Schizophrenia: Psychosis and Occupational Functioning Deteriorates

I have always found Schizophrenia very fascinating subject. Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder in which personal, social, and occupational functioning deteriorates as a result of strange perceptions, unusual emotions, and motor abnormalities (Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology, sixth edition). People with schizophrenia feel like they are not in control of their own bodies. They actually do lose control of themselves. Their minds start thinking horrible thing and they lose contact with reality. