Final Project- Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is the chronic brain disorder that affects how one thinks, acts, and feels. The affected commonly cannot differentiate reality and the imaginary.  Schitzophrenia is commonly confused with the multi-personality disorder. However, these disorders are very different. Multi-personality disorder is when one has two or more personalities that affect the person’s behavior and that causes memory impairment of important events that is not causes by common forgetfulness. Schizophrenia causes someone to have visual and/or auditory hallucinations, false beliefs, and confused thinking. One famous example of someone with schizophrenia is John Nash.

The cause of schizophrenia is still unknown like most mental diseases but there are many theories on how it is developed. Theories involve genetics, substance abuse, prenatal things, infections, etc.. The genetic theory has multiple parts. The first is about hereditary factors. Schizophrenia is largely hereditary. There is an 80% chance that one of the twins in a family, raised together or apart, will get schizophrenia if  one of the parents has it or had it. The phenotype for this is genetically influenced but not determined.  This varies from 41% to 87% . Studies have also shown that the closer someone is related to someone who is living with or has lived with schizophrenia has a larger chance of obtaining it. At one point,evidence  singled out two genes (with other not as major) that may have a huge influence on developing schizophrenia. These genes are dysbindin and neuregulin. But this was later put down by a different massive study. As of now, there is no specified gene for the cause of schizophrenia. Substance abuse is a confirmed factor for developing schizophrenia. Cannabis has not been shown to directly cause schizophrenia but it has been shown to greatly increase the chances of developing it. Amphetamines release a large amount of dopamine into the system. Excessive dopamine is thought to be the the direct cause for many symptoms of schizophrenia. They also can worsen any schizophrenic symptoms the user may have previously had.  Hallucinogens basically create the same symptom a schizophrenic has.  In a UK census in 1993, 74% of  schizophrenics in institutions were smokers. Some prenatal stuff is believed to be a cause for schizophrenia. These include slow development and brain hypoxia. Infections are also believed to have a role in the development of schizophrenia.  Along with these factors, life experiences (be good or bad) have an confluence on schizophrenia.

There are five different types of schizophrenia. The first type is known as Paranoid schizophrenia. This is normally characterized by auditory hallucinations and/or delusional thoughts of  persecution, conspiracy, etc. The paranoia is often based on a particular theme. These people may have the disorder but most of the time they are able to engage socially and maintain their daily lives. One who has this subtype will often be very easily angered or may be very hostile.  The only way for someone to truly know if one has paranoid schizophrenia is if they discuss their feelings with another person or if they go to a mental health professional. The next type of schizophrenia is disorganized schizophrenia. The main feature of this is being disorganized. People with this normally do not have severe hallucinations or delusions but there are still present. Though they do not have major hallucinations, these victims have large problems maintaining their daily lives. Common tasks such as dressing, bathing, eating, can be extremely difficult or lost completely. Victims also have severe trouble articulating themselves and their speech may be incomprehensible. The third type of schizophrenia is known as Catatonic schizophrenia.  The noticeable difference in these people is that they have a great reduction of activity or a great increase in activity. Victims can repetitively do a useless activity for no apparent reason and refuse to move out of a certain position for no reason. Often, great physical strength is shown in keeping this position when tried to be moved. Two major symptoms include echolalia and echopraxia. The fourth type of schizophrenia is Undifferentiated schizophrenia. This is just when one has symptoms that cannot be officially placed in any of the other categories. The final schizophrenia is known as Residual schizophrenia. In this subtype, a patients shows lessened severity of symptoms but they are still present.

Schizophrenia affects both males and females equally. Men seem to acquire it in their late teens to early twenties whereas women tend to develop it in their late twenties to early thirties. The cause for this statistic is still unknown because it is difficult to obtain information on this due to the illness being unique for each person. It has been shown that people that have a stable organized life before the illness normal have a better outcome after treatment than those who don’t. Even with that statistic, Women have shown to have a better prognosis for higher functioning than men. Children and adolescents who acquire this  illness never seem to fully recover after treatment. Treatment for schizophrenia varies based on how severe it is. Shock therapy was often used in most cases but now it is only used in very severe cases. Medication along with counselling  seems to benefit the victim as well. Medications often repress the dopamine gene because it is believed to have a major role on the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Sources:

Causes of schizophrenia. (2014, July 28). Retrieved August 3, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_schizophrenia

Types of Schizophrenia – Psych Central. (n.d.). Retrieved August 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/types-of-schizophrenia/000714/2

Schizophrenia. (n.d.). Retrieved August 3, 2014, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml

Psych Central: Schizophrenia Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved August 7, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx31t.htm

Schizophrenia: Symptoms & Types. (n.d.). Retrieved August 3, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/guide/schizophrenia-symptoms-types

NAMI – The National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Retrieved August 3, 2014, from http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=schizophrenia9

I decided to do research on schizophrenia because schizophrenia is one of the largest mental illness affecting people today.  It affects 24 million people over the age of 18.  Also after watching the movie “The Beautiful Mind” , which tells the life story of John Nash and his struggle with schizophrenia, I was interested in the topic. I wanted to educate my peers on what schizophrenia is, why it is caused, and how it can be treated. I chose to write an essay because an informative essay is clear and to the point.

5 responses to “Final Project- Schizophrenia”

  1. Cyrene Nicholas says:

    Your essay was very informative, do you know anyone who has Schizophrenia?

  2. Teja Kadewari says:

    Thank you. I do not know anyone with schizophrenia.

  3. Carlos Aizenman says:

    Very clear and informative, and well organized. From symptoms to mechanisms there is a lot of information in there! Nice job!

  4. Teja Kadewari says:

    Thank you Dr.Aizenman. I really enjoyed researching this topic.

  5. Laura Kloepper says:

    Nice job. You packed lots of information into this essay! I like how you described the different types of schizophrenia.

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