This is a mental disease which causes abnormality in the mind by interfering with the processes of thinking and a person’s emotional characteristics. The disease has several signs and symptoms which are similar to those of many other mental diseases but the common ones are poor coordination of speech, abnormal delusions, paranoia and hallucinations. The disease therefore generally affects the normal functioning of the brain consequently leading to abnormal behavior in the processes controlled in the brain both physiological and psychological. The disease affects a person’s relationship with other people because they cannot make a comprehensive line of thought (Beck, 2009). The behavior of the person therefore changes and his or her relationship with the people is affected as it is difficult to have a controlled social relation with the victims of this disease.
The disease has a relatively shorter historical background known to historians. The earliest traceable history of the disease goes back to 1797 as reported by Mathews and Pinel. It was initially recognized as a disease of the teenagers and the young adults as they were the major victims back then. The diagnosis of the disease was still controversial up to mid to late 20th century. The criteria for the diagnosis was revised several times as there were more reported cases of schizophrenia reported in America than in Europe mainly because the model of diagnosis in America was a little bit loose therefore other diseases with similar signs and symptoms could be diagnosed as schizophrenia (Frith & Johnstone, 2003).
When one talks about schizophrenia it is important to mention the main types of schizophrenia. It is also important to identify how schizophrenia is diagnosed, the prevalence rates, the causes and the treatment for the disease. These are important as they help in making quick decisions and responding to patients with this condition. Quick response in return prevents more damage whether physical or psychological to the victims and also to those around them. There are several types of schizophrenia as determine by the symptoms they show on the victims (Jones et al, 2006).
Paranoid schizophrenia causes the victim to be delusional or to be hallucinating although this type of schizophrenia is not known to have a lot of symptoms displayed by victims with disorganized schizophrenia. Disorganized schizophrenia causes the victims to be incomprehensible in speech and they also behave in a disorderly manner. The victims are therefore unfriendly at times while others may prefer to stay alone. Therefore disorganized schizophrenia may be seen as more serious than paranoid schizophrenia but again lesser than the catatonic schizophrenia (Andreasen, 1994).
Catatonic Schizophrenia is usually manifested by two or more of the following symptoms. The victims may exhibit difficulty in movement or even cause total inability to move. Others tend be more mobile remaining in movement for so long. They may also show a characteristic of abnormality in the way the walk by walking in abnormal way not necessarily limping but it is similar to that. Others also start behaving weirdly and repeat what other people say although it seems like they do that subconsciously. Then there is the undifferentiated schizophrenia which is characterized by symptoms such as a combination of two or more of the following symptoms. The victims may turn delusional, experience hallucinations, others are unable to make comprehensible speech and others behave catatonically (Mahoney, 2010). As the name suggests, this kind of schizophrenia makes the victims look indifferent and confused.
Residual schizophrenia does not show most of the positive symptoms of the other types of schizophrenia. Rather the victims show the negative characteristics such as withdrawal from most of the activities, immobility and less social relations. There is a lot of similarity in symptoms of for the different types of schizophrenia and also the symptoms are similar to those of other mental diseases. This is more complicated to differentiate when the type of schizophrenia is characterized by more than one symptom (Ross, 2008).
Schizophrenia is one of the most common diseases in the world. It is estimated that about 1 percent of the world’s population suffers from this disease which is a very high representation. America alone has about two million people suffering from this disease. Victims of this disease are twice as likely to die as compared to those without the disease. They also tend to turn to drug and substance abuse at one point in their life. However, with proper medical and psychological support especially from their families, they have much better health characteristics (National Institutes of Health (U.S.), 1999).
There are not very many established causes of schizophrenia but a combination of environmental as well as genetic factors are believed to be the key causes. There is a higher likelihood of suffering from schizophrenia for people who live in urban areas than for those who live in the rural areas. The likelihood is as high as a two point difference for these two different environments. Other than the physical environment, the social relations, unemployment, improper housing and poor family relationships have also been identified as factors causing or increasing the likelihood of contracting schizophrenia. There are also the genetic factors which are virtually uncontrollable in most cases. Children born from families with the same disorder have been identified to have more chances of suffering from schizophrenia at some point in their life. A combination of environmental and genetic factors increases a person’s likelihood to suffer from schizophrenia by between 20 to 40 percent (Weinberger & Harrison, 2010).
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Schizophrenia is mainly treated with medicine which has proved effective and especially if it is detected at the early stages. The use of medicine such as Aripiprazole, Risperidone and Olanzapine has been discovered lately and they are used as antipsychotic treatment. When these medicines are combined with psychiatric treatment they are capable of aiding total recovery for the schizophrenic people. There are various side effects of these medicines such as dizziness, increased level of lipids in the blood and a considerable gaining of weight (Silverstein et al, 2006).
Like many other diseases, schizophrenia is a treatable disease and so it should not make those who suffer from it feel like they are rejected by the society. It is important to learn how to live with schizophrenic friends or family members as it will aid their healing. Without much care and support from the family then the victims will only experience more troubles and so they should be shown love and care as much as they need it. It is important to note that like many other diseases, schizophrenia should be treated at the earliest stage possible because a lengthy wait will make the treatment more difficult and it may get to a point of causing irreversible damages or even death. Therefore a quick response is important in saving the victims. The victims should also be given the psychological support they need and by so doing the disease will hardly cause the much damage it does in some cases.
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