is a long-term mental health illness that causes anumber of psychological behaviors, which affect how an individualthinks, feels or acts. Individuals with the disorder may experiencehallucinations, delusions, muddled thoughts, and changes in behavior.Hallucinations include hearing voices or seeing things that do notexist. Delusions, on the other hand, incorporate things based onreality but contradict evidence. Delusions will thus include symptomssuch as a belief that someone is reading their mind, controllingtheir thoughts, or stalking them in order to harm them. Muddledthoughts are as aresult of both the hallucinations and delusions.These alterations in behavior have prompted health professionals toterm the disorder as a psychotic illness since a person is unable todistinguish their thoughts and ideas from evident reality (NIMH,n.d.).
is experienced in about 1 in a 100 people, with themajority of them proceeding to live normal lives. The disorder iscommonly diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 15 and 35 withan equal gender representation (Levine & Levine, 2009). Thereexist no definite medical tests to diagnose schizophrenia. However, aqualified health professional such as a psychiatrist can diagnose anindividual after a careful assessment. Consequently, isassociated with a number of symptoms.These symptoms may vary from oneindividual to another and may develop over considerable periods oftime, sometimes months or even over years. The symptoms areclassified under three categories namely, negative, positive andcognitive symptoms (Priest & Steinert, 2013).
Positivesymptoms are psychotic behaviors that are not observed in healthypeople (Levine & Levine, 2009). These symptoms can be severe oreven concealed depending on whether the individual is receivingtreatment or not. Hallucinations and delusions are examples ofpositive symptoms. Thoughts disorders and movement disorders areother examples. Negative symptoms are alterations to normal emotionsand behaviors and are often mistaken for depression or otherconditions (NIMH, n.d.). Individuals may be assumed lazy or unwillingto help themselves. Cognitive symptoms, on the other hand, can onlybe detected after an assessment of the patient has been done.Symptoms include trouble focusing or paying attention, poor executivefunctioning, and difficulties in utilizing working memory. Suchsymptoms present a dilemma since the individual experiencesdifficulties in leading a normal life or earn a living.
The cause of this mental disorder is yet to be established.Researchers have suggested that physical, environment, genetic, andpsychological factors contribute to the likelihood of an individualdeveloping schizophrenia (Sawa, 2009). Consequently, a number oftheories have been advanced to explain its causes. These theoriesinclude biology (brain chemistry imbalance and genetics), viralinfections, and immune disorders. This paper, however, will focus onthe genetic theory, an approach under the biological explanation ofthe causes of schizophrenia, and the psychological explanations ofthe causes of .
The Genetic Theory asserts that the disorder is transmitted from theparents to the children through genes. The evidence that supportsthis theory is derived from a number of studies related to thefamily, twins, and adoption (Townsend, 2015). Family studiesacknowledge that schizophrenia runs in families. When one parent isschizophrenic, the likelihood of their child developing the disorderis one in five, whereas if both parents are schizophrenic, thislikelihood increases to one in three (Townsend, 2015). Thesestatistics are a great increase when compared to the generalincidence of one in a hundred mentioned earlier. In other studiesconducted with respect to the family have asserted that thelikelihood of first degree relatives developing schizophrenia isabout eighteen times more when compared to that of the generalpopulation. Twin studies, on the other hand, assert that MZ twins aremore likely to develop the disorder as compared to DZ twins.Gottesman and Shields, researchers in genetic studies, analyzedrecords of 57 schizophrenic twins and concluded that 42% of MZ twinswere more likely to be schizophrenic if their twin had schizophreniaas compared to the 9% observed in DZ twins (Levine & Levine,2009). These studies suggest a significant hereditable aspectconcerning schizophrenia despite the similar environment factor,which proves difficult to overlook. Adoption studies have provided asensible argument attempting to show the relationship betweenheredity and the disorder since they offer a complete separation ofgenetic and environmental factors.
Psychologicalexplanations of schizophrenia rely on behavioral, psychodynamic, andcognitive explanations. Behavioral explanations are supported byconditioning and observational learning (Priest & Steinert,2013). For example, an individual may exhibit schizophrenic behaviorif the behavior is reinforced more than healthy behavior.Observational learning may be employed when individual observesanother schizophrenic display certain behavior and model thebehavior. Psychodynamic explanations, on the other hand, are based onFreud’s theory of the personality, which divides the psyche intothree parts, namely the Id, ego, and superego (Sawa, 2009). Theresultant approaches assert that the ego may find difficulty indistinguishing between the self and the external world. This mayresult in an individual developing schizophrenia. An individual mayalso regress into primary narcissism and thus without an ego, theindividual will find it difficult to distinguish between reality andfiction. Cognitive explanations suggest that the alterations in thethought processes, perception, attention, which are major symptoms ofschizophrenia, also cause schizophrenia (Beck, 2009).
Similaritiesand Differences of Biological and Psychological Explanations of
The two approaches present tangible reasons for the psychosis andshow the role the family plays in the development of schizophrenia(Sawa, 2009 Priest & Steinert, 2013). The family is thusexplored extensively to determine the origin of the disorder.Conversely, the biological approaches focus on bodily factors and donot acknowledge the role played by the environment in the developmentof schizophrenia. The psychological explanations, however, assertsthe role the environment and natural causes and links these to thefamily’s influence and defective bodily functions. Scientifically,the biological theories are more dependable since they evaluatevarious scientific principles in demonstrating the development ofschizophrenia. The psychological explanations which rely on Freud’stheory contain insufficient scientific evidence. These theories have,however, contributed in the development of various treatmentprocedures, which have had varied results that have furthercontributed to the evaluation of the theories with respect to theirauthenticity.
