Essay on Schizophrenia5

This essay has a total of 1331 words and 7 pages.



The devastating mental illness of Schizophrenia is a major concern of modern medicine.
Schizophrenia associates any one person with multiple problems. These problems include
delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized behavior (Long 1999). The illness is a
disease of the brain that is explained clinically as, disease of the mind, a simple
explanation given by Nancy Andreasen (1999). It is important to understand that there are
different types of this mental illness as well. The different types are the paranoid,
catatonic, disorganized, undifferentiated and the residual type. In cases of the paranoid
type preoccupations with one or more delusions or frequent auditory hallucinations occur.
The catatonic schizophrenics suffer from at least two of the following; motoric immobility
as evidenced by catalepsy or stupor, excessive motor activity, extreme negativism or
mutism, peculiarities of voluntary movement as evidenced by posturing, stereotyped
movements, prominent mannerisms, or prominent grimacing. In disorganized Schizophrenia
flat or inappropriate affect, disorganized speech and behavior are all prevalent. The
undifferentiated type is unusual in that it may have some characteristics of each of the
different types. The Residual type has symptoms of odd beliefs and unusual perceptual
experiences (Hoffer 1999).

Illnesses like schizophrenia bring untold misery to sufferers and their families. The
suffering is magnified because of the unique stigma attached to this illness. Unlike other
illnesses, it marks not only afflicted individuals, but also their relatives (Reynolds
1996). For example, the concept of the "schizophrenogenic mother" was rife till recently.
Such suffering is unnecessary and probably arises from fear bred by ignorance. The
search for the causes of psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia - may help dispel a lot of
these notions

However research is hampered by the relatively few clues available about the causes. This
is not for lack of effort. Literally hundreds of causes have been proposed (Davidson
1995). They include viruses, accidental injury before and after birth, as well as illicit
substances. However, only inherited factors are generally accepted as significant causes.
Evidence for such factors comes from everyday experience: It is common to find families
with several affected members. While such clustering' could also be due to shared
non-inherited environmental factors, more convincing evidence has come from twin studies,
as well as studies of ill individuals who were adopted away before the onset of illness.

These studies do not suggest inherited factors as the sole causes (Mitchell 1991). As
stated by Nancy Andreasen (1999) Schizophrenia is probably caused by these multiple
environmental stimuli and a combination of inherited genes. A more reasonable explanation
is that there are individuals who have an inherited proneness to illness. Such individuals
may fall ill, if in addition, they are exposed to obnoxious factors in the environment
such as drugs. It has already been proven that in the causation of diseases like diabetes
and raised blood pressure. It is important to stress that statistical analysis does not
support the presences of a single genetic factor in this scheme. Rather, the inheritance
is probably due to several factors that may be inherited from either side of one's family.
It is assumed that a single genetic factor is unlikely to cause psychotic illnesses like
schizophrenia. Therefore, there is no trace to the inheritance of genetic factors in
families (Nuthers 1993). Instead, the attempt is to identify genetic factors that are
present at higher rates among ill individuals compared with non-ill individuals.
Initially compared ill individuals with unrelated unaffected individuals, it is difficult
to say if the differences reflected proneness to illness or some other unrelated
characteristics, which happened to be different in the two groups. Studies help to
identify predisposing inherited factors, but would not give information about a given
family (Davidson 1995).

An interesting fact about Schizophrenia is that a study of gender differences was done to
recognize whether or not the illness effects males and females adversely. It was found
those females more than males hallucinate more. Rajiv Sharma (1999) developed the study.

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