October 10, 2012
Rose Ann King, PhD
Diagnosing psychiatric diseases or disorders can be very difficult. Because of this, diagnosis is usually done by determining the symptoms of each patient and comparing them to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, DSM-IV-TR. Schizophrenia is one of those disorders. The areas of the brain that are affected by this disorder are the forebrain, hindbrain and limbic system. The cerebrum, thalamus, and hypothalamus makes up the forebrain. This is the top part and largest section of the brain. It has four divisions or lobes, which are the limbic system, thalamus, hypothalamus and corpus callosum. This part of the brain controls cognition, which involves thinking, knowing, learning, and judging. It also controls the function of the senses and motor skills, regulation of temperature, reproduction, hunger, sleep cycle, and emotional expression. This is where the thoughts get all jumbled, which creates delusional thinking. This is called a positive symptom of schizophrenia. In addition, the overproduction of dopamine occurs. This causes a decrease in glutamate and neural activity. The temporal lobe controls hearing and the identification of objects and faces. When a person has schizophrenia, the hearing and identification becomes chaotic. This can cause the person to hear voices and have hallucinations. The cerebellum, pons and medulla makes up the hindbrain. This is the bottom part of the brain. It manages motor skills, posture, balance, and blood circulation. When a person has schizophrenia, the person’s motor skills and balance may be affected. They may even become catatonic and not be responsive to anything within their environment. The thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus makes up the limbic system. The limbic system is located within the brain. It regulates emotions, memories, learning, and sexual behavior. A person with schizophrenia may not express any emotional expressions. If this part of the brain is affected, they may not be able to connect with others and may exhibit bizarre and inappropriate sexual behavior. While there are no direct known causes, experts do believe that genes, environment, and brain chemistry and structure are related. According to "National Institute of Mental Health" (n.d.), "The illness occurs in 1 percent of the general population, but it occurs in 10 percent of people who have a first-degree relative with the disorder, such as a parent, brother, or sister. Scientists also believe that an imbalance in the complex, interrelated chemical reactions of the brain involving the neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamate, and possibly others, plays a role in schizophrenia” (What causes schizophrenia?). It is just too early to tell what the causal factors are in schizophrenia. More research is essential in order to help treat this disorder. The symptoms of schizophrenia are so complex that they have to be classified into two groups, which are positive symptoms and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms are symptoms that can come and go without much notice. Negative symptoms are symptoms that reduce normal function. The positive symptoms that are related to schizophrenia are delusions, hallucinations, inappropriate affect, incoherent speech or thought, and odd behavior. The negative symptoms that are related to schizophrenia are affective flattening, alogia, avolition, and anhedonia. Delusions are false beliefs. Proof can be shown to the person that proves their belief is false and they will not be able to believe the proof. An example of a delusion would be when a person believes that they are Elvis Presley. We know that this is not Elvis Presley and can show this person this is false, but they will not be convinced. A hallucination is typically when a person sees people that are not there or hears voices that no one...