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Schizophrenia: Doctrines of Development

Updated on July 19, 2019
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Rodric completed his bachelor of psychology through the University of Phoenix. His perspective provides guidance and education.

It is important to understand that schizophrenia describes a collection of disorders and not simply one major disorder. Popular television shows and books classify schizophrenia as a singular disorder, usually of the paranoid nature. This disorder is also known to cause hallucinations of sensory organs associated with smell, sound, taste, sight, and touch. It is more common among those inflicted with schizophrenia disorders to experience auditory and visual hallucinations than any other, however. In this article, the components of schizophrenia will receive attention. In the previous article associated with this subject, the focus was on the Daniel Paul Schreber Story

...there is no existing test to determine if a subject is at risk for schizophrenia.

Biological Components

Several views support that biology plays a factor in the development of schizophrenia disorders if genetic elements mingle with environmental aspects at certain stages of development; though, paranoid schizophrenia trends later in adult life.

Researchers have long held that genetic components factor heavily in the potential of a patient to develop symptoms of the disorders as the body of diseases tends to run within families just like many other genetic traits (welcomed or unwelcomed). Because scientists assume that many genes affect how and if a complication from schizophrenia develops in a subject, it is difficult to determine which genes or combination of genes must come together to produce the right recipe which leads to a possible disposition and possible pre-diagnosis.

Because the paranoid schizophrenia develops in maturity, generally in adulthood, research focuses on discovering in the brain where abnormal neurotransmission of several neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine, involved in the sensory regulation system lead to changes that prompt a neurological shift.

However, “more recently it has become clear that schizophrenia has a complex neurodevelopmental basis that includes abnormalities in several neurotransmitter and structural systems."3

Because there is such a wide net of types of schizophrenia, there is no existing test to determine if a subject is at risk for schizophrenia. When symptoms began is the only indication at present.

...paranoid schizophrenics could not relate adequately to pleasantries but could elicit a negative response adequately...

Emotional Components

Daniel Paul Schreber, as mentioned in Schizophrenia & the Daniel Paul Schreber Story, attempted suicide, as do many people with paranoid schizophrenia as a result of the emotional and mental trauma suffered from the disorder. The delusions and paranoia can take a significant toll on loved ones and the individual.

Sigmund Freud expressed the idea that schizophrenia had a biological basis, and “that schizophrenia involved a profound withdrawal of emotional investment in the external world so that individuals with the disorder could not form deep relationships with others, including relationships with psychotherapists.”4

Schreber exhibited this type of detachment from close relationships though he married and maintained a few links with colleagues for years. Recently a study concluded that when confronted with emotional stimuli such as pleasant graphics, paranoid schizophrenics could not relate adequately to pleasantries, but could elicit a negative response adequately when presented with negative graphics.

The trauma is what those plagued with paranoid schizophrenia nurtured in their personality are not nurturing. The effects of trauma are direct evidence that the way a child is reared in the formatives years determines how he or she recognizes the difference between good and bad graphics and exhibits a culturally accepted reaction.

It is unfortunate that Schreber and suffers from paranoid schizophrenia lose the ability to associate pleasant memories with pleasant mages but never forget the negative memories or feelings they have come to associate with negative images.


No amount of behavioral modification will help a patient who is suffering from a chemical imbalance...

Cognitive Components

The role of cognitive function in paranoid schizophrenia has yielded minute success but researchers have developed some workable view in the area. Focusing on the Gemini effect of schizophrenia, researchers suggest a positive and negative portion relating to the collective disorders in general.

The positive, or over-attentive schizophrenic focuses too much on the pertinent details and cannot adequately decipher on what information to focus. The filter is not there to help the person to know what important information to process first to get to the conclusion appropriate for a given situation. “This over attention [sic] leads to difficulties coping with stress, and possibly further to psychotic symptoms such as delusions when clients attempt to explain their odd subjective experiences to themselves.”5

The opposite view suggests that the under attentive sufferer cannot grasp enough of the information to make any coherent meaning of information to form a basis for focus.

Imagine a computer trying to process all information at the same time and run every program without giving a list of priority to which one to complete first. The computer would crash.

People exhibiting dissociative or "split" personality disorders develop such a fracturing of identity as a coping mechanism to deal with the overabundance of information the brain processes. The human brain, remarkably resilient in its development, finds a way to process information even if it leads to uncommon dissociative disorders.


Behavioral Components

The behaviorists tend to believe that behavioral foundations for paranoid schizophrenia and schizophrenia in general, tend to occur because of positive reinforcement for abstract behavior. Those of this vein of thought do not dispute there exist some biological predisposition for the behavior associated with schizophrenia, but levies more with the idea that the behavior would cease to occur if the reinforcers or attention would cease.

In Daniel's case, a behaviorist would conclude had he received the appropriate type of nurture at home instead of the abuse he suffered dispensed by his father, his life would have fared better. Being that those formative experiences in Daniel's life hyper-focused on the negative as research suggests, behaviorists have an interesting point.

In another article, the Showtime program The United States of Tara is mention as a dramatic and entertaining way to capture Dissociative Personality disorder. Behaviorists would do well to review such pop culture shows and how accurate the information and research is regarding behavior. It could provide support to the behaviorist position, possibly.

No amount of behavioral modification will help a patient who is suffering from a chemical imbalance to the development of a type of schizophrenia without a biological means to catch possible pre-diagnosis.

Daniel Schreber’s case has elements from all of the components mentioned in this article. There may exist a possibility that a genetic disposition to develop schizophrenia could have passed to Schreber that remained dormant until a trigger occurred later in life. Unfortunately, there are no clear answers to how Schreber became afflicted so. The details that he kept of his life amazingly reflect the malady from which he suffered. The fact remains when the research concludes that no cure exists.


Bengston, M. (2001). Schizophrenia and psychosis. PsychCentral.

Hansell, J., & Damour, L. (2005). Abnormal psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

  • (Hansell & Damour, 2005, p. 421)3
  • (Hansell & Damour, 2005, p. 426)4
  • (Hansell & Damour, 2005, p. 427)5

Meyer, R. (2006). Case studies in abnormal behavior. (7thed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:Pearson.

© 2018 Rodric Anthony


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