Week 9: Concepts of Psychological Disorders Knowledge Check: Psychological Disorders Essay

Week 9: Concepts of Psychological Disorders Knowledge Check: Psychological Disorders Essay

Week 9: Concepts of Psychological Disorders Knowledge Check: Psychological Disorders

Scenario 1: Schizophrenia

  1. What are the known characteristics of schizophrenia and relate those to this patient?

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder displayed in patients who interpreted reality abnormally just like the 22-year-old patient in the provided case study. It can lead to a combination of delusion. Hallucination and extremely disordered behaviour and thinking impair the patient normal functioning (Correll et al., 2019). The patient in the provided case study reported signs of auditory and visual hallucination, unexpected rage and crying, and delusion. Additional symptoms include disorganized speech and thinking as demonstrated by the results of the mental status examination. The patient also displayed negative symptoms such as inability to make eye contact and being socially withdrawn which are significant indications of schizophrenia disorder.


  1. Genetics are sometimes attached to schizophrenia explains this.

Pre-molecular and molecular genetic studies have reported that genetics play a significant role in the development of schizophrenia.  Consequently, the inheritance pattern of the disease demonstrates increased risk among first relatives. At the molecular level, several positional and functional genes associated with the development of schizophrenia have been identified, such as neuregulin (NRG-1, 8p12–21), proline dehydrogenase (PRODH-2, 22q11.21), dysbindin, (DTNBP1,6p22.3), catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT, 22q11.21), G72 (13q34) / D-amino acid oxidase (DAAO,12q24),5HT2A and dopamine D3 receptor (DRD3) and regulator of G protein signaling (RGS-4) (Cleynen et al., 2021). Recent studies support schizophrenia candidate regions on chromosomes 1q, 2q, 5q, 6p, 8p, 10p, 13q,15q and 22q. Additional studies are however required to provide a precise association with the above-mentioned genetic factors concerning how they lead to the development of schizophrenia.

  1. What roles do neurotransmitters play in the development of schizophrenia?

Neurotransmitters are chemicals responsible for conveying messages between brain cells. Studies illustrate an association between changes in the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain to the development of schizophrenia. This is evident by the mechanism of antipsychotics in relieving symptoms of schizophrenia through altering the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Recent studies have reported several biochemical alterations in schizophrenia, concerningneurotransmitter dysfunction in different systems, with the most prominent being γ‎-aminobutyric acid (GABA), serotonin, glutamate, and dopamine (Müller, 2018). For instance, alterations in the signaling of dopamine and hyperactivity of the D2 receptor in the limbic and subcortical region of the brain have been associated with some of the schizophrenia symptoms including delusion and hallucination. Consequently, hypodopaminergic activity in the mesocortical system is also associated with negative symptoms of schizophrenia such as flattening, lack of pleasure, withdrawal, and inability to follow through.

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  1. Explain what structural abnormalities are seen in people with schizophrenia.

Through imaging studies, several complex patterns of structural abnormalities have been reported among patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, in addition to those who are at high risk of the disorder (Zhao et al., 2018). For example, MRI studies have reported a reduced volume of grey matter in the prefrontal, superior temporal, and medial temporal areas of the brain. These regions of the brain are involved in several functions such as short-term memory/decision making, processing of auditory information, and episodic memory respectively. Postmortem studies on the other hand report that a reduction in the cortical grey matter does not indicate loss of cell bodies but instead, reflects a reduction in synaptic density and dendritic complexity which may impair intraneuronal integration and communication leading to cognitive changes among other associated symptoms. Disruptions in the integrity of the white matter have also been implicated in schizophrenia, given that it forms the structural connections between different regions of the brain.

Scenario 2: Bipolar Disorder

  1. How does genetics play in the development of bipolar 2 disorders?  

Bipolar disorder (BD) is characterized by extreme shifts in the patient’s mood, behaviour, and energy levels. The patient in the provided case study is however diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder, which is characterized by hypomanic and depressive episodes. The inheritance pattern of bipolar 2 disorder is quite unclear. Studies however report greater risks among first-degree relatives, with genetic factors accounting for approximately 80% of the causes of this mental disorder (Gordovez& McMahon, 2020). Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have associated increased risk of bipolar 2 disorder with several genetic factors such as alpha-1 subunit of the L-type voltage-gated calcium channel (CACNA1C), teneurin transmembrane protein 4 (ODZ4), ankyrin G node of Ranvier (ANK3), nesprin-1 (SYNE1) and diacylglycerol kinase eta (DGKH).For instance, the DGKH is involved in diacylglycerol (DAG) phosphorylation in the phosphoinositol pathway sensitive to lithium, which contributes to the development of the bipolar disorder.


Cleynen, I., Engchuan, W., Hestand, M. S., Heung, T., Holleman, A. M., Johnston, H. R., … & Bassett, A. S. (2021). Genetic contributors to the risk of schizophrenia in the presence of a 22q11. 2 deletion. Molecular psychiatry26(8), 4496-4510. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-0654-3

Correll, C. U., Brevig, T., & Brain, C. (2019). Patient characteristics, burden, and pharmacotherapy of treatment-resistant schizophrenia: results from a survey of 204 US psychiatrists. BMC psychiatry19(1), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-019-2318-x

Gordovez, F. J. A., & McMahon, F. J. (2020). The genetics of bipolar disorder. Molecular psychiatry25(3), 544-559.https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-019-0634-7

Müller, N. (2018). Inflammation in schizophrenia: pathogenetic aspects and therapeutic considerations. Schizophrenia bulletin44(5), 973-982. https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sby024

Zhao, C., Zhu, J., Liu, X., Pu, C., Lai, Y., Chen, L., … & Hong, N. (2018). Structural and functional brain abnormalities in schizophrenia: a cross-sectional study at different stages of the disease. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry83, 27-32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2017.12.017.

Week 9: Concepts of Psychological Disorders
Knowledge Check: Psychological Disorders, DUE ON 1/29/22
In this exercise, you will complete a 5-essay type question Knowledge Check to gauge your understanding of this module’s content.
Possible topics covered in this Knowledge Check include:
• Generalized anxiety disorder
• Depression
• Bipolar disorders
• Schizophrenia
• Delirium and dementia
• Obsessive compulsive disease

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