nervous system, the patient may have a dysfunctional brain. This theory explains the onset of this disorder from the point where the neurotransmitters are dysfunctional. Tang et al. (2021) put out that the neurotransmitters may have excess dopamine, less glutamate, expression of high levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), or low serotonin levels. Therefore, they hinder proper brain function.
Secondly, the genetic theory explains the presence of genes that influence the risk of NDD. Several epidemiological studies reported that some genes are associated with different types of NDDs (Rosella and Vetri, 2021). Moreover, genetic studies confirm the possibility of genes that influence NDD when siblings are born with NDD from parents suffering from NDD. Kim (2016) concurs through hereditary reports from schizophrenia that siblings exhibit an estimate of eighty percent chances of having schizophrenia if the parents suffer from schizophrenia. Thirdly, the neurodevelopmental theory associates the risk of NDD to adverse environmental exposure, exposure to pathogens, or linkage to lifestyle patterns.
Factors that Cause the Disorder
Schizophrenia occurs due to several factors. One, an individual’s genetically enhances the risk of NDD. Research studies show that genes are associated with neurodevelopmental disorder development (Tang et al., 2021). Here, genetic theories explain the involvement of catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) and neuregulin one genes in the development of autism schizophrenia (Kim, 2016). Two, the NDD’s may occur along family lines. Therefore, when someone in the family line suffers from NDD, another person is born with NDD. In addition, NDD may develop from human interactions within the life complexities. D’Souza and Karmiloff-Smith (2017), through their study of the neuroconstructivist developmental approach process, posit that the human brain undergoes changes when brain regions process different types of inputs. As a result, the brain gets injuries that impair its cognitive functions. In this sense, when the individual is in a war zone, the explosive sounds damage their brains, increasing the chances of developing NDD’s.
Moreover, lifestyle choices such as abuse of drugs influence the risk of the infant developing NDD. Lastly, environmental factors may influence the risk of NDD’s, especially during birth. Therefore, exposure of pregnant mothers to chemicals influences the risk of NDD. D’Souza and Karmiloff-Smith (2017) emphasize the need for pregnant women to avoid contact with toxic environmental chemicals that affect the nervous system, such as lead and pesticides, since they increase the chances of NDD’s on the baby.
Pathology and Abnormalities of the Disorder
A patient who has schizophrenia may experience a variety of different disease patterns. Patients with severe cases suffer hallucinations due to inconsistent neurotransmitters. Moreover, high-risk patients are associated with several abnormalities. The abnormalities occur in the brain structure, physiological functions of the brain, neurochemical balance, or neuropathological aspects of the brain. According to Tang et al. (2021), while reporting etiological findings, those abnormalities involved: less white matter, dysfunctional frontal cortex, malfunction in neuronal and membrane, and improper function of neurotransmitters. On the other hand, the chronic stage involves patients with less severe symptoms. Here, the case may result from slight alterations of neurochemicals or abnormalities associated with the prefrontal cortex.
Treatment Options Based on Neurobiological Aspect
The pharmacological approach involves the practical application of antipsychotics helps with the regulation of the dysfunctional neurotransmitters. For example, the use of Clozapine antipsychotic helps regulate serotonin and dopamine (Tang et al., 2021). Moreover, Clozapine reduces hallucinations while providing lower levels of side effects.
Alternatively, the patient may undertake behavioral health programs. Here, the therapist administers an antipsychotic drug then takes the patient through sessions while monitoring changes in behavior (Rosella & Vetri, 2021). One example is undertaking therapy sessions to help patients learn to manage their behavior control techniques.
Diagnostic and Research Technologies Employed
For effective treatment methods, the doctor may recommend medication and non-drug treatment methods. First, drug treatment methods involve antipsychotic drugs (Tang et al., 2021). Alternatively, non-drug treatments involve diagnostic programs, therapy programs, and behavioral programs. Diagnostic programs are thorough and involving. In this approach, the patient needs to be aware of various steps in the diagnostic procedure, including possible side effects. If the patient and the family agree, they are given the most applicable antipsychotic followed by psychoeducation programs to help them manage the medication.
Some technological advancements to cure NDD involve brain imaging. Brain imaging procedures help to evaluate the brain state. In this sense, brain imaging on the patient will help the caregiver assess the brain’s progress. Lastly, monitoring the patient’s progress by the caregiver while noting the side effects of the antipsychotic medication helps evaluate the treatment progress.
The neurobiological theory critically explains the etiology, mechanism, abnormalities, and treatment of schizophrenia. From the theory, clarity is given when defining the disorder. The theory further explains the likely symptoms by showing schizophrenia causes brain damage while disrupting internal chemical functions of the brain. Moreover, the theory scientifically explains the treatment methods and technology, thereby providing an applicable medical treatment guide. Therefore, the theory is significant to the proper explanation of diseases.
D’Souza, H., & Karmiloff-Smith, A. (2017). Neurodevelopmental disorders. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. Cognitive Science, 8(1-2). e1398.
Kim, M. (2016). Understanding the Etiology and Treatment Approaches of Schizophrenia: Theoretical Perspectives and their Critique. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 6(04), 253.
Rosella, M., & Vetri, L. (2021). Embracing the Complexity of Neurodevelopmental Disorders.
Tang, X., Jaenisch, R., & Sur, M. (2021). The role of GABAergic signaling in neurodevelopmental disorders. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 22(5), 290-307.
Wilson, J. F. (2013). Biological basis of behavior. Bridgepoint Education.