Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder or illness of the brain. During early adulthood, the symptoms of this disease emerge. It is understood that the onset of this condition induces complete permanent changes in the afflicted person’s social and professional involvement. The consequence of this condition affects the speed of different actions, thoughts, vocabulary, and sensory processing as well. In order to clarify the etiologies of Schizophrenia, tremendous research has been explored using emerging methods such as neuroimaging and molecular genetics. This essay will give a brief discussion on the neuro-biological influence of Schizophrenia on the specific role Dopamine plays in its development and the parts of the brain that are affected. Prenatal and perinatal impact on this disorder shall also be accessed.
Neurobiological Influence on Schizophrenia and the Role of Dopamine
Neurobiological influence on Schizophrenia has a genetic link. The genetic effect increases Schizophrenia vulnerability because of the neurobiological abnormalities involved. These abnormalities include the reduced volume of many parts of the brain, widening of the sulcal, and increase in the size of the ventricle and cortical abnormalities especially in the prefrontal and temporal cortices, (David & Mark, 2014). Neurobiological influence is linked to dopamine, glutamate, and serotonin. The Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for controlling the rewards and the pleasures of the brain. It also regulates all the movements and the emotional responses.
Dopamine plays a role in the pathology of the Schizophrenia. According to, (David et al, 2014) the underlying hypothesis in reference to the role of dopamine is that hyperactive transmission of dopamine in the brain results in Schizophrenia symptoms. It’s further evidenced that increased release of the dopamine (D2 receptor) results in positive symptoms of Schizophrenia such as hallucinations and delusions, (David et al, 2014). Reduced release of dopamine (D1 receptor) in the prefrontal cortex results in negative dopaminergic. The D1 receptor leads to negative symptoms of Schizophrenia such as anhedonia, lack of inner drive and poor speech. A decline in dopamine in prefrontal cortex at the level of D1 receptor cause cognitive deficit in Schizophrenia patients. Alternatively, an increase in dopamine activity in the prefrontal cortex results in the impairment of the brain parts involved in cognitive activities.
Brains Parts Involved in Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia affects the brain structure and damages various regions thus resulting in abnormal reflexes. For instance, the ventricles are enlarged in size a phenomenon which is more prevalent in men than women. According to many documented literature Schizophrenia patients are more prone to influenza and likely to have enlarged ventricles. The frontal lobes – dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) of Schizophrenia individuals are affected by hypo-frontality. According to, (David et al, 2014) the prefrontal cortex is responsible for performing executive functions like making decisions and controlling of behavior to acceptable norm. Similarly, The subcortical circuits especially the thalamus and striatum get dysfunctional due to effects of the Schizophrenia.
Prenatal and perinatal influence on Schizophrenia
Prenatal factors occur in the uterine environmental and can significantly affect the manifestation of Schizophrenic symptoms. These prenatal factors such as time and place of birth, Rhesus factor incompatibility, infections during pregnancy, respiratory infections like influenza and pneumonia can lead to increased risk of Schizophrenia or neuropsychiatric disorder. The perinatal influence such as obstetric complications, chronic use of marijuana (Cannabis sativa), parental influence, paternal age, threats and war, and gene- environmental stress have been evidenced to show susceptibility to neuropsychiatric disorders. These perinatal influences only take place after birth
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder caused by various factors including neurobiological influence, gene- environmental factor, prenatal and perinatal influence. The occurrence of this disease damages different parts of the brain thus resulting to malfunctioning of the affected individual in speech, emotions and body movements amongst others.
David H. Barlow, V. Mark Durand (2014): Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach, 7th Edition. Wadsworth Publishers. California. U.S.A.