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SCHIZOPHRENIA

Schizophreniais a condition which can be explained as a collection of seriousbrain abnormalities which cause a person to interpret life’srealities in an abnormal manner (Tandon,Nasrallah &amp Keshavan, 2009). It is characterized by delusions,hallucinations, and an individual may show a confused behavior. About1.1 percent of the world population has schizophrenia disease henceover 250,000 people are diagnosed with the disease in the UK everyyear (Schizophrenia.com).

Costsof Schizophrenia

Accordingto Schizophrenia.com,In the UK, about 80 million working days are lost annually costingthe economy a cool £3.7 billion. NHS and personal social servicesspends £1 billion and £400 million respectively on treatment andcare for people with schizophrenia. The greatest cost ofschizophrenia is however in the non economic cost born by thosehaving it and their families.

Symptomsof schizophrenia

Thesymptoms of schizophrenia can be associated with a few mentaldisorders, thus no one exact symptom that can be used to ascertainits diagnosis (Taylor&amp Vaidya, 2009).Symptoms of schizophrenia become noticeable at different phases oflife in women and men (Cohen et al., 2006). Symptoms of schizophreniaare commonly categorized into three main classes namely positive,negative, and cognitive.

Positivesymptoms

Positivesymptoms suggest excess or alteration in normal behavior. Thesesymptoms entail the following:

  • Thought disorder

  • Delusions

  • Hallucinations

  • Disorganized behavior

Negativesymptoms

Negativesymptoms occur as a result of worsening or an absence of sanefunctions. These symptoms may either occur together with the positivesymptoms or solely (Ellison-Wright &amp Bullmore, 2009). Negativesymptoms entail poor personal hygiene, lack of interest and inabilityto perform one’s daily activities, withdrawal from society, lowself-esteem, and an individual may not show any sense of feeling(Ellison-Wright &amp Bullmore, 2009).

Cognitivesymptoms

Cognitivesymptoms entail trouble in constructing thoughts. Cognitive symptomsseem to be the most disabling as compared to positive and negativesymptoms as they interfere with one’s ability to perform routineactivities (Cohen, et al. 2006).

Symptomsof schizophrenia in teenage

Symptomsin teenage are similar to those of adults, but the difference is thatit is difficult for the symptoms to be established at this particulardevelopmental stage (Tandon, Nasrallah, &amp Keshavan, 2009). Thesymptoms are similar in the sense that they are manifest duringadolescence for example poor academic performance, sleepingdisorders, irritability, and withdrawal from peers (Tandon,Nasrallah, &amp Keshavan, 2009). However, schizophrenic teenagersmay not have delusions but they are most probable to have visualhallucinations unlike adults who are vulnerable to hearinghallucinations. Individuals who are schizophrenic normally do notrealize that they have a mental problem (Brune, 2005). It is thus theresponsibility of the persons close to them such as friends andrelatives to find medical attention for them (Bora, Yucel, &ampPantelis, 2009).

Suicidalthoughts

Abouta third of people with schizophrenia will attempt suicide where 10percent of schizophrenic take their own lives (Andreasen &amp Black,2006). Cases of attempted suicide should be reported so as to assistthe victim receives professional help (Mulhauser,2010).

Causesof schizophrenia

Thecauses of schizophrenia have not been clearly understood. Accordingto research, genetics, as well as environmental factors play asignificant role in the occurrence of schizophrenia. In addition,some chemicals occurring naturally in the brain such asneurotransmitters glutamate and dopamine can cause problems which maycontribute to schizophrenia. Neuroimaging studies have pointed outclear differences in the brain structure and central nervous system(CNS) of schizophrenic persons (Tandon,Nasrallah, Keshavan, 2009).

DSM-IVdiagnosis

Thistype of diagnosis states different factors in diagnosing a personwith schizophrenia. DSM-IV states characteristic symptoms ofschizophrenia such as delusions, hallucinations, distorted speech,grossly disorganized behavior, as well as other negative symptoms(Schizophrenia, 2010). In order for a person to be identified withschizophrenia, he or she must depict a minimum of two of the symptomsand show steady symptoms of disturbance for a minimum of at least sixmonths. In one of the six months, a person should depict symptoms asstipulated on the symptoms criteria. As explained by DSM-IV,hallucinations can take different form of delusions of grandeur,paranoid delusions, and delusions of reference. To ensure accuracy indiagnosis of schizophrenia, several steps may be taken one of thembeing looking at differential diagnosis (McManamy,2009).