Methods of Treatment
Currently, there is no cure for schizophrenia. Due to the uncertaintysurrounding the cause of schizophrenia, treatment of the disorderfocuses on subduing and eliminating the symptoms of the disease(Levine & Levine, 2009). The severity and intensity of thesymptoms associated with the disorder are a source of great distressto an individual diagnosed with the disease. This results in theindividual leading a difficult life since the symptoms limits theextent to which the individual can function normally in society.Individuals also respond differently to various treatment proceduresthat are in use today. Consequently, some individuals have been ableto be productive and carry on their normal activities after theapplication of a treatment procedure. A considerable number ofschizophrenics, however, have been subjects of various treatmentprocedures in the course of their lives. Types of treatment thusinvolve combinations of various antipsychotic medications,hospitalized treatment, therapy, residential treatment, and in otherinstances, vocational training, or psychosocial treatments. Thetreatment procedure used on an individual is specially tailored totheir needs and often involves a combination of therapy andmedication.
Antipsychoticmedication is the major medication used for the treatment ofschizophrenia. The medications alleviate the prominent symptoms ofschizophrenia with time by inhibiting the effect of dopamine on thebrain (Priest & Steinert, 2013). These drugs reduce the anxietyand feelings of aggression within moments of being administeredbesides progressively reducing other symptoms such as hallucinationsand delusional thoughts. The medication is prescribed to anindividual only after a thorough assessment by the healthprofessional. Also significant is the provision that these drugs canbe used with other drugs especially when managing the side effectsthat may arise. Antipsychotic medication can be administered orallyas pills or intravenously. These drugs are, however, limited to theperiods when an individual experiences acute schizophrenic episodesand when they are trying to prevent a relapse.
There are two types of antipsychotics, namely, typical and atypicalantipsychotics. Typical antipsychotics subdue and eliminate thepositive symptoms discussed at the onset such as hallucinations anddelusions. Atypical antipsychotics, on the other hand, function toeliminate both the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia.Both of them are capable of causing side effects with a severity thatdiffers from one individual to another. It is also advised to consultwith the health professional before switching medication (Townsend,2015). Examples of antipsychotics include but are not limited tochlorpromazine (Thorazine), haloperidol (Haldol), fluphenazine(Prolixin), and clozapine (Clozaril).
Psychosocialtreatments or rehabilitation programs are instrumental in therecovery of patients who have already been stabilized usingantipsychotic medication. These treatments are designed to assist thepatient in tackling challenges that arise due to the illness, such asdifficulties in communication, work, and self-care. Patients can thusbe helped to learn and implement coping mechanisms, which are usefulin social activities and work. Such patients are more likely toadhere to their medication plan, which has proved to be a challengein several schizophrenic cases (Priest & Steinert, 2013).
There are several types of psychosocial therapies or treatments suchas cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy,interpersonal therapy, self-help groups, family-focused therapy, andpsychodynamic therapy among others. However, for the purpose of thispaper, cognitive behavior therapy and self-help groups will beconsidered. As already mentioned, therapy is applied in the treatmentof schizophrenia after medication has already been administered.Cognitive behavior therapy is instrumental in assisting the patientto interpret events more realistically (Beck, 2009). The patients arethus taught how to deal with hallucinations and delusions, identifythe triggers, and thus curb any chances of a relapse. When patientslearn normal functioning, problem-solving skills, they can minimizethe stress associated with outbursts. Self-help groups are comprisedof individuals who have made substantial progress regarding recoveryfrom the illness. Through their meetings, individuals are comfortedknowing they are not the only victims of the disorder and thus anyfeelings of isolation they may harbor are done away with.
Inpatientand Residential Treatment
Inpatienttreatment refers to the first instance when a patient is admittedinto hospital after being diagnosed with schizophrenia with symptomsthat considerably impair the patient. Usually, such patients areconsidered a danger to themselves and others. This is a common formost schizophrenic patients who require medication and inpatienttreatment. The health professionals usually lock facilities offeringthis service with patients undergoing very close observation(Townsend, 2015). Neuroleptic medication is used in these instancesto assist the patient to stabilize quickly. Residential treatmentrefers to the time when a patient from inpatient treatment hasstabilized and is thus transferred to a residential location tocontinue their treatment. In this instance, the patient does not needconstant observation as compared to while they were in inpatienttreatment. The conditions are less restrictive and intensive (Priest& Steinert, 2013). In all these treatment instances, the patientsundergo therapy once their conditions stabilize. The therapy regimesused depend on the progress the patient makes during recovery, as isthe case with the use of antipsychotic medication.
ispsychotic disorder responsible for a number of psychologicalbehaviors, which affect how an individual feels, thinks, or acts. Thecause of this mental disorder is not known and as a result, a numberof theories have been proposed to explain the causes ofschizophrenia. Such theories include the biological and psychologicalexplanations of the causes of schizophrenia. Consequently, a numberof treatment procedures have been developed to treat the disorder.These treatments lay emphasis on the elimination of positive,negative, and cognitive symptoms associated with schizophrenia.Therapy is an essential part of treatment and recovery fromschizophrenia. Consequently, it is widely used together with theother forms of treatment.
Beck, A. T. (2009). : Cognitive theory, research, and therapy. New York: Guilford Press.
Levine, J., & Levine, I. S. (2009). for dummies. Hoboken: Wiley.
NIMH. (n.d.). Home > Health & Education > Mental Health Information. Retrieved from National Institute of Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml
Priest, R. G., & Steinert, J. (2013). Insanity: A study of major psychiatric disorders. New York Oxfordshire: Routledge.
Sawa, A. (2009). Genetic models of schizophrenia. Amsterdam Boston: Elsevier.
Townsend, M. C. (2015). Psychiatric mental health nursing: Concepts of care in evidence-based practice. Philadelphia: F a davis.