Understanding Schizophrenia, Its Causes, and Treatments

Schizophrenia: one of the most serious mental illnesses known to man. Only 1.1% of the world's population has this tragic disease, which causes one to become delusional and hallucinogenic. It is a constant battle between the mind and the schizophrenic. There is no cure and there are no ways to prevent schizophrenia from happening. But with the help of treatments medications, and research, as well as many other methods for all assortments of patients, schizophrenics can control and overcome their disease.

As noted by Spencer A.

Rathus in Psychology: Principles in Practice, schizophrenia is a disorder characterized by loss of contact with reality. It is considered one of the most serious of all psychological disorders, and for justifiable reasons. This mental illness is extremely hard to treat, and very difficult to understand (Rathus, 1998, p. 426, para. 1-3). According to schizophrenia.com, as many as 51 million people in the world suffer from schizophrenia; that is 1.1% of the human population. At first glance, 1.1% seems miniscule and insignificant, but this illness is more than just a percentage: it is a lifelong struggle that makes one's mind their own worst enemy.

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This review will consider the following topics:

  1. What is schizophrenia?
  2. Causes
  3. Treatments

Although schizophrenia is complex and tragic, society must become aware and educated on the difficulties and hurdles schizophrenics must overcome everyday.

According to National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), schizophrenia is defined as "a chronic, severe, disabling brain disorder". There is no cure, nor are there surgeries that can repair the brain. This illness affects both men and women equally, and occurs in various ethnicities around the globe.

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Although schizophrenia can affect people of all ages, it most commonly begins to develop around ages 18-25 (Schizophrenia facts and statistics, n.d., para. 6).

Presently, there are countless symptoms that can aid in the process of deciphering it one has schizophrenia. Hallucinations are among the most common signs of schizophrenia. If a patient is experiencing sights, smells, sounds or feelings that no one else can sense, or are hearing "voices" that are not audible to any other person, they could be having hallucinations due to schizophrenia. Another possible symptom that signifies schizophrenia is delusion, when a person believes a thought that is completely untrue or far fetched. "People with schizophrenia can have delusions that seem bizarre, such as believing that neighbors can control their behavior with magnetic waves," stated by NIMH. "They may also believe that people on television are directing special messages to them, or that radio stations are broadcasting their thoughts aloud to others." Even if a person does not face hallucinations or delusion, there are a handful of other signals to look out for, such as disorganized thinking, agitated body movements, lack of emotion or pleasure, being antisocial, and trouble focusing, learning, or expressing their self.

Researchers of schizophrenia have concluded that the illness is caused by several factors, one component being genetics. People who have relatives or family members with this disorder are at risk of becoming schizophrenic, especially if he or she has an identical twin with schizophrenia; that person has a 40 to 65% chance of developing it (NIMH, n.d., para. 7).

Different brain chemistry can also put one at risk of this illness. Scientists have found that an imbalance in the brain's chemical reactions involving neurotransmitters, which are substances that allow brain cells to communicate with each other, called dopamine and glutamate play a role in schizophrenia. Studies also show that in the brain tissue of some schizophrenics, there are small changes in the distribution of brain cells that likely occurred before birth. Even though one may be born with faulty brain cells, symptoms may not occur until the person is in their teens, or even middle-aged. Along with this theory, researchers have also discovered that fluid-filled cavities in the center of the brain, called ventricles, are larger in some people with schizophrenia than in people without the disease (NIMH, n.d., para. 12-14).

As previously stated, there is no cure for schizophrenia, but there are treatments and coping mechanisms that can help one deal with the disorder. One medicine that has been available since the 1950's is called antipsychotic medication. This medication consists of other commonly used medicines, such as Chlorpromazine (Thorazine), Haloperidol (Haldol), Perphenazine (Etrafon, Trilafon), Fluphenazine (Prolixin), etc. These prescriptions are taken to help fight hallucinations and breaks with reality. Although these drugs can help stop mental breaks, some may have slight side effects, such as loss of white blood cells, drowsiness, dizziness when changing positions, blurred vision, rapid heartbeat, sensitivity to the sun, skin rashes, and menstrual problems for women (NIMH, n.d., para. 31-37)..

Psychosocial treatments are also an option to those needing help with their schizophrenia. Schizophrenics who wish to pursue psychosocial treatment must be stabilized on antipsychotic medication. This method is used to help patients with everyday challenges, such as communicating, working, relationships, and self-care. Basically, these treatments aid in building the schizophrenic's social skills to help them perform better at work, school, and in the general public. There are many other options for schizophrenics to choose from, including illness management skills, rehabilitation, family education, therapy, and self-help groups (NIMH, n.d., para. 31-55).

Although schizophrenia is an awful, disastrous disease, it can be controlled with the help of medications, treatments, and support. It is crucial for the patient to remain educated, as well as determined to adjust and work with their mental illness. As spoken by Elyn R. Saks, a schizophrenic who is now a chaired law professor at the University of Southern California, "The seeds of creative thinking may sometimes be found in mental illness, and people underestimate the power of the human brain to adapt and to create" (Saks, 2013, para. 14).

References

  1. (n.d.). Nimh-schizophrenia. Retrieved from National Institute of Mental Health website: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml Rathus, S. A. (1998). Chapter 18: Psychological disorders. In Psychology: Principles in practice (pp. 426-429).
  2. Holt, Rinehart And Winston. Saks, Elyn R. "Successful and Schizophrenic." The New York Times: The Opinion Pages. New York Times, 25 Jan. 2013. Web. 2 Feb. 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/opinion/sunday/schizophrenic-not- stupid.html?_r=0>. (n.d.). Schizophrenia facts and statistics. Retrieved from schizophrenia.com website: http://schizophrenia.com/szfacts.htm#

 

Updated: May 29, 2023
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Understanding Schizophrenia, Its Causes, and Treatments. (2023, May 29). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/understanding-schizophrenia-its-causes-and-treatments-essay

Understanding Schizophrenia, Its Causes, and Treatments essay
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