A Split Between Thoughts, Emotions, and Behavior
Psychiatric mental illness characterized by impairments in the perception or expression of reality, which results in significant social or occupational dysfunction.
- Attention Difficulties
- Disturbed Speech
- Emotional Disturbances
- Disordered Thinking
Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia are tormented by bizarre and intrusive thoughts and images.
Types of Schizophrenia:
Disorganized (hebephrenic) schizophrenia
- Inappropriate laughter and giggling, silliness, incoherent speech, infantile behavior, strange and sometimes obscene behavior
- Delusions and hallucinations of persecution or of greatness, loss of judgment, erratic and unpredictable behavior
- Major disturbances in movement; in some phases, loss of all motion, patient frozen into a single position, remaining that way for hours or days; in other phases, hyperactivity and wild, violent movement
- Variable mixture of major symptoms of schizophrenia; classification used for patients who cannot be typed into any of the more-specific categories
- Minor signs of schizophrenia after a more-serious episode
Possible Causes of Schizophrenia:
- Suggests that schizophrenia is a form of regression to earlier experiences and stages of life
- Freud: people with schizophrenia lack egos strong enough to cope with unacceptable impulses
Suggests that the disorder is created through learned classical conditioning, observational learning, or operant conditioning
- Suggests that schizophrenia results from over attention to stimuli in the environment
- People with the disorder may be receptive to everything in their environment, unable to screen out unimportant stimuli
Brain Abnormalities: Brain scans have indicated a number of structural abnormalities in the brains of schizophrenic patients
One difference between the brains of a person with schizophrenia and without is enlarged ventricles (butterfly-shaped spaces seen in the middle of the MRIs)
The brains of people with schizophrenia may harbor either a biochemical imbalance or a structural abnormality
- The dopamine hypothesis suggests that schizophrenia occurs when there is excess activity in the areas of the brain that use dopamine as a neurotransmitter
- Drugs that block dopamine action in brain pathways can be highly effective in reducing the symptoms of schizophrenia
Strong evidence exists for a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia
- Specific genes and their roles in creating the disposition are unknown
- Twin studies show that identical twins have higher concordance rates than fraternal twins
- Adoption studies show much higher concordance with biological parents than with adoptive parents
Genes and schizophrenia:
The degree of risk for developing schizophrenia correlates highly with the degree of genetic relationship with someone who has that disorder
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