One of the major concerns of modern medicine is Schizophrenia.
Frey defines schizophrenia as a group of disorders marked by severely impaired thinking, emotions, and behaviors (99). Straube and Oades incorporate more on its definition by saying this illness evokes a fundamental disturbance of personality (92).
According to Gottesman, schizophrenia didnt exist before the 19th century. He found many facts that lead to this hypothesis, finding no existence of this illness in ancient writings. He argues that schizophrenia was described clinically in 1809, and since then, this disease has been rapidly increasing to western world. (91)
Schizophrenia commonly begins between the ages of 15 and 25. This brain disease affects equally men and women equally. Very rarely, the symptoms of schizophrenia start before the age of 12. Schizophrenia is a disease that makes it difficult for a person to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses to others, and to behave normally in social situations. People with schizophrenia may also have difficulty in remembering, talking, and behaving appropriately. (http://www.mhsource.com/narsad/schiz.html)
According to Reynolds, Illnesses like schizophrenia bring unthinkable misery to sufferers and their families. Unlike other illnesses, it marks not only afflicted individuals, but also their relatives (96).
Types and Symptoms of Schizophrenia:
It is important to understand that there are different types of this mental illness as well. According to Hoffer, The different types are: paranoid, catatonic, disorganized, undifferentiated and the residual type. In cases like paranoid type, auditory hallucinations and delusions (false beliefs) frequently happen. Some of the delusions of paranoid schizophrenics usually involve thoughts of being persecuted or harmed by others.
The catatonic schizophrenics suffer from at least two of the following; catalepsy or stupor, excessive motor activity, extreme negativism or mutism, peculiar voluntary movement as posturing, stereotyped movements, prominent mannerisms, or prominent grimacing. In disorganized Schizophrenia, flat or inappropriate affect, disorganized speech and behavior are all prevalent. The undifferentiated type is unusual in that it may have some characteristics of each of the different types. The Residual type has symptoms of odd beliefs and unusual perceptual experiences (99).
Some researchers think some of these symptoms of schizophrenia(delusions, hallucinations, and confusion) may be caused by too much dopamine the brain (or very sensitive dopamine receptors). Dopamine regulates many normal body functions, including movement, emotions, behavior, and appetite (http://www.mhsource.com/narsad/schiz.html)
As stated by Andreasen, Schizophrenia is probably caused by multiple environmental stimuli and a combination of inherited genes. A more reasonable explanation is that there are individuals who have an inherited proneness to illness. Such individuals may fall ill, if in addition, they are exposed to several factors in the environment such as drugs. It has already been proven that in the case of diseases like diabetes and raised blood pressure (99). However, Bradford stands the importance to highlight that a single genetic factor is unlikely to cause psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia. Rather, the inheritance is probably due to several factors that may be inherited from either side of one’s family (99).
According to Frey, the treatment of schizophrenia depends in part on the patient’s stage or phase (99).
Many different options have been taken over the years In terms of medication for Schizophrenia. According to Bradford, A newer atypical anti-psychotic that has come out over the past few years including Clozapine, Riperdal, and Zyprexa has replaced older anti-psychotic medications including Hadol. The disadvantage of these drugs is that they are much more expensive than the older drugs that need to be replaced. The most informed psychiatrists are now recommending that these new drugs need to be used by new patients. The author states that just new patients try these new drugs because older patients may not have any side effects from the older drugs (99).
Although, according to Brown, no totally effective therapy has been devised, it is important to remember that many people with the illness improve enough to lead independent, satisfying lives. Studies that have followed people with Schizophrenia for long periods, from the first episode to old age, reveal that wide ranges of outcomes are possible (99).
In order to deal with schizophrenia, Rehabilitation programs may help people with schizophrenia develop skills needed for ordinary life. Individual psychotherapy (sometimes called talk therapy) may help persons with schizophrenia learn to differentiate the real from the unreal. Group therapy may help them learn to get along with others. Family therapy can also be very helpful. They might provide support for persons with schizophrenia coming out of the hospital. Family members are also taught to watch for signs of relapse. This helps them make sure that the person gets medical help and takes the medications that prevent symptoms from resuming. (http://www.mhsource.com/narsad/schiz.html)
In conclusion it is obvious that there is much more to be learned about Schizophrenia. I personally can say it is terrible and very difficult to deal happiness with a friend suffering from this disease. People are contemporary more aware of this disease rather than other times in history, but what we are not aware or what we cant imagine that schizophrenia might happen to us or around us. There is no cure for schizophrenia today, but proper treatment can control some of the symptoms. However, the key aspect for people of medicine is obviously to find a treatment and an end to this terrible disorder.
1.Frey, Rebecca J. (1999) Schizophrenia. : Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, Edition 1, p2551.
3.Andreasen, Nancy C. (1999). Understanding the causes of Schizophrenia. New England Journal of Medicine. Vol. 340, No 8.
4.Straube, Eckart R and Oades, Robert. (1992) Schizophrenia, Empirical Research and Findings, Academic Press, p3
5.Gottesman, Irving I.(1991) Schizophrenia Genesis: The Origins of Madness. W.H Freeman and Company, New York, p1
6.Bradford, Daniel W. (1999). Atypical anti psychotic drugs in treatment refractory schizophrenia. Psychiatric Annals.
7.Brown, Alan. (1999). New perspectives on the neurodevelopment hypothesis of schizophrenia. Psychiatric Annals. Vol. 29 (3), 128-130.
8.Hoffer, Abram. (1999). Diagnosing Schizophrenia: Past, present, and future. Journal of Orthomelecular Medicine.p( 3-15).
9.Reynolds, S.R. (1996). Treatment of Schizophrenia. Understanding and Coping with Schizophrenia. P(32-42).
Straube, Eckart R and Oades, Robert. (1992) Schizophrenia, Empirical Research and Findings, Academic Press, p3
Gottesman, Irving I.(1991) Schizophrenia Genesis: The Origins of Madness. W.H Freeman and Company, New York, p1
Frey, Rebecca J (1999). Schizophrenia. : Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, Edition 1, p2551.
Bradford, Daniel W. (1999). Atypical anti psychotic drugs in treatment refractory schizophrenia. Psychiatric Annals.