Free sample essay on Schizophrenia:
Schizophrenia is not just one big disorder. It consists of particularly five types. (Holmes, 1991) Each has it’s own symptoms or absence of symptoms that set it apart from the others. Hebephrenic schizophrenia consists of huge psychological disorganization. Characteristics are inappropriate moods, socially withdrawn, and strange mannerisms. Hebephrenic schizophrenia reflects a loose structure of symptom patterns. Catatonic schizophrenia is another type relating to waxy flexibility. This type is relatively rare due to the medications available today. Individuals may stand in positions for long periods of time like wax statues. A more dominant set of symptoms is that of paranoid schizophrenia. This is when individuals experience persecution. Apart from their ideas of people plotting against them, they react with a more normal behavior. Individuals that have had at one time a schizophrenia episode can be placed with residual schizophrenia. They may currently only show small signs like social withdrawal, but at one point were much worse. Undifferentiated schizophrenia is when individuals show more than one symptom and can meet the criteria for more than one type. Technically schizophrenia is broken down into these five types, but symptoms very from person to person and can change over time.
The actual reason behind schizophrenia still remains a mystery to scientist, but they are possible theories. Schizophrenia has been attributed to high levels of dopamine activity in the brain that are responsible for the emotion and cognitive functions. (Nadelson, 2000) Lowering the amount of dopamine activity reduces the symptoms of schizophrenia, and increasing dopamine activity brings on schizophrenia. Studies have shown that people with schizophrenia have more dopamine receptors than in other people.
(Homles, 1991) Studies have repeatedly found various structural abnormalities in people with schizophrenia. (Nadelson, 2000) MRI scan examinations have generally revealed 3 types of abnormalities. An associated structural problem is cortical atrophy, a deterioration of the nerve cells in the cortex. This type of damage in the brain occurs 20% to 35% in people with schizophrenia. Ventricles tend to be mildly to moderately enlarged by 20% to 50% for persons with schizophrenia. The above picture shows the actual enlarged ventricles of a schizophrenia sufferer. Another structural problem is reversed cerebral asymmetry that is associated with schizophrenia. Reversed cerebral asymmetry causes the right side of the brain to tend to be larger than the left side. (Holmes, 1991) Though no single gene is known to cause schizophrenia, genetic composition influences a person’s disposition toward schizophrenia tendencies. Schizophrenia is more prevalent in the relatives of persons with schizophrenia. According to the British Columbia Schizophrenia Society, if you have a parent or sibling with schizophrenia, your risk factor is increased to 10%. Both parents with schizophrenia result in a 40% chance along with a 40% chance when having an identical twin with schizophrenia. Genetics can not be the entire cause behind schizophrenia because 80% to 90% of the individuals who have schizophrenia do not have parents with schizophrenia. (Young,1988) Genetic factors are thought to establish biological predisposition for schizophrenia but the environmental stress factors must bring out the schizophrenia within the individual. This is known as the diathesis-stress hypothesis. A disturbed relationship within the home can cause stress accounting for an onset of schizophrenia. Long term follow-up of children whose parents suffered from schizophrenia showed children who suffered from personal stresses were more likely to develop the disorder. (Nadelson, 2000) While schizophrenia may be caused from structural abnormalities, genetics, to environmental factors no exact cause for schizophrenia exists today.
There is as yet no permanent cure for schizophrenia. A major treatment for schizophrenia is antipsychotics. Antipsychotics work to subdue anxiety and hyperactivity, counteract hallucinations, and reduce aggression. The drugs are no cure but they do lessen symptoms. 80% of patients who discontinue their antipsychotic medication suffer relapses of the disease within two years. (Nadelson, 2000) Another dramatic form of treatment tried on the disorder is electroconvulsive therapy. (ECT) This treatment can produce unwanted side effects like memory loss. A discontinued treatment is surgery on the prefrontal lobe of the cerebrum called a lobotomy. A lobotomy can cause extreme personality dysfunction. Therapy and rehabilitation are used to treat the loss of social development that can occur. Therapy can help the person build a normal life and interact with others. Although no treatment is guaranteed to work, they can help sufferers grab a better sense of reality. It is estimated that as many as 25% of sufferers now recover almost fully, and about 50% show a least partial recovery. The remaining 25% need long-term help. (Nadelson, 2000)
Schizophrenia is a scary psychological disorder. With a frequency rate of 1 person in 100, it is relatively common. The causes behind schizophrenia are still a mystery whether they are genetic or environmental. With treatment sufferers have the chance to live a more normal life but have no promise to recovery. As a community everyone has an obligation to accept sufferers of such a horrendous disorder. By educating yourself about schizophrenia, you can help individuals within your influence overcome symptoms and establish a more peaceful and organized lifestyle.
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