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Essay/Term paper: Schizophrenia

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❶These perceptual distortions vary among patients and can be auditory, visual, olfactory, gustatory, or tactile.

I. Description and Classification

Schizophrenia Research Paper
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Schizophrenia Research Paper Outline

Because subsequent revisions in the DSM have included more restrictive criteria for schizophrenia, U. In addition to a more restrictive definition of schizophrenia, subsequent editions of the DSM have included additional diagnostic categories that contain similar symptoms. The diagnostic category of schizophreniform disorder was also added.

This diagnosis is given when the patient shows the typical symptoms of schizophrenia, but does not meet the criterion of 6 months of continuous illness. Although there is evidence of cross-national differences in the rate of schizophrenia, the differences are not large i. It is, in fact, striking that the rate of occurrence is so consistent across cultures.

The modal age at onset of schizophrenia is in early adulthood, usually before 25 years of age. Thus most patients have not had the opportunity to marry or establish a stable work history before the onset of the illness.

As a result of this, and the often chronic nature of the illness, many patients never attain financial independence. It is relatively rare for preadolescent children to receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Similarly, it is rare for individuals beyond the age of 40 to experience a first episode of the illness. Although it has traditionally been assumed that there is no sex difference in the rates of schizophrenia, some recent research findings indicate that a somewhat larger proportion of males than females meet the DSM-IV criteria for the disorder.

Nonetheless, the overall rates do not differ dramatically for men and women. It is well established, however, that women are more likely to have a later onset of illness, as well as a better prognosis. Women also show a higher level of interpersonal and occupational functioning during the period prior to illness onset. The reasons for this sex difference are not known, but it has been proposed by several theorists that the female sex hormone, estrogen, may function in attenuating the severity of the illness.

Compared with the general population averages, schizophrenia patients tend to have significantly lower incomes and educational levels. Poor urban inner city districts, inhabited by the lowest socioeconomic class, contain the largest proportion of schizophrenia patients.

There is a sharp contrast between the rates of schizophrenia in the lowest socioeconomic class and all other levels, including the next higher level.

Findings from various cultures suggest that rates of schizophrenia are almost two times higher in the lowest social class group compared with the next lowest. These social class differences appear to be a partial consequence of the debilitating nature of the illness. The social-drift theory suggests that during the development of schizophrenia, people drift into poverty. When the incomes and educational levels of the parents of patients are compared with those of the general population, the differences are not as striking.

There is, nonetheless, evidence that patients do come from families where the incomes and educational backgrounds of the parents are slightly below the average. These findings have led researchers to conclude that there may be a causal link between social class and risk for the illness.

The sociogenic hypothesis posits that situational factors associated with low social class, such as degrading treatment from society, low levels of education, and few opportunities for achievement and reward, produce stress that contributes to the risk for schizophrenia. Before the introduction of antipsychotic medications in , the majority of patients spent most of their lives in institutional settings. There was little in the way of programs for rehabilitation.

But contemporary, multifaceted treatment approaches have made it possible for most patients to live in community settings. Of course, during active episodes of the illness, schizophrenia patients are usually seriously functionally impaired. They are typically unable to work or maintain a social network, and often require hospitalization. Even when in remission, some patients find it challenging to hold a job or to be self-sufficient.

This is partially due to residual symptoms, as well as to the interruptions in educational attainment and occupational progress that result from the illness. However, there are many patients who are able to lead productive lives, hold stable jobs, and raise families. With the development of greater community awareness of mental illness, some of the stigma that kept patients from pursuing work or an education has diminished.

For about one third of patients, the illness is chronic and is characterized by episodes of severe symptoms with intermittent periods when the symptoms subside but do not disappear. For others, there are multiple episodes with periods of substantial symptom remission. About one third of those who receive the diagnosis eventually show a partial or complete recovery after one or two episodes.