ICD-10diagnosis

Thediagnosis of schizophrenia in ICD-10 depends on the presence ofdistinctive symptoms of hallucinations, delusions, withdrawal etc.and a minimum period of one month is usually specified. A minimum ofone very apparent symptom such as hallucination is normally requiredfor diagnosis of schizophrenia (Sartoriuset al., 1990).Two or more symptoms may be required if they are not clear. Ifconditions meet the symptomatic requirement but have lasted for lessthan a month, treated or not, then such symptoms should be diagnosedas acute schizophrenia in the first occasion, and if they persist forlonger they be reclassified as schizophrenia (WHO). Schizophreniashould not be diagnosed if there are extensive manic or depressivesymptoms except it is apparent that symptoms of schizophreniapreceded the emotional disturbance.

Criticismof Diagnosis

Majorly,controversy arises over biopsychiatric, the authenticity ofschizophrenia as a diagnostic condition has been questioned by somepsychologists as not having scientific validity and diagnosticreliability (Sun et al. 2009).

Thediscrete class of schizophrenia used under DSM classification hasalso been criticized. Some psychiatrists have argued that, just likewith other psychiatric disorders, the diagnosis would better be dealtwith as individual dimensions with which every individual varies, sothat there is a continuum or a spectrum as opposed to a cut-offbetween normal and ill.

Inaddition, the current DSM-IV and ICD-10 classifications have beencriticized by a leading personality in schizophrenia research, NancyAndreasen. She argues that, these criteria sacrifices validity at theexpense of improving diagnostic reliability, ignoring more basiccognitive impairments that are difficult to assess because of largevariations in presentation (Andreasen&amp Black, 2006).

Treatmentand drugs

Schizophreniais a chronic health condition which needs lifetime treatment evenafter the symptoms have reduced. Psychological therapy alongsidemedications can help in dealing with the disease (Sun et al., 2009).

Medication

Medicationsare central in treatment of schizophrenia even though they may resultto adverse after effects to the patient, hence some individuals maybe hesitant to using them.

Typesof medication

Thereare two types of medication (Trimble,2004):

  • Conventional antipsychotics: Are less costly but have critical neurological side effects such as occurrence of movement disorder including the irreversible tardive dyskinesia.

  • Atypical antipsychotic which are highly recommended as they have minimal risk for serious side effects. They are very costly.

Treatmentcriticism

Thereis no proof that there are any particular biological treatments forschizophrenia. Even though antipsychotic drugs are at times said toreverse a biochemical imbalance, no such imbalances have beendemonstrated. This situation is not only unscientific, but also abarrier to recovery (Critical Psychiatry, 2014).

Psychosocialtherapy

Thisis very crucial especially following psychosis recede. Therapyinvolves:

  • Social skills training

  • Individual therapy

  • Family therapy

  • Vocational rehabilitation and supported employment

RationaleFor Choosing Schizophrenia

Schizophreniais a mental health disorder that is quite complicated as compared toother disorders. Its diagnoses as well as symptoms can be confusedwith other disorders which make it even more interesting to studyabout. The various diagnostic measures including DSM-IV and DC-10criteria are also criticized for overlooking reliability andvalidity, which drove me to choose this condition for my paper.Through this research paper, I have been able to understand thedisease to a greater depth and can comfortably apply the knowledgegained in future situations concerning schizophrenia.

References

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Bora,E., Yucel, M., &amp Pantelis, C. (2009). Theory of mind impairment:a distinct trait-marker for schizophrenia spectrum&nbspdisorders andbipolar disorder? ActaPsychiatrica Scandinavica,120,253-264.

Brune,M. (2005). Emotion recognition, ‘theory of mind,’ and socialbehavior in schizophrenia. PsychiatryResearch, 133,135-147.

Cohen,A. S., Forbes, C. B., Mann, M. C., &amp Blanchard, J. J. (2006).Specific cognition deficits and differential domains of socialfunctioning impairment in schizophrenia. ScienceDirect, 81,227-238.

CriticalPsychiatry (2014 May, 1). The Case against Schizophrenia: CriticalPsychiatry Network. Retrievedhttp://www.criticalpsychiatry.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&ampview=article&ampid=46:the-case-against-schizophrenia&ampcatid=35:documents&ampItemid=56(Accessed May 1, 2014).

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