An In-depth Exploration of Schizophrenia
Diseases occur in different people at different levels of severity. Certain conditions are classified as common and of little or no severity, while others are rightly classified as severe. An example of a severe ailment is schizophrenia. The severity of a disease should indicate the level of treatment administered to the affected.
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental dysfunction of the brain that interferes with a person’s normal thought process, personality and emotional balance. It, therefore, results in mental disorderliness in which a person experiences thought, behavioral, and social complications. A person’s thinking is mostly in disarray and completely out of touch with reality. It is a severe condition lacking a cure but could be treated if necessary steps are adopted within an appropriate time. It is also referred to as a split personality disorder. It must be noted that its treatment might end up being a lifelong process owing to its chronic nature.
Signs and symptoms of Schizophrenia
Just like any other complication, schizophrenia has certain indications that should be checked out for quick treatment. Generally, these symptoms and signs are classified into three major classes:
- Positive symptoms:
These are signs that appear to touch on the excessive or destruction of the normal functioning system. Included herein are hallucinations and delusions (the state of believing or having false ideas about things and majorly infests itself as paranoia). Negative symptoms show a reduction or loss of the normal functioning system. They are generally persistent, and their evaluation is difficult. They comprise emotional discordance, exhibitions of catatonia (physically rigid and sluggish behavior), speech incoherence, increased social isolation and deservedness. (Silverstein 2006) Since the disease affects the emotional composition of the affected, there is always an evident emotional non-responsiveness.
- Cognitive symptoms:
They refer to the difficulties associated with concentration levels and memory of the affected. They consist of, among others, losses of usual interests or pleasures, slow thinking, slow understanding, poor concentration and memory lapses, reduced personal hygiene, for instance, poor dressing codes and loss of motivation and proper judgment. In remote instances, a person may go mute, assume abnormal postures, or exhibit unnecessary restlessness. (Weinberger 2011).
There is widespread resentment on the part of the affected as failure to attain success in academic and occupational fields is evident. Coordination of major body systems is generally lost.
Causes of Schizophrenia
The major causes of schizophrenia are not clearly defined but are believed to result from complex interactions between environmental variations, psychological makeup and a person’s genetic composition. Otherwise known as split personality disorder, the causative agents of schizophrenia tend to alter an individual’s personality, thus interfering with practically every functioning of the body, from thought to speech. The interaction between one’s biological makeup and the environment within which he or she interacts affects in a big way an individual’s development of all the threats posed by the social and physical setup. Schizophrenia is not a hereditary disorder, though the disorder in certain family members could affect the health of a newborn in a way. Multiple genes in a parent could be an early indication of a schizophrenic baby. Environmentally, there is a high possibility of contracting the disease (in the case of a newborn) even before birth. This entirely depends on the conditions the mother is subjected to during pregnancy. For instance, children whose mothers fall ill during pregnancy could be at higher risk of contracting this disease. The nature of the environment in which the child is brought up would act as a major influencing factor, considering acts of molestation, bullying, neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and domestic violence on the part of the parents, among other things could provide breeding grounds for this disease to spread. Poverty and trauma resulting from losing a loved one at a tender age could be major causes of schizophrenia. If one is exposed to his circumstances early, the risks of psychological trauma are very high. ( Birchwood 2001).
Types of Schizophrenia
Owing to the diversity in the causes of Schizophrenia, various forms of this disease exist and could be categorized as Paranoid (Characterized by high levels of hallucination and excessive delusions), Disorganized (Incoherence is a major problem, as well as emotional detachments), Catatonic (Withdrawals, in this case, is in the extreme and prefers isolation), Residual ( interest and motivation in life is often deficient), Undifferentiated and Schizoaffective abnormality( here mania is evident in a mixed form). ( Tsuang 1997).
Treatment of Schizophrenia
Considering this chronic disease has no cure care should be taken to offer effective treatment to affected persons. Of importance in treating schizophrenic conditions would be to realize that there exists no precise cause of this condition. Therefore, all treatment efforts should focus on the signs and symptoms rather than the cause. For this reason, therefore, its treatment could encompass a lot, considering its symptoms are in plenty. Its treatment consists of medication and therapeutic methods. Medication involves administering drugs or medicine to the patient, while therapeutic channels include counseling and attention. Antidepressants could be administered to cub depression and general mood disorders. There exist a host of different treatments that could be administered. These include family therapy, whereby the family takes responsibility to encourage the affected individual, and cognitive and behavioral therapy, which would help identify efficient skills and encourage the affected to incorporate efficient ideas. Apart from those, there is also the option of psychotherapy that would involve building one’s relationship. Early treatment measures should be adopted to achieve efficient long-term outcomes. (Stephen 1988).
As a result of widespread research, certain statistics have been arrived at to help us understand the effects of this disease better and learn to identify it at any opportunity. For instance, the male species is more likely to contract the disease than the female species. Statistics show certain comparisons that prove this; for example, men are likely to contract this disease at a younger age than women, respond slower to medication than women, and tend to experience disastrous long-term effects compared to their female counterparts. This difference results from women’s estrogen hormone and is lacking in men. Due to this, this disease’s prevalence rate is higher in the male species than in the female species. As for the national prevalence rate, 1% of the total population of the United States of America is affected by this disease. ( Boyle 2002).
Having explored the schizophrenia condition at large, everyone must take it upon himself to be at the forefront to help curb this disease that, apart from causing pain and bodily harm to many individuals, also causes financial losses to the various families affected. As the adage says, prevention is better than cure, so we should be careful not to let this condition destroy the very fabric of our nation – our families.
1. Beck Aaron T., Neil A. (2010)., Rector & Stolar Neal Schizophrenia: cognitive theory, research, and therapy
2. Birchwood M. J., Birchwood Max & Jackson Chris (2001), Schizophrenia: Clinical psychology, a modular course
3. Boyle Mary (2002) Schizophrenia: A scientific delusion?
4. Silverstein Steven M., Spaulding William Delbert & Menditto Anthony A. (2006) Schizophrenia Volume 5 of Advances in Psychotherapy
5. Stephen Thomas (1988), Schizophrenia: the sacred symbol of psychiatry Tsuang T., Faraone Stephen V., & D. C. Peter (1997) Schizophrenia: The Facts Series