Analyzing Psychological Disorders

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Analyzing Psychological Disorders
Becca Marlin/ PSY240
August 12, 2012
L. Renee Foster Herrmann

Analyzing Psycholgical DisordersPage 1

I’m glad that I don’t live in the 1800’s. Did you know that back in the 1800’s when doctors were just beginning to understand psychological disorders, that if you were thought to suffer from a psychological disorder you could have holes drilled into your head or you could be put on any number of experimental drugs that could in fact make the condition worse or give you a whole new disorder?! Yes, I’m thankful for the scientists and researchers that paved the way for psychologists like me but it would’ve been a whole different ride back then. I spoke today in my interview about the different disorders I am knowledgeable in but was asked to elaborate more on Schizophrenia and two other case studies. I am going to provide as much information as I can on the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa and on the drug abuse case of Alcoholism.

Analyzing Psychological DisordersPage 2

I will admit that I am fascinated with schizophrenia. The human brain is such a mystery with new things being discovered every day and one of those mysteries is how the disease schizophrenia develops and takes hold of ones mind. Much research has been done on this disease and we know from that that the areas of the brain affected most are the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain we use for planning and thinking about ourselves. (Pinel, 2011) There is also overwhelming evidence that patients who suffer from this disease also have a significantly reduced volume of gray matter in the temporal and frontal lobes and this gray matter decreases over the years until it is almost completely disappeared. Another discovery with schizophrenia patients that may help explain why they have such a incapability to make decisions or focus is that brain scans have shown their ventricles are enlarged and this results in cognitive abilities such as information processing and verbal memory being impaired. No one really knows what causes schizophrenia but we do know that it is genetic and offspring with a mother, father or sibling with the disease has a 10% higher risk of developing it but the highest risk is for an identical twin of a person who carries the disease. (U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, 2012) Environmental factors are also something researchers are looking at with some evidence pointing to malnutrition before birth, complications during birth and exposure to certain viruses as a child being contributing factors that may cause the onset of schizophrenia. The hardest part of having schizophrenia is being diagnosed as a schizophrenic because the symptoms vary case to case and certain symptoms can play a role in so many psychological disorders that pinpointing it to schizophrenia really takes time and patience. Some of the symptoms include that can show early in life are anxiety, difficulty concentrating, Analyzing Psychological DisordersPage 3

insomnia, isolation & withdrawal from everyone as well as social problems like not being able to hold down a job or getting into confrontations in the workplace. Having these symptoms does not mean that one will develop schizophrenia. These are just things to watch out for and be cautious of. Other symptoms that are more definitive of the disease and warrant a closer examination are delusions and these range from conspiracy theory to thinking one is superior to everyone else in vanity or strength. Catatonia, and this symptom is when a patient will sit for hours in a fixed position not moving but can be moved into other positions, they are waxy but not unresponsive. Flat affect or showing the wrong emotion or no emotion to situations that should elicit a particular strong emotion, hallucinations of any kind be it voices or visions, the inability to participate because you are preoccupied with something going...
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