Understanding the Psychological Disorder
Mariah J. Ordaz
Coastal Bend College
Schizophrenia: Understanding the Psychological Disorder
Schizophrenia, it’s a term many people associate with crazy, psychotic, and bizarre behaviors. This disorder has many signs and symptoms and the cause has yet to be discovered. Various studies have been conducted, but one singular cause of the disorder has not been discovered. Understanding this serious and baffling psychological disorder is an important and informative key for understanding the human psyche. Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder that involves severely distorted beliefs, perceptions, and thought processes (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2011, p. 563). People who have schizophrenia are not capable of telling the difference between what is real and what is not. They become engulfed in an entirely different inner world, one that is often characterized by mental chaos, disorientation, and frustration (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2011, p. 563). The symptoms of schizophrenia can be characterized into two different categories: positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms reflect an excess or distortion of normal functioning (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2011, p. 563). Positive symptoms add to the person’s everyday life by way of hallucinations, delusions, and severely disorganized thought processes, speech, and behavior. Delusions are a false belief that continues despite overwhelming contradictory evidence. Schizophrenic delusions are often far-fetched and nonsensical notions, not simply inaccurate beliefs. The person may believe that aliens are attempting to abduct them. This delusion would fall under the delusions of being controlled category. There are also delusions of persecution and delusions of reference. Some people have delusions of grandeur in which they believe they are extremely important, powerful, or wealthy. Identifying with biblical characters is a common delusion of grandeur. A person suffering from these delusions actually believes they are Jesus, the Messiah, or some other character of extreme importance. Delusional thinking may lead to dangerous behaviors, as when a person responds to his delusional ideas by hurting himself or hurting others (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2011, p. 564). The most alarming positive symptom of Schizophrenia is hallucinations. Hallucinations are false or distorted perceptions, like voice or visual stimuli, which seem vividly real (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2011, p. 564). PET scans were taken of the brain during schizophrenic hallucinations. The scans showed that there was little to no activity in the frontal lobe. If the frontal lobe is not working properly the brain is incapable of organizing thought processes, thus making the hallucination even more real to the person experiencing the episode. Content of the person’s delusions and hallucinations is often influenced by cultural factors. When a schizophrenic episode is severe, hallucinations can be virtually impossible to distinguish from objective reality (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2011, p. 565). Other positive symptoms of schizophrenia are disturbances in sensation, thinking and speech. Also, severely disorganized thinking plays a major role. It becomes enormously difficult to concentrate, remember, and integrate important information while ignoring irrelevant information (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2011, p. 565). Negative symptoms consist of marked deficits or decreases in behavioral or emotional functioning (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2011, p. 565). In other words, the person responds to all situations in the same flat, monotonous way regardless of the situation, thus taking away from the person’s everyday life. Alogia, a closely related negative symptom is greatly reduced production or speech, or brief empty comments. Avolition refers to the inability to initiate or persist in even simple forms of goal-directed behaviors, such as...