Understanding & Living with Schizophrenia

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Understanding & Living with Schizophrenia
Rebecca J. Purdy
Maryville University
Psych 321 IM Abnormal Psychology

Schizophrenia is one of the most severe life altering mental disorders in respect of individuals functioning independently and within society norms. This paper will examine in detail the different types of Schizophrenia and their associated behaviors to determine the mental state of the patient. Although, medical science cannot definitively identify the specific cause of this disorder, various theories will be discussed. The symptoms and diagnosis of Schizophrenia will be identified as documented by the DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic Criteria for Schizophrenia. Currently, there is not a cure for this disease, therefore, this study will focus on different treatment methods for Schizophrenia; ranging from early intervention, medication, and cognitive behavior therapy. The results of this study will show those diagnosed with Schizophrenia can achieve a promising prognosis and improve their quality of life if given the necessary support, medication and treatment. .

Understanding and Living with Schizophrenia
The term schizophrenia is Greek in origin, meaning "split mind." However, this disorder is not associated with a split personality. Schizophrenia is a debilitating brain disorder caused by a chemical imbalance that negatively affects an individual’s thought processes and behavior. Many of these individuals are unable to understand and interpret basic information accurately, perform daily tasks independently or function within society norms. They may experience hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. The variance of negative and positive symptoms is attributed to the different types of Schizophrenia. The DSM-IV-TR has identified five types: 1) Paranoid Schizophrenia – Individuals experience delusions, which are often related to being treated unfairly or being falsely suspicious of others behaviors, motives or intentions. Many with this diagnosis will hear voices speaking to them. 2) Catatonic Type – Individuals have inappropriate movement control. They may sit still for hours or may exhibit purposeless movement. They may mock others movement and speech. This prolonged behavior makes it difficult for these individuals to independently take care of themselves. 3) Disorganized Type – Individuals exhibit disorganized speech, behavior, inappropriate or flat emotions. For this diagnosis, all three of these characteristics must be present. It is difficult for these individuals to fit in social situations, hold a job, or take care of themselves.

4) Undifferentiated Type – This diagnosis is a result of individuals meeting some of the criteria from some of the above classifications, but not enough from one category to receive a specific diagnosis. 5) Residual Type – These individuals have had a past history of at least one Schizophrenic episode, but do not currently have positive systems, such as hallucinations or delusions. They may be in remission or simply in between psychotic episodes.

It is still not fully understood the specific causes of Schizophrenia as it cannot be proven to be attributed to a single factor, however, a combination of many factors that lead to the diagnosis of this disorder. The most prominent theories are tied to genetics, hereditability, prenatal infection, complications during birth, and childhood IQ. Based on the Human Genome Project of 2001, we know the human body is made up of over 30,000 genes. It is widely accepted that genes are responsible for how we behave and look. For example, our hair and eye color, personality traits or physical shape. These are attributes that are derived from those within our family tree. It is easily believed that physical illnesses such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or allergies are hereditary, so why not mental illnesses? Extensive research...
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