Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Schizophrenia, Health, Nursing, Medicine, Development, Disorders, Psychology, Disaster

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/09


Schizophrenia is described as a disorder, rather than a disease, according to the International Classification of Disease (or ICD) of the World Health Organization because it embraces a “clinically recognizable set of symptoms or behavior that in most cases is associated with distress and with interference in functions” (cited Hirsch and Veinberger 9). Schizophrenia is a serious disorder of the mind that affects the way a person thinks, feels and acts. Thus, a person suffering from the disorder may not be able to distinguish between the real and the imaginary, or may be indifferent or completely remote from others, or may find it hard to express emotions that are normal to others (MHA 2015).


Two general factors are attributed to the development of the disorder in individuals, namely genetics and chemistry. Although the disorder occurs only in 1% of the population, it rises to 10% in a family with a first-degree relative, like a parent, brother or sister, suffering from schizophrenia. Second-degree relatives of a schizophrenic also have higher risk of developing the disease than the general population, but the highest risk occurs with an identical twin that has a 40% to 65% of developing the disorder when the other identical twin has schizophrenia. Another theory related to genes as a cause of schizophrenia is the theory of the missing gene. According to some studies, schizophrenia may develop when a gene important to the making of chemicals, which are components in the development of higher functioning skills, is missing. There is a belief, however, that the genetic susceptibility to schizophrenia is heightened by environmental factors, such as malnutrition prior to birth, viruses and similar psychosocial factors. Both sexes are susceptible to the disease with earliest symptoms starting to manifest between 16 to age 30, but most people do not develop it before the age of 45 (NIMH 2015).


The descriptive psychopathology of schizophrenia can be classified into three broad symptoms: purely positive symptoms, a combination of positive and negative symptoms, and purely negative symptoms. The mind of a person with schizophrenia suffers from disintegration in a pervasive and serious manner. Such disintegration is manifested in symptoms that are either positive or negative, or a combination of both. Positive symptoms are functions or aspects of the mind that are present in the person with schizophrenia, but are not present in normal individuals. Examples of positive symptoms are hallucinations, delusions, catatonia and similar abnormalities in mental experiences. On the other hand, negative symptoms are those aspects of the minds that are not present in a person with schizophrenia, but are present in those persons deemed normal. Examples of negative symptoms are deficit or damage in attention, intelligence, perception, or will (Hirsch and Weinberger 15). Negative symptoms may also be classified as: the flat effect, that is, lack of facial motion or dull or monotonous manner of speech; inability to enjoy life; inability to initiate or sustain plans, and; inability to interact (NIMH 2015). Some schizophrenic patients manifest a combination of positive and negative symptoms (Hirsch and Weinberger 15).


Without treatment, schizophrenia patients may develop serious emotional, behavioral and health issues. Common complications for the disorder include the following: suicide, self-injury, extreme fear and anxiety, depression, substance abuse, homelessness, social isolation, health problems because of poor lifestyle choices, and aggressive behavior (Mayo Clinic 2014).


Treatments are focused on the symptoms of the disorder since its causes are not yet fully established. Antipsychotic drugs are first given and after stabilization of patients psychosocial treatments may follow. Some of the well-known antipsychotic drugs are Chlorpromazine (Thorazine), Haloperidol (Haldol), Perphenazine (Etrafon, Trilafon) and Fluphenazine (Prolixin). Atypical or second-generation antipsychotic drugs, which were developed in the 1990s, include clozapine (Clozaril), Risperidone (Risperdal), Olanzapine (Zyprexa) and Quetiapine (Seroquel), among others. On the other hand, psychosocial treatments consist of coping mechanisms to help patients deal with everyday life. Other programs that can help a schizophrenia patient are programs that develop illness management skills, substance abuse treatment if applicable, rehabilitation, family education, and cognitive behavioral therapy (NIHM 2015).


It was originally thought that schizophrenia patients cannot recover at all, but in recent years studies have shown that it is possible for some patients to recover in some aspects. Researchers have, thus, classified recovery into clinical recovery, complete recovery, social recovery, and psychological recovery. Five studies of schizophrenia patients, viz., Bleuler in 1978, Ciompi & Muller in 1976/1984, Huber et al 1975, Salokangas in 1983, and Sariorius et al 1986, showed that schizophrenia has a variety of outcomes. Thus, between 20 to 25% of the patients studied only had one episode, full remission and socially recovered. Clinical recovery was found to be possible in some patients who eventually lost some of their positive symptoms. However, about 30% manifested the poorest outcome (cited Birchwood and Jackson 23).

Works Cited

Birchwood, Max and Jackson, Chris. Schizophrenia. Psychology Press. Print.
Hirsch, Steven and Weinberger, Daniel. Schizophrenia. John Wiley & Sons. 2008. Print.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Diseases and Conditions: Schizophrenia.” Mayo Clinic. 24 January 2014. Web. 05 March 2015. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases- conditions/schizophrenia/basics/complications/con- 20021077
MHA. “Schizophrenia.” Mental Health America. 2015. Web. 05 March 2015. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/schizophrenia#schizophrenia
NIMH. “What Is Schizophrenia?” National Institute of Mental Health. 2015. Web. 05 March 2015. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml

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