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Schizophrenia Essay

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Schizophrenia”In my senior year of high school, I began to experience personalitychanges. I did not realize the significance of the changes at the time, and Ithink others denied them, but looking back I can see that they were the earliestsigns of illness. I became increasingly withdrawn and sullen. I felt alienatedand lonely and hated everyone. I felt as if there were a huge gap between meand the rest of the world; everybody seemed so distant from me.” This excerptdescribes part of Esse Leete 20-year battle with schizophrenia.

She committedherself to leading the fullest life her disease will allow and to educatingothers about mental illness. Schizophrenia is a very serious disease, butthrough defining schizophrenia and getting the patient help and treatment aschizophrenic can lead a full life like any other person.

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Schizophrenia is defined as any of a group of psychotic reactionscharacterized by withdrawal from reality with highly variable affective,behavioral and intellectual disturbances by the American Heritage Dictionary.

No definition of schizophrenia can adequately describe all people with thisillness.

Schizophrenia is an extremely complex mental illness. It is clearthat schizophrenia is a disease which makes it difficult for the person with theillness to decide what is real and what is not (Swados 5). It is also clearthat this brain disease affects normal, intelligent people in all walks of life.

There are six concrete phrases that describe schizophrenia: it is a realdisease, has concrete and specific symptoms, is different from other mentalillnesses, is the result of flaws brain biochemistry, may be treated by specificantipsychotic drugs, and is almost always treatable.

Scientist are unsure of the causes of schizophrenia, although researchis progressing rapidly. Scientist are almost certain that schizophrenia hasmore than one cause. One cause could be a chemical imbalance. An imbalance ofthe brain’s chemical system has long been suspected as the main cause of theillness (Youth 2).A second cause could be stress. Most authorities disagreethat severe stress can cause the illness. Stress can however, worsen thesymptoms when the illness is already present. A third cause could possibly begenetic predisposition. Genetic transmission has yet to be proven even thoughschizophrenia tends to run is some families(Youth 3). For example,schizophrenia occurs in 1% of the general population but children with oneschizophrenic parent have a 10% chance of developing the illness. When bothparents have schizophrenia the percentage of risk rises to approximately 40%(Youth 3). Scientists today think that in some types of schizophrenia, theillness may ride along not only on one common gene, but on various rare genes ora combination of fairly common genes (Youth 3). While the causes are unclear,schizophrenia definitely is: not caused by childhood diseases, poverty,domineering mothers and/or passive fathers, or guilt, failure or misbehavior.

Just like an other illness, schizophrenia has signs or symptoms. Thesymptoms are not identical for each person who has the illness. Approximatelyone-third of those affected may have only one episode of schizophrenia in hislifetime while another one-third may have recurring or continual episodes butlead relatively normal lives in between. A final one-third have symptoms for alifetime (Youth 3). Schizophrenia always involves deterioration and changesfrom a previous level of functioning. Family members and friends often noticethat the person is “not the same”. The person with schizophrenia has difficultyin separating what is real from what is unreal. As the person becomes morestressed by the demands of day to day living, the person may withdraw and thesymptoms become more pronounced (Video). Deterioration is noticeable in aressuch as: work or academic achievement , how one relates to others, and personalcare and hygiene (Video). Symptoms of schizophrenia are noticed in severaldifferent areas. The first area is personality changes. Personality changesare a key to recognizing schizophrenia. At first, the changes may be subtle,minor and go unnoticed (Video). As they worsen they become obvious to familymembers, friends and co-workers. There is a loss of feeling or emotions, a lackof interest and motivation (Youth 5). A normally outgoing person becomeswithdrawn, quiet, moody, or inappropriate. When told a sad story, the personmay laugh; a joke may cause him/her to cry; or he/she may be unable to show anyemotion at all (Youth 5).

Another sign is thought change. Thought changes are one of the mostprofound changes. These changes in thought are the barrier to clear thinkingand normal reasonableness (Youth 6). Thoughts may be slow in forming, or comeextra fast or not at all. The person may jump from topic to topic, seemconfused or have difficulty reaching easy conclusions. Thinking may be colouredby delusions and false beliefs that resist logical explanations (Youth 6). Aperson may express strong ideas of persecution, convinced that he is being spiedon or plotted against. Others may experience grandiose delusions and feel likeSuperman, capable of anything and invulnerable to danger (Youth 7). Some mayfeel a strong religious drive or mission to right the wrongs of the world.

