Schizophrenia Speech The word “Schizophrenia” first came about in 1911 when a Swiss psychiatrist named Eugen Bleuler

, first coined the term. The word itself comes from two Greek words meaning, “split” and “mind”. What he meant when he diagnosed someone with schizophrenia was that the had a splitting in their thinking processes. The first person to actually describe what we now know as schizophrenia was Emil Kraeplin and he called it “dementia praecox”. He described it as similar to manic-depressive psychosis but noted that people with MDP lacked the “deterioration of intellectual ability”. Although we consider his description not entirely correct, he still played an important role in modern psychiatry. Now a day we believe that people with schizophrenia suffer from psychotic symptoms. Which means they the experience what, the book, The New Psychiatry described as “a break with reality”. Though my speech is primarily on schizophrenia, to even begin to understand what this crippling disorder is, you have to understand how nerve impulses work. I’ll cover this in my first section “The Biology of the Brain”, later I will be discussing “Symptoms”, and “Types of Schizophrenia”. By biology of the brain I mean the way that nerve impulses travel through the brain and the rest of your body. A neuron is a nerve cell and it looks like a branch of a tree, it has a cell membrane around it that separates it from the other nerve cells. On one side of a neuron there are short twig like extensions called dendrites and on the other end are axons, which look like dendrites but are longer. The dendrite of a neuron receives the incoming information from other neurons and the axons send out the information to other neurons. When a neuron receives a message it is sent down through the axon to the axon terminals, which are located near the dendrites of another neuron. Neurons never come in contact with each other because there is a gap between the axon terminal and dendrite of another that is called the synapse. So how do nerve impulses travel from one cell to another? Well it’s quite simple actually; the nerve impulse crosses that synapse after chemicals called neurotransmitters are released. When the impulse reaches a dendrite of another cell a binding occurs which triggers either synaptic excitation where more nerve impulses are created or synaptic inhibition, which is when the creation of more nerve impulses is terminated. According to the fourth edition of Understanding Abnormal Behavior “An imbalance of certain neurotransmitters in the brain is believed to be implicated in mental disorders.” So what does that mean about schizophrenia? Well one of the believed causes of schizophrenia is the excess or over sensitivity of dopamine receptors. As I stated before schizophrenics suffer from psychotic symptoms. There are three main types of psychotic symptoms: hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorders. Hallucinations are “a sensory experience of something that does not exist outside the mind” meaning that the person is hearing, seeing, smelling, or feeling something that is not there. The most common type of hallucinations is an auditory hallucinations. The things the individual hears are usually criticizing them, commenting on what they are doing or telling them to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do. Delusions are false ideas that no amount of reality can change. A common delusion is one in which the

individual has the paranoid idea that someone is out to get them. Thought disorders are a severe disruption of the normal thinking process, which leaves an individual unable to coherently communicate. The individual often complains of not being able to make sense of his or her own thoughts. Symptoms are also categorized as either positive or negative. The name “positive” is sometimes misleading causing people to believe that these symptoms are good. On the contrary positive symptoms show a presence of abnormal behavior. Hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorders are all examples of positive symptoms. Negative symptoms are a lack of normal behavior, such as apathy or inappropriate reaction or behavior. Positive symptoms are usually the first thing seen in schizophrenics the negative develop as the disorder progresses. After the release of the DSM-III-R and the DSM-IV people who have experienced a psychotic episode lasts less then six months are now diagnosed with either brief psychotic disorder or schizophreniform disorder. Before they would most likely have been diagnosed with residual schizophrenia (discussed in next section) but not after the American Psychiatric Association released the statement that “there is consistent evidence that people with symptoms similar to those of schizophrenia of less than six months’ duration have a better outcome than those with a more prolonged disturbance.” The types of schizophrenia differ with the presence of different symptoms. Paranoid schizophrenia being the most common it is characterized by delusions and frequent auditory hallucinations. No other symptoms arise and the individual has a distorted view of the actions and behaviors of others. Disorganized schizophrenia is characterized with “severe disintegration and regressive behavior” beginning at an early age. Basically meaning that the individual is getting worse and presents a downhill progression. Some symptoms present in disorganized schizophrenia are disorganized speech and flat or inappropriate affect. Another form of is catatonic type, which is the rarest form of schizophrenia. The New Psychiatry characterizes it as a “disturbance in motor activityeither extreme excitement or immobility”. Individuals might adopt a strange posture or movements. There are two type of catatonic schizophrenia: excited and withdrawn. Excited type is when the individual is hyperactive or agitated, violence is also sometimes present. Withdrawn type is when the individual is extremely unresponsive when it comes to moving or doing something. Peopling suffering sometimes go without talking or changing position for long periods of time. In extreme cases individuals may not be able to eat or control their bladder. Individuals are diagnosed with undifferentiated type when the persons symptoms are obviously that of schizophrenia but are either mixed or do not fit into any other type. People aren’t usually diagnosed with residual type schizophrenia because it means the person has had a schizophrenic episode but aren’t experiencing any symptoms at the present time. The individual may show signs of another type o schizophrenia but aren’t strong or prominent. These cases are usually diagnosed as brief psychotic disorder or schizopherniform disorder. In conclusion schizophrenia is a vast abyss of the unknown. For how much we know about schizophrenia there is quadruple that we don’t. According to Emedicinehealth.com in 2006 more then 2-million people in the US suffered from schizophrenia and 100,000-200,000 were/are newly diagnosed each year. Personally I find it appalling that more isn’t being done about this. We barely know enough to help people cope with the symptoms so it goes without saying that a cure is far from insight.