Schizophrenia - NIMH - national institute of mental health


Schizophrenia, a serious mental illness, can take over a person's life, but with treatment and excessive support from others it can be managed. Schizophrenia is a disease that alters the mind and confuses what is real and what is not.(WebMD)“Schizophrenia is a misunderstood disease. It is not split personality, or multiple personality, but rather a ‘shattered' personality.”(Bellenir 275) About 1.1 percent of the population or one in every one hundred people diagnosed with schizophrenia suffer from this “‘shattered' personality.”(NIMH, Bellenir 275) Symptoms may appear in the late teens and 20's, in most cases they appear earlier in men than in women.(NIMH)

It is not known what causes schizophrenia, but it is an imbalance of serotonin and dopamine.(Bellenir 276) This imbalance makes a difference in how the brain reacts to stimuli.(Bellenir 276) Some believe that those who suffer from schizophrenia could have had a higher risk because of genetics.(Bellenir 276) A family member might have had schizophrenia and stress could trigger it more easily.(Bellenir 276)

Symptoms of schizophrenia vary in severity depending on the person. Some patients are only known to have one episode. Others may suffer from them constantly for the rest of their lives. Symptoms may disappear and reappear years later.(WebMD)

The sufferers of schizophrenia endure one of three different types of symptoms.(NIMH) The first being positive symptoms, or symptoms “added” to a person's personality.(Bellenir 277) Negative symptoms take a away certain abilities of the suffer.(Bellenir 278) Cognitive symptoms cause difficulty with the memory and focus.(NIMH)

“Positive symptoms are psychotic behaviors not seen in healthy people.”(NIMH) Sufferers will not be able to understand reality from their unrealistic worlds. (WebMD) Positive traits tend to be more noticeable than the other symptoms.(NIMH) Positive symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, and thought and movement disorders. (NIMH)

Delusions cause the sufferer to believe a ridiculous idea even if the idea has been disproved.(NIMH) Often times they will be delusions of persecution.(NIMH) Seeing, hearing, smelling, or feeling something that is not there can be a hallucination.(NIMH) The sufferer will often hear warnings or will be bossed around by the voice they hear.(NIMH) The sufferer may also hear voices talking to each other.(NIMH) Thought disorders will cause “disorganized thinking” and “thought blocking”. (NIMH) The person will also suffer from “neologisms” which are meaningless words made up and jumbled together.(NIMH) Movement disorders will cause uncontrollable body movement, repetitive motions, and the sufferer will be catatonic.(NIMH)

Negative symptoms more often than not will be less noticeable than positive symptom.(NIMH) “Negative symptoms are capabilities that are ‘lost' from the person's personality.”(Bellenir 278) Negative symptoms are often mistaken for depression and this is why negative symptoms are harder to recognize.(NIMH) The person will appear to become more lazy and will find no pleasure in life.(NIMH, Bellenir) Sufferers need to be encouraged to take control of these symptoms and take care of themselves.(Kirby 4)

Cognitive symptoms, like negative, can also be hard to recognize. Cognitive symptoms can be recognized by a test. Sufferers will have trouble making decisions and have a short attention span. Cognitive symptoms affect the memory.(NIMH)

There is no cure for schizophrenia, but treatment can help to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia.(Bellenir 279) “Early treatment―even as early as the first episode―can mean a higher remission rate and a better long-term outcome.”(Bellenir 279) Therapy is one option of treatment, this combined with medication can often help the sufferer manage their schizophrenia.(Bellenir 280) Therapy can help the patient gain more confidence and learn to cope with their problems. (Bellenir 280) A woman with a brother with schizophrenia had this to say about treatment with medication and therapy, “I think that I would have been beneficial or Jamie to have tried interventions such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which can work in conjunction with medication to try to normalize his experiences of hallucinations. Evidence suggests that therapies such as CBT can be part of treatment to reduce impact of the positive symptoms of schizophrenia.”(Kirby 4)

Medication can also help ease the symptoms of schizophrenia.(NIMH, Bellenir) Antipsychotic drugs have been available since the mid-1950's.(NIMH) These drugs help to balance the biochemical imbalances of schizophrenia.(Bellenir 279) The older generation antipsychotic drugs help to control the “positive” symptoms of the mental illness.(Bellenir 279) This drug causes more symptoms though.(Bellenir 279) The mild side effects are dry mouth, blurred vision, drowsiness, dizziness, and constipation.(Bellenir 279) The more dangerous side effects are trouble with muscle control, facial ticks, pacing, and tremors.(Bellenir 279)The newer generation drugs, or atypical antipsychotics, were developed in the 1990's and treat both the “positive” and negative” symptoms with very few side effects. (NIMH, Bellenir 279)

Please be aware that the free essay that you were just reading was not written by us. This essay, and all of the others available to view on the website, were provided to us by students in exchange for services that we offer. This relationship helps our students to get an even better deal while also contributing to the biggest free essay resource in the UK!