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It also causes patients to have difficulty in expressing normal emotions in social situations. The disorder affects about one percent of the world population with most people holding misconception concerning this disorder where the public perception suggests that it is split personality or multiple personality which is not true (McGrath, Saha, Chant, & Welham, 2008). Patients with schizophrenia disorder have been observed not to be dangerous or violent. They also do not live in hospitals for cases of treatment. Moreover, they live happily with family members sometimes in group homes or on their own.
Researches that have been conducted shows that schizophrenia disorder affects both men and women in equal measures though it may have an earlier onset in males. The rate at which the disorder is found to affect all ethnic groups around the world is similar across the board. However, its causes and symptoms vary considerably between individuals. Schizophrenia is considered to be a group of disorders combined together.
Causes of Schizophrenia
The cause of this disorder is still not proven thou scientists and psychologists hold some theories which might be the causes of schizophrenia. Such theories that could lead to successful and effective therapies include, possible viral infections and immune disorder, genetics due to heredity, environment, and biology which is the abnormalities in the structure or chemistry of the brain.
Genes and environment
Scientists believe that schizophrenia may sometimes be observed to run in families and patients may inherit tendencies to develop the disorder due to many different genes (Sullivan, 2005). This disorder mostly develops when a patient’s body undergoes both physical and hormonal changes such as those observed at adolescence for both boys and girls at their teen ages. Hormonal and physical changes may also occur when a person undergoes highly stressful situations.
The environmental aspects that are necessary for schizophrenia to develop may include; malnutrition during foetus development, problems experienced during birth, and psychosocial factors. Stressful situations may also play a bigger role in the development of schizophrenia (Parekh, 2017).
The biological aspect involves the brain chemistry where scientists believe that schizophrenia is caused by the imbalance of brain chemicals or neurotransmitters such as glutamate, serotonin, and dopamine (consortium, 2014). The neurotransmitters enable the brain nerve cells to be able to communicate to each other. However, any imbalance of such chemicals in the brain causes abnormal effects on the person’s brain to react to stimuli. People with schizophrenia have been observed to be strongly affected by sensory information. Such sensory information includes, bright lights or loud music, which can be comfortably handled by other people.
The abnormal brain structure development may also be the cause of schizophrenia. Such problems include abnormal development of pathways and faulty connections in the brain during development in the womb may be the initiator of schizophrenia observed later in life. During puberty, the major hormonal changes that occur may lead to chemical imbalance in the brain triggering psychotic symptoms in people with genetic and brain differences who happen to be vulnerable.
Viral infections and immune disorders
Babies whose mothers had flu while they were pregnant have been recognized to be at a risk of developing schizophrenia later in their life. Higher risks of schizophrenia development are also observed in people hospitalized for severe and chronic infections. Immune disorder may result in chemical imbalance in the brain due to lack of crucial chemicals such as potassium ions leading to schizophrenia.
Some drugs may also induce schizophrenia
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and marijuana are known to cause Schizophrenia relapses especially for individuals with psychotic illnesses (Steeds, Carhart-Harris, & Stone, 2015). Marijuana have been recognized to cause first episode for people vulnerable to psychotic illnesses. Prescription drugs such as steroids and stimulants are also believed by researchers to cause psychosis.
Early warning signs of developing schizophrenia
The following signs observed in people developing schizophrenia may differ from one person to another where in some it may develop slowly over years or months or may even appear very abruptly. In some people suffering from the disorder, the disease may undergo cycles of relapse and reemission. The early warning signs of developing schizophrenia are behavioral and may include; seeing or hearing things that are not there, they may feel that they are constantly being watched, unique and unusual way of writing or speaking, unfamiliar body positioning, developing poor academic and work performance, being dormant to very important situations, having a change in personal identity, deterioration of personal appearance and hygiene, increasing antisocial characteristics in social situations, developing fearful, irrational, or angry response to loved ones, development of insomnia, lack of proper concentration, unusual and inappropriate behavior, besides excessive preoccupation with particular religion or cult. When several of these signs are observed in individual for a period not less than one-week patients should seek medical advice or be aware of the development of the disorder.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia.
Symptoms of this disorder is usually observed in individuals between the age of 16 to 30 with rare cases being reported in children. These symptoms are classified into two broad types, the positive symptoms and the negative symptoms. Where positive symptoms are those observed in people with the schizophrenia disorder and are absent in those people without the disorder. Negative symptoms are those exhibited by people without the disorder but are lack or missing among individuals with schizophrenia.
Such positive symptoms include, hallucinations which involves feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting, and smelling things that does not exist. Example of hallucination is hearing imaginary voices or seeing imaginary people giving commands or complement to the person with the disorder.
Delusions are the other symptoms of schizophrenia where an individual with the disorder may start believing in false ideas. The best example of such a symptom is when individuals believe they someone is spying on him or her. They may sometimes believe of being religious figures or someone famous.
