Schizophrenia

What is it really?

Definition

Schizophrenia is a long-term mental disorder involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behaviour. This leads to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion.

Misconceptions

Split personality - It is commonly thought people with schizophrenia have a split personality, acting perfectly normally one minute and irrationally or bizarrely the next – this is not true.


Violent behaviour - Some people mistakenly equate schizophrenia with violent behaviour, but people with the condition are rarely dangerous. People with a mental illness are actually more likely to be a victim of violence.


People with mental disorders cannot work - 1 in 4 people people will experience a mental health problem in any given year, this means that we will probably all work with someone experiencing a mental health problem at some point in our lives.

Symptoms

Positive Symptoms

A positive symptom is one where a patient gains something new that becomes their symptom. e.g. we gain delusions as a positive symptom of schizophrenia.


  • Delusions
  • Delusions of Grandeur
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganised thinking/speech
  • Grossly disorganised behaviour

Negative Symptoms

A negative symptom, on the other hand, is one where a patient loses something and that loss is their symptom e.g. we lose our energy


  • Affective Flattening
  • Alogia (Lack of Speech)
  • Abolition (Lack of Energy)
  • Anhedonia (Lack of Pleasure)
  • Social Withdrawal

Famous People that have Schizophrenia

Explanations

Biological Explanation

  • An increase in dopamine receptors is suggested to be the cause of schizophrenia

  • Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that has a very complex role in a range of cognitive processes, which is why there are so many symptoms of schizophrenia

  • This increase in the number of receptors in hour brain leads to an increased sensitivity of dopamine in our brain (oversensitivity)

  • The mesolimbic pathway is a dopamine pathway in our brain, an increase of dopamine activity in the mesolimbic pathway is associated with the positive symptoms of schizophrenia

  • The mesocortical pathway is a dopamine pathway in our brain, abnormal dopamine activity in the mesocortical pathway is associated with the negative symptoms of schizophrenia

Social Explanation


  • This suggests that those from lower social classes are more at risk of developing schizophrenia
  • Being in a lower social class increases the stress factors for a person
  • This increased level of stress can trigger the disorder
  • So families of low social class will, according to this, have a higher incidence of schizophrenics