Perceptual changes are also another symptom of schizophrenia.

Perceptual changes turn the world of the ill person topsy-turvey (Youth 8). Thenerves carrying sensory messages to the brain from the eyes, ears, nose, skinand taste buds become confused and the person sees, hears, smells and feelssensations which are not real. These are called hallucinations. Frequently,persons with schizophrenia hear voices in their heads condemning them or givingorders such as “hang yourself”(Youth 9). There is always the danger that theorder will be obeyed. These people see things that others do not see such as adoor in a wall where no door exists or carpets may appear to be walking. Theremay be hypersensitivity to sounds tastes and smells. The ring of a telephonemay seem to be as loud as a fire alarm bell or a loved one’s voice asthreatening as a lion’s roar. The sense of touch may be distorted. They mayfeel that things are crawling across their skin, or on other occasions they mayfeel nothing, not even real pain. The sense of self is also a symptom. This iswhen one or all five senses are affected, the person may feel out of time, outof space, free floating and bodiless and non-existent as a person.

Psychiatrists have attempted to classify schizophrenia into severaltypes. These classifications are based on years of experience and research withsymptoms and feelings described by patients and observations made by familymembers, nurses, doctors and psychiatrists. The first type of schizophrenia isthe disorganized type. This type of schizophrenia is commonly referred to asthe “hebephrenic” type (Youth 11).It has early symptoms which include poorconcentration, moodiness, confusion, and strange ideas. The person’s speech isfrequently incoherent, difficult to understand, rambling. The person’sdelusions or false beliefs are not well established. The person showsnoemotions or they are inappropriate, i.e. silly, giddy laughter (Youth 11).

The second type is the paranoid type. The paranoid type is characterized bydelusions and/or hallucinations with persecution, or less commonly anexaggerated sense of self importance (Video). Other features may includeanxiety for no apparent reason, anger, argumentativeness, jealousy, and ,occasionally, violence. The third type is the catatonic type. The criteria forthe catatonic type is a catatonic stupor (marked decrease in reaction to one’senvironment) or mutism (no speech). The person may have motionless resistanceto all instructions or attempts to be physically moved. The person may maintaina rigid or bizarre posture. Another symptom could also be excited physicalactivity which seems purposeless and the is not influence by the theirenvironment. Another type is the undifferentiated type. Sometimes the majorpsychotic symptoms cannot be classified into any category listed, or may matchthe criteria for more than one type of schizophrenia. In addition, to theundifferentiated type there is the residual type. This category is used whenthere is at least one recognizable episode of schizophrenia, but no ongoingobvious psychotic symptoms, though less clear signs of the illness continue,such as social withdrawal, eccentric behavior, inappropriate emotions, illogicalthinking, etc(Youth 12).

A person who is thought to have schizophrenia needs help and needs tohave treatment. The first step in getting treatment is taking the initiative.

The person with schizophrenia or the family of the patient should ask the familydoctor for an assessment when the symptoms of mental illness are suspected.

Family members will likely be the first to recognize that it is necessary forthe affected person to consult a physician for advice. The family needs toremember that the ill person believes that the hallucinations, delusion or othersymptoms are real, and so may resist treatment(Youth 13). The second step ofgetting treatment is being persistent. It is necessary to find adoctor/psychiatrist who is familiar with schizophrenia. The assessment andtreatment of schizophrenia need to involve medical people who are well-qualified.

The specialist who is chosen should have an interest in the illness, becompetent, and has empathy with the patients. If there is any apprehensionabout the physician/psychiatrist the family has the right to get a secondopinion. Assisting the doctor/psychiatrist is the third step of gettingtreatment. Since patients with the illness may not volunteer much informationduring the assessment, the family should speak to the doctor or write a letter.

In some cases, it may be necessary to send written information.Theinformation that is supplied will greatly assist the physician to make anaccurate assessment and outline a suitable course of action.

Presently schizophrenia is not a “curable” disease, but is controllable(Youth 15). The treatment of schizophrenia could possibly be medication. Mostpatients with schizophrenia must regularly take maintenance medication to keepthe illness under control. It is difficult for the doctor/psychiatrist to knowwhich medication will work best for a given individual. Many changes in type ofdrug and dosage may be required. This period of trial and error can beextremely trying for everyone involved. Some medications have unusual anddifficult side effect

Cite this Schizophrenia Essay

Schizophrenia Essay. (2019, May 20). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/schizophrenia-4/

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