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Schizophrenia: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and the Role of a Teacher

Updated on August 16, 2019
dhakaakbar profile image

By profession, he is an IGCSE English Language Teacher, a teachers' trainer, and a creative writer.

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Introduction

Schizophrenia is a psychosis, which manifests itself through the disintegration of personality and the loss of contact with reality. It is, in fact, the most common chronic mental illness. It most often occurs in adolescence, between the ages of 15 and 25. The teachers have some role to contribute. You may ask-how? The answer is very simple that as a teacher you may observe that the attitude, behaviour or performance of your student is changing somewhat. I am not telling that all such changes refer that the student is suffering from schizophrenia. I am just telling that as a teacher you may easily notice the symptoms. Such a chronic mental illness affects about 0.7% of the world's population. Even if treatments now make it possible to live better with the disease, it is still subject to stigmatization and even discrimination. The symptoms differ from person to person. It may be necessary to hospitalize these patients, especially at the beginning of the disease.

The Causes Of Schizophrenia

Many types of research have been conducted to find out the actual cause of Schizophrenia. However, there is not a single cause. In addition, it can be said here that there are several causes of Schizophrenia pretended by the researchers though most of these are hypothetical.

There is probably a genetic factor, which in fact about point mutations that could alter genes involved in neuronal plasticity, i.e. the ability of neurons to adapt their activity to the environment. Environmental factors may also play roles, for example, problems during fetal development, such as maternal influenza contamination during pregnancy; the use of psychotropic substances, such as cannabis. Regular use before the age of 18 doubles the risk; in vulnerable subjects, urban living or migration may increase risks.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

In many cases, schizophrenia is preceded by "schizoid states" that still allow the individual to lead an almost normal life on the surface and that only accentuate his or her character traits. He appears thoughtful, withdrawn, subject to irrational impulses.

At first, the teenager drops out of school. It is becoming increasingly difficult for him to concentrate, to maintain his attention. These disorders result from the patient's progressive inability to use his or her intellectual abilities. The people around them often try to minimize the pathological nature of these behaviours and provide explanations that the poor performances are due to the somatic cause, laziness, growth crisis, and teenage crisis. Moreover, Parents and people around consider these types of failure as the cause and not as the consequence of loss of efficiency.

Emotional disorders are also misleading, as they are also experienced by any adolescent entering adulthood. The character seems to be changing. The young person is morose, cold, and indifferent, he no longer has any emotional impulses, s/he isolates himself more and more and abandons his external investments. S/he flees the company of his comrades and is irritable, hostile when he is with his family. Her/his weirdness is becoming more frequent. Her/his gaze slips away. S/he smiles for no reason or sketches movements whose cause is not perceived. His/her sexuality is disrupted, "poorly integrated". Sometimes the adolescent instinctively struggles with the depersonalization that threatens him/her. S/he then becomes attached to an idea, a religious concept, a political ideal, a philosophical system around which he tries to "gather". This behaviour of the pre-schizophrenic reminds us in its various aspects of the adolescent's crisis, which is normal, and it is not always easy to distinguish between things.

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Three Groups Of Symptoms Of Schizophrenia

Based on the manifestations described above, specialists classify the symptoms into 3 groups:

  1. The positive symptoms: These are the most impressive and consist of a feeling of persecution or paranoia, megalomania, delusions and sensory hallucinations (visual, tactile, smell, taste. etc.);
  2. Negative symptoms: These can be explained as an emotional and emotional impoverishment (family and social withdrawal, indifference, loss of interest, etc.);
  3. Symptoms of disorganization in terms of thought, speech, behaviour or emotions, patients have conflicting feelings, inconsistent or incoherent speech, and lack of attention to the point of preventing the planning of simple tasks.

Positive symptoms make diagnosis easier, while negatives can be interpreted as depression, which can delay diagnosis for several years.

Treatment Of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia requires long-term management, and the patient will often have to follow treatment throughout his or her life to best control the disease. Hospitalization is often necessary, especially at the time of the first crisis. In all cases, the care will be provided on a case-by-case basis. The earlier it is, the more likely it is to achieve a positive response to treatment, remission and good social integration.

Medications can reduce symptoms and relapse rates (but do not "cure" the disease). Today, treatments are based on neuroleptics, drugs that act on brain receptors. First-line second-generation antipsychotics, known as "atypical" antipsychotics, are generally prescribed (clozapine, risperidone, olanzapine, aripiprazole). Monotherapy (treatment with a single drug) is always preferred, with a combination of antipsychotics only considered in case of failure.

For best results, these drug treatments must be combined with supportive and accompanying psychotherapy. This will reduce the intensity and impact of delusions and also make it easier to take medication, thus reducing the risk of relapse. It will also help the patient to accept his illness. When treatments are properly followed, about a third of patients are in long-term remission after a few years.

Bottom Line: The Role Of A Teacher

Since Schizophrenia most often occurs in adolescence, between the ages of 15 and 25, we, the parents and teachers should understand it very well. Most of the time if we do not understand that my son/daughter/students are undergoing through this stage, we may not be able to help him/her because the early you consult the doctor, the sooner the patients will be recovered. As a teacher, I feel that the teachers’ community should understand this schizophrenia well to help a student because the teacher can easily understand that his/her student’s behaviour and performance is changing dramatically. Instead of complaining to the parents at a first glance, the teacher should first try to understand the student’s change behaviour and poor performance and then the teacher should share his/her observance with the parents. As a teacher, I believe that my responsibility is not confined to teaching and bringing good grades only. I believe in the total progress of my students.

References

American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th edition. Washington, American Psychiatric Press, 1994.

Caldwell C.B. and Gottesman I.I. (1990). Schizophrenics kill themselves too: A review of risk factors for suicide. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 16: 571-589.

Carling P.J. (1995). Return to the community. Building support systems for people with psychiatric disabilities. New York, Guilford Press. Chadwick P.

Birchwood M., Trower P. (1996). Cognitive therapy for delusions, voices and paranoia. Chichester, Wiley.

Claridge G. (1990). Can a disease model of schizophrenia survive? In: Reconstructing schizophrenia, Bentall R.P. (ed.). London, Routledge.

Desjarlais R., Eisenberg L., Good B., Kleinman A. (1995). World mental health. Problems and priorities in low-income countries. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Lafond, Virginia. Grieving Mental Illness: A Guide for Patients and Their Caregivers. University of Toronto Press, 1994.

Marsh, Diane T. & Dickens, Rex M. How to Cope with Mental Illness in Your Family: A Self-Care Guide for Siblings, Offspring, or Parents. Putnam, New York, 1997.

Mueser, Kim T. & Gingerich, Susan. Coping With Schizophren

Torrey, E. Fuller. Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Consumers, Families, and Providers. 3rd edition. Harper Collins, NY, 2001.

Woolis, Rebecca. When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness: A Handbook for Family, Friends, and Caregivers. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1992.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Md Akbar Ali

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      IK 

      5 months ago

      Very informative and well-researched piece of article

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