Several factors have been linked with a more favorable prognosis for schizophrenia. Another indicator of better prognosis is a high level of occupational and interpersonal functioning in the premorbid period. Also, as noted earlier, women and patients who have a later onset of symptoms have a better long-term outcome. Some of the difficulties experienced by individuals with schizophrenia can be observed before the onset of the clinical symptoms.

Deficits in social skills, concentration, emotional expression, motivation, and occupational or academic performance often precede the first clinical symptoms. This period of gradual decline in functioning before the first illness episode is referred to as the prodromal phase. However, there are often more subtle signs of dysfunction long before the onset of the prodromal period.

Controlled studies using archival data sources, such as medical and school records or childhood home-movies, indicate that subtle differences are discernible as early as infancy in some patients. Individuals who succumb to schizophrenia in adulthood sometimes have abnormal motor development and show deficits in emotional expression and interpersonal relationships in early childhood. Cognitive impairment and difficult temperament have also been observed. During middle childhood and adolescence, researchers have found evidence of neurological abnormality, poor emotional control, social immaturity, and academic performance deficits.

Premorbid behavioral problems often become marked through the adolescent years, and many exhibit behavioral disturbances and cognitive abnormalities that resemble the clinical symptoms of schizophrenia. The causes of schizophrenia are unknown, but it is now widely accepted by both researchers and clinicians that schizophrenia is biologically determined. This is in striking contrast to the early and mids, when many subscribed to the theory that faulty parenting, especially cold and rejecting mothers, caused schizophrenia in offspring.

There are several sources of evidence for the assumption that schizophrenia involves an abnormality in brain function. First, studies of schizophrenia patients have revealed a variety of behavioral signs of central nervous system impairment, including motor and cognitive dysfunctions. Second, when the brains of patients are examined with in vivo imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging MRI , many show abnormalities in brain structure.

Similarly, postmortem studies of brain tissue have revealed irregularities in nerve cell formation and interconnections. Laboratory studies of schizophrenia patients have revealed a variety of abnormalities, including irregularities in smooth pursuit eye movements, psychophysiological responses to sensory stimuli, and concentration. Research on the neuropsychological performance of schizophrenia patients was first conducted in the s and continues to the present time.

Individual neuropsychological tests are designed to measure functions subserved by specific regions or systems of the brain. An early finding in this area was that schizophrenia patients were the one psychiatric group whose performance on neuropsychological tests was indistinguishable from people with known brain damage. The findings suggested a generalized cerebral dysfunction in schizophrenia.

However, patients show the most consistent deficits on tests of attention and memory, indicating dysfunction of the frontal and temporal lobes and the hippocampus. Further evidence of dysfunction in these brain regions is derived from poor performance on tests of executive functions: Brain-imaging studies of schizophrenia have yielded results that mirror those obtained from neuropsychological research.

Some relatively consistent findings are that the brains of schizophrenia patients have abnormal frontal lobes and enlarged ventricles. Enlarged ventricles suggest decreased brain mass, particularly in the limbic regions, which are intimately involved in emotional processing. Furthermore, ventricular size correlates with negative symptoms, performance deficits on neuropsychological tests, poor response to medication, and poor premorbid adjustment.

These associations between ventricular enlargement and both premorbid and postmorbid characteristics suggest that the brain abnormalities are long-standing, perhaps congenital. In addition to brain structure, investigators have examined biological indices of brain function in schizophrenia. Functional brain-imaging studies, with procedures such as positron emission tomography PET and measurement of regional cerebral blood flow, reveal that schizophrenia patients have decreased levels of blood flow to the frontal lobes, especially while performing cognitive tasks.

Researchers are now pursuing the question of what causes the brain abnormalities observed in schizophrenia. Although as yet there are no definitive answers, investigators have made continuous progress in identifying factors that are associated with risk for the disorder. The structural brain abnormalities that have been observed in schizophrenia support the assumption that it is a disorder of the central nervous system.

