Schizophrenia as an Extreme Form of Schizotypy

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Schizophrenia as an Extreme Form of Schizotypy

Abstract
This paper supports the argument that schizophrenia is an extreme form of schizotypy. This argument is based on research studies demonstrating the genetic link between both disorders and the symptomic evidences showing schizophrenia as an extreme form of schizotypy. Meehl’s model is also used to show that extreme forms of schizotypy manifest in schizophrenia. These evidences (coupled with the fact that schizotypy is a continuum of mental disorders) show that schizophrenia is an extreme form of schizotypy. The redefinition of schizophrenia as an extreme form of schizotypy is shown to have a significant impact on the classification of mental disorders, but this dynamic is explained as an auxiliary argument to demonstrate the definition of schizophrenia as an extreme form of schizotypy.

Introduction
In clinical practice, it is often difficult to distinguish schizophrenia from schizotypy. Some researchers explain that both concepts are unrelated but some experts claim that the two disorders share a common definition. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that is often characterised with a weird perception of reality. Hoermann (2009) explains that people with schizophrenia exhibit symptoms of “auditory hallucinations, paranoia, bizarre delusions, disorganised speeches, and thinking with significant social or occupational dysfunction” (p. 2). The onset of schizophrenia is often witnessed during the early stages of adulthood (early twenties). Even though most clinical research shows that schizophrenia mainly affects a person’s cognitive development, advanced states of the disease may manifest in emotional and behavioural disorders (Lauriello and Pallanti, 2012). Patients who suffer from schizophrenia also exhibit depression and anxiety disorders. Perhaps the most feared outcome for people who have this disease is their high probability to commit suicide. It is estimated that about a third of patients suffering from schizophrenia are suicidal. Recent statistics show that most of these patients commit suicide within the first 20 years of diagnosis (Hoermann, 2009). Schizotypy refers to a continuum of psychological states, which may range from mild forms of normal dissociative behaviours to extreme forms of imagination and illusion (Mental Health Centre, 2012, p. 1). This personality disorder is categorised under the group of eccentric personality disorders (Hoermann, 2009). The main difference between eccentric personality disorders and other forms of disorders are that patients suffering from this disorder are normally considered to exhibit “unusual thinking patterns, behaviours, and appearances” (Mental Health Centre, 2012, p. 1). Patients who suffer from schizotypy are therefore often considered odd and peculiar. They are also more socially isolated than ordinary people are. The Mental Health Centre 2012) adds that it is also unsurprising to see patients suffering from schizotypy to harbour odd beliefs and superstitions. From the above definitions of schizophrenia and schizotypy, there have been many debates questioning the relation of both terms. Abstractly, both disorders seem to pose the same symptoms, but this paper suggests that schizophrenia is simply an extreme form of schizotypy. Therefore, this paper proposes the view that schizophrenia should be understood to be an offshoot of schizotypy. This classification has a significant influence on the overall classification of mental disorders. This relation is explained in subsequent sections of this paper. However, this paper first explains why schizophrenia should be perceived as an extreme form of schizotypy. Similarities between Schizophrenia and schizotypy

The grim similarities between schizophrenia and schizotypy show that the two personality disorders share many characteristics. In fact, the mere mention by Stirling and McCoy (2012) that...
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