Schizophrenia: Diagnosis and Treatment
Schizophrenia is defined as a chronic and severe mental disorder that has affected millions of Americans. The disorder disables the functioning of the brain. The contributor y factors include genetics, neurobiology and psychological processes. Others include the social environment and relationships the person was exposed at early age. The condition causes the disintegration of the neurological processes laving the patient with serious adverse effects (Regier et al, 1993, p.86). The patients manifest with a lot of divergent symptoms. The lives of these patients usually are full of misery due to the worries that surround their thinking. People with this condition tend to think that others are reading their minds in a bid to injure them. More over, they fail to make sense when they are involved in conversations (National Institute of Mental Health, 2009)
Schizophrenia has for the last decades continued to affect American citizens. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (2009), the symptoms associated with the disease are categorized in three groups: negative, positive and cognitive symptoms. The positive symptoms are mainly the psychotic behaviors that are not evident in normal and healthy individuals. Hallucinations in the form of hearing, smell, vision and feel that is only recognizable to them. Delusions that make the person believe that others are capable of controlling their movements or is planning to harm them. The person may also indulge in neologisms (National Institute of Mental Health, 2009, p.3). Movement disorders exemplified by repetition of simple movements.
Negative symptoms such as flat effect, sadness in daily chores, unsustainable times plans and withdraw from normal conversations. This renders them inactive thus forcing other family members to help them to tidy up. Cognitive symptoms such as poor execution capability, inability to focus and loss of working memory are detected through diagnostic tests. These symptoms lead to emotional turmoil in these people since they are deprived the means and ability to lead a healthy living. Schizophrenia affects individuals across sex and ethnic grouping. The disease is characterized by hallucinations and delusions evident in early adulthood but appear earlier in men than in women. It rarely affects children and persons above 45 years. Experts argue that it is difficult to diagnose the disease at an early age due to confusing attributes. There are several forms of schizophrenia: paranoid, disorganized, catatonic, residual, schizoaffective and undifferentiated schizophrenia.
Diagnosis for schizophrenia
Involves the ruling out of other outcomes with same clinical manifestations.
Conditions include bipolar disorder, head trauma, vitamin deficiencies, drug or alcohol abuse, side effects associated with medication, and depression.
- Elimination of other possible outcomes -conducting blood tests aimed at detecting any serious effect associated with illicit drugs and erratic hormones in the thyroid. (Beers & Berkow, 1999). Then,
- The doctor rules any side effects that may have been brought by hypertension. After this, the doctor takes the medical history from the patient.
- A historical background of schizophrenia is then sought from the family members, guardians or close associates.
- The diagnosis is made depending on the symptoms and a specific criterion-presentation with two or more of the symptoms associated with the disease within the last half a year.
- The case is proved positive if the symptoms cannot be related with other diseases.
- Brain imaging and scanning may play a big role in its detection especially in the early stages of its development.
The occurrence of schizophrenia can be explained using three approaches: biological, socio cultural views and psychological. The biological explanation presumes that changes in the activity and the physiology of the brain are a clear representation of the behavior. This made the scientists to find a link between the size of the structural features of the brain and schizophrenia. After much research, they concluded that the brain neurotransmitters and to some extent the hormonal activity were the causative factors for schizophrenia. The biological explanation is also informed by the role played by genetic factors. Whereas not all characteristics are passed down the generation, a considerably high linkage was found between the genes and development of the disease. Research has shown that there is higher risk of developing schizophrenia for identical as compared to non identical twins. The linkage is also expounded by the relationship witnessed between the biological relatives of a sufferer.
The biological sufferers were found to have an increased risk which was directly proportional to the genetic load shared. Genetic factors that encourage the release of dopamine which accumulates to high levels that leads thought and attention related problems. Presences of large ventricles also lead to growth limitations of the brain thus leading to injuries that are mainly blamed for schizophrenia. Early exposures to infectious agents such as viruses which resort to dormancy only to be reactivated at adolescent stage are also blamed for this condition. Research has shown that there care high numbers of cases for children born in December of a year that had experienced massive numbers of adult viral cases.
Psychological explanations encompass the psychodynamic and cognitive factors. Socio cultural and behavioral factors also fall under this category. Although the explanation has little influence in the overall, understanding, it’s still utilized by many researchers. The psychological perspective implies that cognitive deficits and profound
disturbance in thoughts are to blame for the cognitive biases and misconceptions associated with sufferers. On the other hand, behavioral explanations interprets the condition as a result of faulty learning where the child received little reinforcement thus making him/her dwell much on irrelevancies. The psychodynamic approach presupposes that the confusion that occurs when the child is trying to regain its ego control is responsible for the condition (Ashley, 2009).
Social cultural view is supported by the role played by the social labeling and life events. A loss in the family, contradictory messages to a child and negative emotional climates may result in schizophrenia. Social groups that dictate norms predispose members to schizophrenia particularly when the members are dismissed from the unit (Ashley, 2009).
Various methods are in use for the treatment of schizophrenia. Anti psychotics, antidepressants, psychotherapy, glycine supplements, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants are the most commonly used treatment options (Epigee, 2009). O’Hallaren and Lemere invented the use of diphosphopyridine nucleotide (DPN) in treatment of the symptoms. Supportive therapy, rehabilitation and family support and support are forms of psychosocial treatment used in schizophrenia.
The immunoassay methods that encompass a combination of exogenous administered drugs and endogenous substances either passively or actively immunized. The administration of therapeutic cells which produce dopamine precursors is another treatment option.
Most effective treatment
The most effective medication is clozapine which sells by the brand name Clozaril. It is antipsychotic. It’s very effective because it is used as the last resort for treatment of resistant forms of schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a health condition that causes a lot of suffering to millions of Americans. The symptoms associated with the disease are categorized in three groups: negative, positive and cognitive symptoms. The diagnosis of schizophrenia involves the ruling out of other outcomes that have the same clinical manifestations. The occurrence of schizophrenia can be explained using three approaches: biological, socio cultural views and psychological. Various methods are in use for the treatment of schizophrenia. Antipsychotics, antidepressants, psychotherapy, glycine supplements, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants are the most commonly used treatment options (Epigee, 2009). Proper and effective combination of treatment options is important in management of the condition
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Regier, D.A, Narrow, W.E., Rae, D.S., Manderscheid, R.W., Locke, B.Z.&Goodwin, F.K. (1993). The de facto US mental and addictive disorders service system. Epidemiologic catchment area prospective 1-year prevalence rates of disorders and services. Archives of General Psychiatry, 50(2), 85-94.
Epigee. (2009). Schizophrenia Treatment. Web.