Inappropriate behavior is also a symptom of schizophrenia. Such behaviors include problems following routine activities, like maintaining cleanliness, inability to choose appropriate clothing in regard to the weather condition. The person may also exhibit unethical outbursts, and unacceptable actions for usual and simple logical activities. An individual with such disorder may exhibit movements that are tense, agitated, anxious and constant with any particular reason. Such behaviors are unwarranted to normal people who may start developing suspicion on schizophrenia patients.
Inappropriate speech and thinking capabilities are the other symptoms of schizophrenia. Individuals with such condition may develop disordered speech by speaking out words or expressing sounds and rhymes in ways that does not make sense and may sometime repeat words and ideas without noticing such errors. Inappropriate thinking is exhibited when individuals move unknowingly from one topic to another in a nonsensical manner. Sometimes these individuals may end up discussing topics that are not in the context of the current discussion.
The negative symptoms may include;
Social behavior withdrawal, where an individual may feel or want to seclude himself or herself from a social situation. Individual social behaviors are lost when they realize that they are always being looked down upon by colleagues when they make errors that seem so obvious.
Developing lack of interest or enthusiasm, particular interests are initiated by hormonal systems in the body. However, exhibition of hormonal imbalanced in the body may trigger one from developing dislike for what they once were interest in. development of inappropriate behaviors may also change an individual with schizophrenia to lack interest in things that he or she once thought are appropriate.
Lack of drive or initiative in an individual that was once self-driven in dealing with issues and solving problems is a symptom of schizophrenia. An individual with such disorder may lack the motivation to carry out obvious tasks such as washing and cooking through neglect.
A person may also develop poor expression of emotions. Patients may have different expressions for inappropriate occasions such as being happy in sad occasions like burial. An individual may lack any emotional expression all together becoming dull and unaware of the surrounding.
Patients may become unaware of illnesses due to hallucinations and delusions. Such positive symptoms may cause them to refuse taking medication or end up developing thoughts that medication may be poison.
Patients may also lose their cognitive ability which include inability to concentrate, recall things, organizing their life, and planning ahead. Their communication skills also deteriorate due to thought disorder.
Treatment of Schizophrenia
The treatment of schizophrenia begins with diagnosis and tests. Diagnosis is required so that doctors can obtain information about patients’ medical and psychiatric history. Tests are required in order to eliminate other diseases that may trigger schizophrenia-like symptoms. Such tests include blood tests to exclude physical causes of illness and to eliminate suspicions of drug use as the causing factors, imaging studies done to rule out problems in the structure of the brain and also rule out any tumor. Psychological evaluation may also be conducted during tests to eliminate other possible mental health disorders that are not related to the disorder.
The actual treatment may relieve many of the symptoms in some patients however, most of the patients may end up coping with the symptoms for life. Such treatment includes a combination of medication, psychological counselling, and introduction of self-help resources. Anti-psychosis drugs have been developed to help transform the treatment of schizophrenia enabling patients to be able to participate in the community activities rather than staying back in health facilities. The most common medications for schizophrenia are categorized into typical antipsychotics which control the positive symptoms, example of such medications include Chlorpromazine and Mesoridazine, atypical antipsychotics treats both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia examples include aripiprazole, clozapine, risperidone which is less sedating than the rest of antipsychotics, olanzapine, Quetiapine, Ziprasidone and iloperidone and finally miscellaneous antiseptic agents such as loxapine used to treat agitation in people with schizophrenia. Such medications are used as the primary treatment of schizophrenia. Unfortunately, patients that have developed hallucination and delusion may fail to comply by following the correct prescription from the doctor (Byerly, Nakonezny, & Lescouflair, 2007).
The other treatment of schizophrenia is psychological counselling. Such counselling should deal with issues that will enable the patient to recover the ethical values and skills required to live independently and productively in the community. Psychological counselling incorporates programs that help patients regain and develop life skills such as socializing, washing, and cooking that are required for well being.
The development of self-help groups has also help patients with such disorder recover immensely. Such groups provide patients with support and information by individuals who once had similar disorders and this will help them realize possibilities of recovering form schizophrenia. Establishment of drop-in centers has also helped patients regain certain characteristics such as social behaviors through provision of necessary services and informal support.
The establishment of coordinated specialty care (CSC) have effectively improved outcomes for people who have experience their first episode of psychosis (Dixon, et al., 2015). Patients recovery from such disorders have been facilitated by implementation of multi-facetted program which utilizes decisions made by a group of individuals after interacting with the patient and the care provider to gain helpful information tat concern the health status of the patient.
In conclusion, more research need to be done in order to fully understand the causes of schizophrenia so that early preventions can be achieved. Scientists and psychologists should delve into much research on symptoms of schizophrenia in order to develop effective criteria for diagnosis and treatment of the disorder.