Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lack Of Motivation In Schizophrenia Linked To Brain Chemical Imbalance

Date:
May 8, 2008
Source:
BMC Psychiatry
Summary:
A study of patients with psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia suggests an alternative explanation for why many sufferers lack motivation. In addition to the hallucinations that often characterize schizophrenia, patients also have major problems with apathy and lack of motivation.

A study of patients with psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia suggests an alternative explanation for why many sufferers lack motivation. The research is described in BMC Psychiatry.

Related Articles


In addition to the hallucinations that often characterize schizophrenia, patients also have major problems with apathy and lack of motivation. The dopamine hypothesis argues that unusual behaviour associated with schizophrenia can largely be explained by variations in the dopamine function of the brain. Exploring a possible link between dopamine activity and the lack of motivation could be key to developing new approaches to helping such patients cope with life.

In a study funded by the National Institute of Health Research, Dr Graham Murray of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge and colleagues studied 18 patients presenting with first-episode psychotic symptoms. They compared the patients' performance against 19 healthy participants in a computerised test of motivated behaviour.

The participants took part in a reaction time test, assigning a reward to each trial. In the control group, almost all individuals reacted faster if the potential reward for completing the task was higher. This well documented phenomenon was observed in less than a quarter of the first-episode psychosis group, suggesting an abnormality in the processing of incentives for their actions. Eleven of these participants were taking atypical antipsychotic medications, which are sometimes thought to be responsible for 'demotivating' patients. However, this study found that these medications had no significant effect on the results.

In the past, some critics have suggested that patients' motivational problems are simply secondary to long-term treatment effects, or institutionalisation, but because the researchers studied young adults at the very early stages of their illness, they could rule out this possibility. "Patients with psychosis already have motivational deficits the first time they present to health services." said Dr Murray. "Understanding the brain basis of these problems will ultimately help in developing new treatments."

The next step in demonstrating a link between lack of motivation and the brain's biochemical reward system will be to investigate whether self-motivation can be safely stimulated in patients with psychoses using medication, including drugs that trigger the release of dopamine but which do not worsen their other symptoms.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMC Psychiatry. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Incentive motivation processing in first-episode psychosis: a behavioural study. Graham K Murray, Luke Clark, Philip R Corlett, Andrew D Blackwell, Roshan Cools, Peter B Jones, Trevor W Robbins and Luise Poustka. BMC Psychiatry.

Cite This Page:

BMC Psychiatry. "Lack Of Motivation In Schizophrenia Linked To Brain Chemical Imbalance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508075216.htm>.
BMC Psychiatry. (2008, May 8). Lack Of Motivation In Schizophrenia Linked To Brain Chemical Imbalance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508075216.htm
BMC Psychiatry. "Lack Of Motivation In Schizophrenia Linked To Brain Chemical Imbalance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508075216.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins