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The Mental Disease Named Schizophrenia

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The Mental Disease Named Schizophrenia

Some people may describe schizophrenia, a person who is afflicted with schizophrenia, as one who has lost their mind. Others may say that they are just sick people seeking attention. Well I am going to describe to you what I have learned about this mental disease. I will include the many symptoms, causes, and impacts this disorder brings into lives. There is a lot more to this disease than most people know and most of them are not even aware that they have it.


Schizophrenia is any group of psychotic reactions characterized by withdrawal from reality with highly variable accompanying affective, behavioral, and intellectual disturbances (The American Heritage Dictionary 2nd College Edition). It is a mental disease that manifests itself in the activities of the mind ( Literally translated schizophrenia means “split mind” (Myers, 2003). In other words, this disorder creates a difficulty for an infected person to differentiate between reality and imaginary experiences. It also affects the ability to experience and express emotions ( It affects both men and women equally and is found in all cultures.


Schizophrenia has both positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms reflect an excess or distortion of normal functions (DSM IV). They consist of delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and speech, and grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior. Delusions are erroneous beliefs that usually involve a misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences (DSM IV). A schizophrene would be considered delusional if he/she strongly believes that someone or something is following them or trying to poison them. This also goes along with the belief that regular daily routines in everyday life evolves around them or occurs on their behalf. Hallucinations are false sensory experiences (Myers, 2003). They occur when a schizophrene hears voices either conversing with each other or talking to them. Disorganized thinking or speech is a common symptom of schizophrenia. The victim may talk aloud to them self about false experiences or answer questions inappropriately. Grossly disorganized behaviors consist of unpredictable swearing, lack of hygienic order, over or under dressing, and even public masturbation. Catatonic behavior brings out a protest, in which the person may refuse to be moved or touched in any way.

Negative symptoms reflect a diminution or loss of normal functions (DSM IV). Affective flattening is very common and is characterized by the person’s face appearing immobile and unresponsive, with poor eye contact and reduced body language (DSM IV). They tend to lack emotions. In order to be diagnosed with affective flattening, a clinician would observe the patient’s interaction with others. Alogia is manifested by brief, laconic, empty replies (DSM IV). It is when the afflicted would lack energy. Avolition is characterized as an inability to initiate and persist in goal-directed activities (DSM IV). This is also very common and makes the person lack interest in life. Negative symptoms are particularly common in the prodromal and residual phases and can often be quite severe (DSM IV).


The heritability of schizophrenia is complex, making it impossible to anticipate if the disease will develop or not in a specific individual ( Because of this complexity researchers have different opinions about the origin of schizophrenia. When looking at schizophrenia from the hereditary point of view statistics show that the concordance for schizophrenia is relatively low (30-40%) in modern investigations of identical twins and that less than 50% of the children of two schizophrenic parents develop the disease. Estimations also show that 30-50% of the development of the disease may be caused by environmental factors ( From the many different investigations that have been conducted, it is becoming apparent that schizophrenia is mostly caused by different environmental factors such as obstetric complications, early infections (especially influenza), maternal stress and starvation during pregnancy, birth and childhood in urban areas, and birth during winter and early spring ( Researchers look at certain factors such as lack of oxygen to a baby which would result in abnormal brain development.

Case Study

“He put up with it as long as he could and then he left”, is what Mr. Brown said to me during our interview about

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