But it has also been shown that similar structural abnormalities i. It is therefore assumed that specific abnormalities in brain biochemistry may play a role in schizophrenia. These chemicals or neurotransmitters have been the subject of intense investigation. Among the various neurotransmitters that have been implicated in the neuropathophysiology of schizophrenia is dopamine.

Dopamine is viewed as a likely candidate for two main reasons: Current theories of the role of dopamine in schizophrenia have focused on dopamine receptors.

There is evidence that there may be an abnormality in the number or sensitivity of certain dopamine receptors in the brains of schizophrenia patients. To date, however, this evidence remains inconclusive. Several other neurotransmitters have also been hypothesized to play a role in schizophrenia.

Current theories under investigation include a malfunction of the receptors for a neurotransmitter called glutamate and an abnormality in the balance between dopamine and serotonin another neurotransmitter which, like dopamine, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. As research findings on the biochemical aspects of schizophrenia accumulate, it increasingly appears that the illness may involve multiple neurotransmitters, with different biochemical profiles for different patients.

A convincing body of research supports the notion of a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia. Behavioral genetic studies of families, twins, and adopted offspring of schizophrenia patients indicate that an inherited vulnerability is involved in at least some cases of the disorder.

There is an elevated risk of schizophrenia for individuals with a biological relative who suffers from the disorder, and the risk rates increase as a function of the genetic closeness of the relationship. It must be noted, however, that relatives share common experiences as well as common genes. Therefore, examinations of the prevalence of schizophrenia in the relatives of patients cannot elucidate the relative contributions of environmental and genetic factors.

Some investigators have studied the development of adopted children whose biological mothers had schizophrenia. This approach has the potential to provide more conclusive information than family studies. The results of these investigations show that when biological offspring of schizophrenic mothers are reared from infancy in adoptive homes they are more likely to develop schizophrenia than are adopted children from healthy mothers. Furthermore, these children also exhibit a higher rate of other adjustment problems when compared with controls.

Studies of this type have clearly illustrated that vulnerability to schizophrenia can be inherited. Research on twins examines differences in concordance rates between identical monozygotic or MZ and fraternal dizygotic or DZ twins.

Thus, environmental influences account for any behavioral differences between MZ twins. In contrast, DZ twins are no more genetically similar than regular siblings; DZ twins do, however, share more similar environmental factors than do nontwin siblings.

Some doctors think that the brain may not be able to process information correctly. People without schizophrenia usually can filter out unneeded information: People with schizophrenia, however, cannot always filter out this extra information. One possible cause of schizophrenia may be heredity, or genetics. Experts think that some people inherit a tendency to schizophrenia. In fact, the disorder tends to "run" in families, but only among blood relatives. People who have family members with schizophrenia may be more likely to get the disease themselves.

This happens even if the child is adopted and raised by mentally healthy adults. That is about the same risk as for the general population of the United States. Some researchers believe that events in a person"s environment trigger schizophrenia. Some studies have shown that influenza infection or improper nutrition during pregnancy and complications during birth may increase the risk that the baby will develop schizophrenia later in life. Many believe that schizophrenia is likely caused by a complex combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Certain people are born with a tendency to develop the disease. But the disease only appears if these people are exposed to unusual stresses or traumas. Schizophrenia is usually treated with antipsychotic medication. Some people with schizophrenia also benefit from counseling and rehabilitation. They may need to go to the hospital during an acute attack. The goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms during acute attacks and to help prevent relapses.

At this time, there is no cure for schizophrenia. Antipsychotic medications are very effective in controlling the symptoms of schizophrenia. These medications first became available in the mid"s. They have greatly improved the lives of thousands of people. Before that time, people with schizophrenia spent most of their lives in crowded hospitals. With antipsychotic medication, however, many people with schizophrenia are able to live in the outside world. Because each person with schizophrenia has a unique mix of symptoms, no single medication works best for all people.

The ideal medication for one person may not be the best choice for another. Although antipsychotic medications do not cure the disease, they can reduce hallucinations and delusions and help people with schizophrenia regain their grip on reality. Medication also reduces the risk of they symptoms returning. If the person does have a relapse of symptoms, medications may make the symptoms less severe.

