Dangerous Mind - Psychology
Since I've chosen to major in psychology, I've chosen to do my paper on something that pertains to my major. In this case the mental disorder schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a severly disabilitating disease that has stricken the lives of almost two million people in the United States alone (Keefe 20). Since this disease is so devastating the majority of people that suffer from it either live on the streets or in mental institutions. In fact, forty percent of the beds in American mental hospitals are occupied by patients with schizophrenia (Hamilton 145). According to Hamilton the overall chances of a person to develop the disease is one in a hundred (145). There are three distinct types of schizophrenia that are diagnosed in today's society. These are disorganized, catatonic, and paranoid schizophrenia.
Disorganized schizophrenia can start to show signs in early adolescents. These people portray inappropriate behaviors and emotions. For instance they may laugh at something like a close friend dieing or cry on a funny part of a movie. Disorganized schizophrenics also talk in a nonsensical manner. They make up their own language or just talk backwards. Catatonic schizophrenia is set apart from the others because of the persons with it unique catatonic, or motionless, state. These people spend lomg periods of time weeks, months, and occasionally years motionless or in other words "dead to the world" (Hamilton 120). When they do snaqp out of their catatomic state they are extremly hostile and aggressive. Last is paranoid schizophrenia which is characterized by the false beliefs or delusions the person has. For example the thought that the FBI planted a secret microchip in their brain and is controlling them. Alomg with these specific types of schizophrenia are some symptoms that pertain to all schizophrenics.
Firstoff, all people diagnosed with schizophrenia have perceptual difficulties, that is, they sufer from hallucinations. A hallucination is a false sensory experience, such as seeing things, hearing things, and even feeling things that aren't really there. Hallucinatioms have a compelling sense of reality to the persons who suffer from them. Auditory hallucinationsare by far the most common form of hallucinatiom in schizophrenia. They are so characteristic of the disease that a person with true auditory hallucinations should be assumed to have schizophrenia until proven otherwise (Kagn 485). Thought disorders or delusions are also a symptom found in all schizophrenics. These include incoherent speech, quick shifts of ideas from one thing to a totally unrelared one, and off the wall thoughts and ideas. The delusions that all schizophrenics encounter are false or inane beliefs that are believed by the schizophrenic and noone else. The delisions of schoizophrenics go well beyond thinking that their being watched or something. They often are convinced that someone is controlling them by radio, microchip, hypnosis, and so on. For instance a patient of Torrey, named Josh, believes that the FBI planted a small radio into his skull and is controlling him through it, he even went as far as to cut his own scalp with a knife trying to get it out (44). Schizophrenic persons also have severe disturbances in emotion and behavior. This is the most worriesome symptom to family and friends of the patient. It is, because the person with schizophrenia is incapable of feeling any empathy with anyome including themselves. That menas that they are incapable of putting themselves in other peoples places. The side effects can range anywhere from laughing at a sad situation, to public masterbation, even to self mutilation. What makes schizophrenia so hard to understand and frighteming is the faxt that all these symptoms can show up more in one person and less in another. That is also what makes schizophrenia so hard to diagnose.
The world is in the midst of an explosion of knowledge about the causes of schizophrenia. There has always been theories about the causes, but now as the knowledgeaccumulates the theories will become fewer and fewer. Almost all of thisnew knowledge about the causes is a product of the last ten years, and the next ten years promise to increase our under standing evenfurther.
There are still several theories about the causes of schizophrenia, and they have to do with what we now