Neurochemical explanation for depression

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Neurochemical explanation for depression
2014-04-26 19:27:14
Psychology Schizophrenia

AQA PSYB3 Schizophrenia
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  1. What is the dopamine hypothesis?
    • Dopamine is thought to play a role in cognitive function
    • Too much dopamine can cause cognitive disturbance 
    • Schizophrenic brains have too many D2 receptors meaning too many impulses are sent in the brain
  2. How do anti psychotic drugs support the neurochemical explanation?
    • Drugs that block D2 receptors, preventing dopamine from binding and returning it to normal levels and making the neurone fire at a normal rate
    • Reducing levels of dopamine in the brain reduce schizophrenia symptoms such as hallucinations
  3. What can be concluded from the use of anti psychotic drugs as evidence?
    • The reduction of symptoms suggests that dopamine plays a part in schizophrenia 
    • These drugs do not work on all patients suggesting dopamine is not the only cause 
    • Treatment fallacy is a possibility
  4. How does Parkinson's disease offer support to the neurochemical explanation?
    • Parkinson's is a motor functioning inhibiting brain disorder caused by low levels of dopamine in the brain 
    • I dopa, a symptomatic relief drug increases dopamine levels in the brain 
    • Overdose of the drug can lead to schizophrenic symptoms
  5. How do amphetamines offer support to the neurochemical explanation?
    • When amphetamines are taken in excess, schizophrenic symptoms are often exhibited 
    • Amphetamines increase dopamine levels in the brain
  6. What did Wong et al find?
    • PET scans were carried out on the brains of schizophrenics 
    • A higher density of dopamine activity was recorded in schizophrenic brains than the control group 
    • The findings haven't been replicated and might not be reliable
  7. How does the neurochemical explanation over emphasise on nature?
    • It ignores the effect of the environment and other explanations 
    • An interactionist approach is needed to fully explain the disorder
  8. How is the neurochemical explanation deterministic?
    • It states that people have no free will and are completely controlled by dopamine levels 
    • This leaves sufferers helpless and passive and can lead to forced medication of patients
  9. How is the neurochemical explanation reductionist?
    • It reduces a complex disorder down to a simple cause, dopamine 
    • This means other factors such as cognitions and environment are ignored when schizophrenia is likely caused by an interaction of factors
  10. How has Dopamine been linked to other illnesses?
    • It has been linked to other disorders such as OCD and Depression 
    • This suggests that dopamine could be caused by other brain chemicals and dopamine alone is not the cause of schizophrenia
  11. What did Durand and Barlow suggest?
    • Serotonin plays a bigger part in schizophrenia 
    • Serotonin is a master neurotransmitter that controls other neurochemicals such as dopamine 
    • New drugs such as clozapine that are more effective in reducing symptoms affect serotonin rather than dopamine
  12. How is the neurochemical explanation unfalsifiable and unscientific?
    • It is difficult to prove or disprove that a single neurotransmitter is causing schizophrenia 
    • The studies into neurotransmitters are flawed and only lead to correlations 
    • Schizophrenia is likely caused by many different chemicals
  13. Why is there a problem with generalisability for the neurochemical explanation?
    • Only type 1 symptoms can be explained by the dopamine hypotheses
    • Type 2 cannot be explained
  14. What applications has the neurochemical explanation led to?
    • Drugs have been developed to treat patients, replacing barbaric practices such as ECT and Psychosurgery 
    • These drugs are less traumatic to take and allow patients to lead a more normal life
  15. How does treatment fallacy affect the explanation?
    • Just because drugs reducing dopamine levels reduce symptoms, schizophrenia is not necessarily caused by an excess of dopamine 
    • An unknown third variable could be the cause
  16. How can drug treatment be criticised?
    • Not all patients respond to drug treatment suggesting there are other causes
    • There are ethical issues with forcing treatment upon patients
  17. What would the interactionist approach suggest?
    Schizophrenia is too complex to be caused by a single chemical and is probably the result of many factors