People with schizophrenia can have a hard time communicating with other people and carrying out ordinary tasks. Counseling and rehabilitation can help people with schizophrenia build the skills they need to function outside the sheltered setting of a hospital.

However, these treatments are not very helpful during acute attacks. Rehabilitation programs may help people with schizophrenia develop skills such as money management, cooking, and personal grooming, for example, needed for ordinary life. They may also prepare the person to go or return to work.

Individual psychotherapy may help person with schizophrenia learn to sort out the real from the unreal. Group therapy may help them learn to get along with others. Self-help groups may help persons with schizophrenia feel that others share their problems. The best way to prevent relapses is to continue to take the prescribed medication. People with schizophrenia may stop taking their medications for several reasons.

Side effects are one of the most important reasons that people with schizophrenia stop taking their medication. It is hard for people to put up with unpleasant side effects for months or years.

Or you may not show your own feelings or emotions, possibly having a blank facial expression. This could be social occasions you used to enjoy, like seeing friends, or going to the pub. Schizophrenia patients usually have these symptoms after they are having a terrible emotional or psychological pain, and feel withdrawn from society.

Some patients are usually interested in cults, and isolate themselves from society, such as being secluded in their room with minimum contact with people. Although the possibilities are only a small percentage, genetics plays a role in schizophrenia in their family or their close relatives.

B Green Hon, at University of Liver pool UK describes some symptoms that is shown in children around the age of 4 to 6 who associated with later schizophrenia is that late walk, speech problems, and preferring to play alone. Scientists and psychiatrists have been focusing on and studied specifically on the thalamus, neuron, or genetic and other brain causation to schizophrenia, but still the cause of schizophrenia has not been found. Antipsychotics are a major treatment that is used for most patients, but it may not treat all the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Delusions and hallucinations are often reduced, but difficulty of making decision and remembering tend to remain.

There is another medication called Atypical antipsychotics which act in different ways for older patients. However the medications work in many ways and it works very differently for each person and usually has some unpleasant side-effects.

To develop the medication without side-effects are encouraged in the future. Besides the medication, one very important treatment is the support of family and friends.

Also, training for socialize skills and positive thought are helpful for patients to engage society. Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT is one that has been successfully for patients to recover from symptoms of delusions, hallucinations, or depressions.

However, some patients still attempt suicides. As one of symptoms shows that it has hallucinations and delusions, the voice tells patient to kill themselves or order them to do a criminal act. That is the fear side of the schizophrenia affect.

Essay, term paper, research paper: Psychology

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Term Paper on Schizophrenia Posted on February 15 by Todd Hale Schizophrenia is a mental disorder, which severely impacts the way 1% of people worldwide think, feel, and act.

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- Comparison Contrast Paper Introduction Schizophrenia is described as a very severe, chronic, and debilitating cognitive or psychological problem that is highly characterized with increased mortality and morbidity, heavy burden to the public health care and socioeconomic development in terms of treatment and management, and increased risks to a plethora of life threatening adverse health events and .

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Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder characterized by some, but not necessarily all, of the following features: emotional blunting, intellectual deterioration, social isolation, disorganized speech, behavior delusions, and hallucinations. “In the area of major mental illness, specifically Schizophrenia, excluding biological or neurological factors from research is a liability for research and clinical efforts because Schizophrenia is such a complex Biopsychosocial phenomenon” (Farmer & Pandurangi, , p. )/5(10).

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Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder characterized by disturbances in thought, emotion, and behavior. This research paper discusses the symptoms, etiology, treatment, and other pertinent issues concerning this mental illness. Schizophrenia Research Paper Outline. I. Description and Classification. A. Symptoms. 1. Delusions. 2. Hallucinations. 3. You can order a custom essay, term paper, research paper, thesis and dissertation on Schizophrenia topics from our professional custom writing service which provides students with high-quality custom written papers at an affordable cost.