Today in the US about 1% of the population has schizophrenia (NIMH, 2009). There is a good probability that as our society evolves so will be the amount of people with the disease, but not necessarily in a bad and traumatic event. As doctors get a better understanding of the brain and its function, I am sure we will be hearing more cases of schizophrenia. The actual definition of schizophrenia is a split mind (Slowik, 2011). Dr. Emil Kraepelin was the first to identify the disease as discrete mental illness in 1887. He was the first to use the term dementia paradox.
The term schizophrenia didnt come around until 1911; it was established by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler (schizophrenia. com, 2010). There are different elements that cause schizophrenia both genetic and environmental. There is no pinpoint reason why schizophrenia happens, what it is clear that it is a brain disease. Schizophrenia is not caused by any one element, but when multiple elements are put together, the result is schizophrenia (Tracy, 2012). Every single one of us has the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Our way of life plays a big role in determining our risk factor.
Some factors happen all the way back to our birth an even prior to that. These factors are know as parental risk factors and the include the following: * Malnourishment * Exposure to some viruses while in the womb * Lead exposure during pregnancy * Pregnancy complication * Having a father of older age. These are factors that are determined by our environment and we have no control over, but we sure can blame our parents for it. However there are different environmental that we as individual are responsible for have the ability to prevent; especially during our adolescence.
The excess use of psychoactive drugs such as: * Marijuana * Alcohol * Meth * LSD Stress also plays a crucial role in the development of the illness. Stress can do a tremendous amount of damage to the brain and that damage might be irreversible if not taken under control and if we dont find a way to mange and find way to relive the stress. As mentioned earlier, aside from the environmental factors playing a role in the development of the illness. Biological factor also play a huge role. It is also know that a person with biological factors, is much more likely to develop schizophrenia.
We are not a perfect species and a lot of us are born with malfunctions some greater than others, and some are passed on to us genetically. Recent studies have shown that the brain of a person with schizophrenia differs from those without it. Research has shown that one of the areas of the brain that schizophrenia affects is the hippocampus. The hippocampus has two functions to process emotions and memories. Also the individual who have schizophrenia have a smaller hippocampus (Tracy, 2012). Just like every disease schizophrenia has symptoms.
The thing about schizophrenia is that many of it symptoms can be attributed to other mental illnesses. The symptoms of schizophrenia in men can start occurring during their teens or 20s. As for the women the symptoms usually being in their 20s and 30s. It is very uncommon, but it does happen that some children can be diagnosed with schizophrenia; and just like children a rare case of schizophrenia can be start appearing after 45. Schizophrenia is a very complex disease and its signs and symptoms are generally classified in three different categories: positive, negative and cognitive.
The positive symptoms of a person diagnosed with schizophrenia are very simple, but not all people who are diagnosed present them. These symptoms reflect an excess or distortion of normal function. These symptoms include and are not limited to: * Delusions. Usually is the misinterpretation of perception or experience. * Hallucinations. Usually involves the hearing or seeing things that do not exist. * Though Disorder. Most commonly known as the word salad, where there is no coherence in the patients speech. * Disorganized Behavior.
Can range from childless silliness to unpredictable agitation. The negative symptoms are sort of special, these symptoms can appear with or without having the positive symptoms and what the affect the most is the diminishment or absence of character. These symptoms include: * Loss of interest in day to day activities * Lack of emotions * Reduce the ability to plan or carry out activities * Neglect personal hygiene * Social withdrawal * Loss of motivation The last of the symptoms category classification is the cognitive symptoms.
These symptoms can be the most disabling symptoms of the three since they interfere with the ability to perform routine tasks. The symptoms can be, but are not limited to: * Problems making sense of information * Difficulty paying attention * Memory problems * Social cognition * Loss of motor skills As we develops more techniques to better analyze the human brain grows, new symptoms will arise as well as the ability to prevent them (Mayo Clinic, 2010). Unfortunately schizophrenia is a disease that not only affects the person with it, but affects all the people around him or her.
In some cases it might bring friends and family and it also has the ability to tare those bonds apart. The greatest challenge is for the caregivers. It affects every aspect of their lives. They have to constantly be around him or her to prevent them from injuring themselves or others around them. That factor completely erases their private life, not only that but it also put a big financial risk within their family considering it limits the amount of time they can work and with no work they cannot bring home the bacon.
The other option is for them to be hospitalized or private care, but that is also very expensive. Not only is it expensive but also it requires your self to get familiarized with the different types of treatments that are available for the disease. The basic treatment is medication and although it is the cornerstone of schizophrenia treatment, it has its downfalls due to the tremendous amount of side effects they can cause. There are two types of medications. The first one is atypical antipsychotics; these are a new type of medications that pose a lower risk of debilitating side affect.