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Hannah Boarman

Mrs. Carigan


February 3, 2017

General info

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that affects the way a person thinks, acts and feels.
People with schizophrenia most often have trouble functioning in society, at work, school, and in
relationships.It is a lifelong disease that cannot be completely cured bug managed with proper
medications and treatments.


There are some very clear signs and symptoms that will start appearing in a person with
schizophrenia. There symptoms usually start showing around the ages of 15-30 and can continue
until properly treated. Many of the most common signs leading to schizophrenia could include
anything from hearing or seeing something that is not there, a constant feeling of being watched,
a drastic change in personality and appearance, to increased anger and emotions or withdrawal of
social situations. Schizophrenic symptoms can be classified into three categorie. Positive,
negative and cognitive. Positive symptoms are psychotic behaviors that may not usually be seen
in healthy people. This could include hallucinations, delusions, or thought and movement
disorders. Then there's negative symptoms that are disruptions to normal emotions and
behaviors. Negative symptoms could include reduced expression vis facial emotion, reduced
feelings of everyday pleasures, and difficulty beginning or even sustaining activities. The last
category is cognitive symptoms. Cognitive symptoms are the signs that show a drastic change in
a person's thinking or memory. This includes aspects like the inability to understand information
and how to use it immediately after learning it to make decisions.


Although there is no definite answer to what causes schizophrenia, many scientist and
doctors have come up with multiple theories. Some scientist believe that schizophrenia is
hereditary and caused by genes. While schizophrenia occurs in 1% of the general population,
having a history of family psychosis greatly increases the risk. Schizophrenia occurs at roughly
10% of people who have a first-degree relative with the disorder, such as a parent or sibling. The
highest risk occurs when an identical twin is diagnosed with schizophrenia. The unaffected twin
has a roughly 50% chance of developing the disorder(NAMI). Now, many different genes could
lead to the increased risk of the disorder but no single gene can cause the disorder itself. If it is
common in family members it is something to be aware of but it is not definite that it will always
be passed on. Other scientist believe the schizophrenia can be triggered environmentally. It is
possible that a child who is exposed to viral infections and immune disorders are at higher risk to
develop schizophrenia later on in life. This could include anything such as the flu or
malnutrition. More commonly, scientist believe the reason the body develops schizophrenia is
due to an imbalance of brain chemicals. Specifically the chemicals dopamine, glutamate, and
serotonin. Neurotransmitters are what allow the nerve cells in the brain the send messages to
other nerves and with an imbalance of these chemicals, it could drastically affect the way a
person's brain reacts causing disorders such as schizophrenia.


Doctors have found it quite difficult to diagnose schizophrenia for multiple reasons.
Since there is no single physical test that can be taken to diagnose schizophrenia, its symptoms
can often be misinterpreted. Sometimes the use of drugs such as methamphetamines and LSD
can cause schizophrenia-like symptoms. Also it can be primarily difficult due to many people
who are diagnosed do not believe that the actually have the disorder. To properly diagnose a
person with schizophrenia a doctor must evaluate their symptoms over an extensive period of
time. First they must rule out the possibility of other possible medical conditions such as a brain
tumor, bipolar disorder, or any other psychiatric illnesses. Then a person has to show signs of
multiple symptoms talked about above.


Once a person is properly diagnosed, there are many steps and treatments that can be
taken to manage the disorder. The most common treatment for schizophrenics is medication. The
goal of antipsychotic medication is to manage common symptoms of schizophrenia at the lowest
dose possible. Medications are not the same for every person diagnosed with schizophrenia. It
takes a physiatrist many weeks to figure out the proper drugs, doses, and combinations that
would be right for one patient. Someone who is resistant to taking medicated pills may have to
get injections to manage their symptoms. Along with medicated treatments, regular
psychological therapy is needed. Therapy could include anything from individual sit downs with
a counselor to manage normal thought patterns and learning how to cope with stress or the signs
of a relapse, to electroconvulsive therapy that is usually used when a schizophrenic also
develops depression. There are many diffeernt progrmas tha a schizophrenic can enter
themselves in for help. Some others include social skills training, family therapy, or even
vocational rehabilitation. Although there is not one set cure for schizophrenia it is completely
possible to lead a normal life with this disorder with the help of others.

Myths & Facts

There are many misinterpreted ideas about schizophrenia, including how people think that
schizophrenia and multi personality disorder are the same thing. It is true that schizophrenia and
multiple personalities do stem from each other however they are not necessarily the same. One
poll found that 64% of Americans believe the condition involves a split personality, which
means someone acts like they're two separate people (Schizophrenia myths and facts). A person
with schizophrenia does not have more than one personality they just have a lost touch with
reality. Along with this comes the idea that people with this disorder are crazed killers, as
portrayed on tv shows and movies. Although people with schizophrenia have an unpredictable
behavior, most aren't violent especially if they are getting treated. In circumstances where a
violent act is committed by a schizophrenic it is usually hand in hand with other conditions sucks
as childhood conduct problems or substance abuse. It is common for a schizophrenic person to
lead a perfectly normal life if treated properly.

On the other hand, there are many interesting facts that list people do not know about
schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a disease commonly beginning in ages 15-25. It is known that
men typically developed the symptoms and are diagnosed in early adulthood around the 15-25
years of age mark. However women typically do not start showing signs until later. Incidents
show most commonly not until after the age of 30. It is rare that a person will develop
schizophrenia under the age of 10 and over the age of 40, however
it is not impossible. The diagram to the side shows the general age
of onset for schizophrenia.

Overall, the number of diagnoses of schizophrenia in a year is

every 1 in 4,000 people. Meaning that roughly 1.5 billion people
have yet or are in the process of being diagnosed this year. In the
United States alone about 100,000 people will be diagnosed. With
all of these diagnoses the average cost for families and societies
dealing with schizophrenic patients is skyrocketing. The overall
U.S. 2002 cost of schizophrenia was estimated to be $62.7 billion,
with $22.7 billion excess direct healthcare cost ($7.0 billion
outpatient, $5.0 billion drugs, $2.8 billion inpatient, $8.0 billion long-term care) (Schizophrenia
myths and facts).

National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 05 Feb.


Mayo Clinic Staff Print. "Schizophrenia." Treatment - Schizophrenia - Mayo Clinic. N.p., 11

Oct. 2016. Web. 05 Feb. 2017.

"NAMI." NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | What is Schizophrenia? N.p., n.d. Web.

05 Feb. 2017.

"Schizophrenia." Mental Health America. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2017.

"Schizophrenia Facts and Statistics." Schizophrenia Facts and Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb.


"Schizophrenia Myths and Facts." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2017.