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Psychiatric mental illness characterized by impairments in the perception or expression of reality, which results in significant social or occupational dysfunction.

Main Symptoms of Schizophrenia:

  • Delusions
  • Attention Difficulties
  • Hallucinations
  • 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

Paranoid schizophrenia

  • Delusions and hallucinations of persecution or of greatness, loss of judgment, erratic and unpredictable behavior

Catatonic schizophrenia

  • 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

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia

  • Variable mixture of major symptoms of schizophrenia; classification used for patients who cannot be typed into any of the more-specific categories

Residual Schizophrenia

  • 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)

Biological hypothesis:

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




Bernstein, D.A. & Nash, P.W. (2008). Essentials of psychology (4th ed.) Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Comer, R.J. (2013). Abnormal Psychology (8th ed).  Worth Publishers
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM-5) American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013
Feldman, R. (2013). Essentials of understanding psychology (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Friedman, H.S. & Schustack, M.W. (2012), Personality: classic theories and modern research (5th ed). Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.
McGraw-Hill.McGraw Hill Higher Education (2013), The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.
Ryckman, R. M. (2013). Theories of personality (10th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Sue,Sue, and Sue (2014).  Understanding Abnormal Behavior (10th Ed), Cengage Learning

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