Something About Schizophrenia
Something about schizophrenia
Do you know someone that has been diagnosed with schizophrenia? Maybe it is a friend, acquaintance or a family member? I do and because of this I wanted to know more about this disorder so that I can further understand it in order to help my family member and friends that have it.
In this paper about schizophrenia, I am going to explain what schizophrenia is, the symptoms of schizophrenia, the different types of schizophrenia, a brief history of schizophrenia, how schizophrenia was treated in the past and how it is treated now. According to the FarLex dictionary, schizophrenia is “a severe mental disorder associated with brain abnormalities and typically evidenced by disorganized speech, behavior, delusions, and hallucinations.” Schizophrenia is a severe disease, but with proper treatment, it can be managed and controlled.
Schizophrenia has a history. “The word “schizophrenia” is about 100 years old. The entomology of the word schizophrenia comes from the Greek roots “schizo” (split) and “phrene”(mind). The Swiss psychiatrist Eugene Bleuler is the man who originated the word schizophrenia to describe the fragmented thinking of people with this disorder. The disease was discovered by a man by the name of Emile Kraepelin in 1887 but it was not until 1911 that Bleuler originated the word schizophrenia”(schizophrenia.com).
Schizophrenia is known as a thought disorder and it is also the most severe thought disorder someone can have. There are five types of schizophrenia which are: disorganized, catatonic, paranoid, undifferentiated, and residual. The different types of schizophrenia have that have different severity levels of symptoms and different symptoms. The symptoms of schizophrenia are placed in three different groups: positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and psychomotor symptoms.
The positive symptoms “seem to be excesses of or bizarre additions to normal thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. Negative symptoms seem to be deficits in normal thought, emotion, or behaviors. A type of psychomotor symptoms of schizophrenia would be called catatonia which is a pattern of extreme psychomotor symptoms found in some forms of schizophrenia, which may include catatonic stupor, rigidity, or posturing” (comer 2011).
The two main symptoms of schizophrenia are hallucination and delusions. In order for a person to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, they must have both hallucinations and delusions. There are different types of hallucinations which are auditory, visual, olfactory, tactile and gustatory.
Auditory hallucinations are the most common type of hallucination people with schizophrenia experience. Auditory hallucinations are when people hear voices that are imaginary which other people cannot hear except for the person hearing them. Some voices tell people what to do and some just give information. Sometimes, the auditory hallucinations can be negative and very offensive to the person that has them. For example, some voices tell the person that they are no good, that they should kill themselves or in some cases other people. Some auditory hallucinations tell the person good things like they are beautiful. However, in most cases of schizophrenia, the voices that people hear are negative voices. Other auditory hallucinations are just sounds such as music or various noises.
Visual hallucinations are images that people see that are not there such as if a person saw a red elephant with purple wings flying in the sky. Visual hallucinations are the second most common type of hallucinations that people experience who have schizophrenia. The images can be very clear or distorted to the person. The images can also be very scary.
Olfactory hallucinations are different smells that people smell that are not really there. These smells can be unpleasant or pleasant. For example a person can be in the middle of the desert and smell roses even though there are no roses around. A person that smells unpleasant smells may smell rotting flesh where there is no rotting flesh.
Tactile hallucinations are hallucinations that people can feel. For example, a person may feel bugs crawling on their skin even though there are no bugs on their skin. People who experience tactile hallucinations may feel pain or pleasure.
Gustatory hallucinations are hallucinations that people can taste. Some people may taste a peach even though they have not eaten a peach. Sometimes, people who have these hallucinations will be in a cretin place and it puts a nasty taste in their mouth.
The other main symptom that people with schizophrenia have is delusions. Delusions are false beliefs. There are different types of delusions and these include: persecutory delusions, delusions of reference, somatic delusions, grandiose delusions, bizarre delusions, erotomatic delusions, and thought insertions.
Persecutory delusions are the most common type of hallucinations that a person with schizophrenia has. The person with this type of delusion believes that people are watching them and that people are making fun of them. They may think that they are being followed. People with persecutory delusions get fearful and may do things in order to protect themselves such as hide.
Delusions of reference are delusions that a newspaper article is referring to them. They may think a song on the radio is referring specifically to them. They may think that a movie is about them. However, in reality the articles, songs and movies are not speaking specifically of them at all but that is not what the person who has these delusions believes.
Somatic delusions are beliefs that a person has a physical or medical condition or flaw that they do not have. For example a person with these delusions may think they have cancer even after they have been tested negative for cancer. They think the test is wrong. Bizarre delusions would be a delusion that a person was abducted by pink elephant Martians and have become one of them.
Erotomatic delusions are delusions that the person is romantically and sexually involved with a rock star even though in reality they are not. Thought insertions are delusions that a monkey on another planet is putting thoughts in their mind and causing them to think things they don’t want to think about. These people are not thinking of their own free will and they are not alone.
As for the five types of schizophrenia, there is the disorganized type in which the symptoms “are confusion, incoherence, and flat or inappropriate affect. Attention and perception problems, extreme social withdrawal, and odd mannerisms or grimaces are common” (comer 2011). Another type is catatonic schizophrenia, this is a psychomotor symptom and people with this type stand or sit like a statue and pose. They may believe they have to stay in a certain position for a long time so the world will be safe. Another type is paranoid schizophrenia; people with this type may be under the delusion that people are out to get them or harm them. They may hear auditory hallucinations confirming there delusions too.
The undifferentiated type is given when a patient is not able to be placed in a specific categorical type by the one giving the diagnosis because their symptoms change over long periods of time. The residual type of schizophrenia is where the symptoms of schizophrenia are not very strong and the person can function normally. This is the type that people have who are receiving treatment and taking their medication.
The symptoms of schizophrenia have been around sense the biblical times. People used to call people with mental abnormalities “mad”. In the stone ages people believed that people with the symptom of what is known as schizophrenia today were possessed with evil spirits and they would treat such people with a treatment known as “trephination”. Trephination was “an ancient operation in which a stone instrument was used to cut away a circular section of the skull, perhaps to treat abnormal behavior” (Comer 2011). The reason that people would perform trephination was due to the belief that by cutting a hole in a person’s skull that had abnormal behavior the demons that possessed them would leave them through the hole and that they would be normal after the treatment.
According to what I have learned in Dr. Whites class lectures, as time went on the treatment for mental disorders have evolved drastically. In the middle ages exorcisms were performed on people with abnormal behavior. In the renaissance era people with abnormal functioning were put in asylums and they were treated more as prisoners of a crime rather than sick people in a hospital. In the nineteenth century treatment got better because the treatment of people with mental disorders was not as cruel people were treated with sympathy and given dignity as humans with a sickness.
In the 1950’s mental disorders were treated with psychotropic medications and people were released from hospitals and able to be deinstitutionalized because of the medicine. People with schizophrenia are treated with medications to this day. Medication is the most effective treatment for people with schizophrenia. “Research repeatedly has shown that antipsychotic drugs reduce symptoms in at least 65 percent of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Moreover, in direct comparison the drugs appear to be a more effective treatment for schizophrenia than any of the other approaches used alone, such as psychotherapy, milieu therapy, or electroconvulsive therapy” (Comer 2011).
There are different theories as to what causes schizophrenia such as the Biological views, Psychological views, and sociocultural views. The biological views seem to have brought the best treatment to people with schizophrenia because the medication helps to relieve the schizophrenic of a lot of the symptoms of their disorder. However, psychotherapy and medication treatment together are the best treatment according to what I have learned in my Psychology 14 class with Dr. White.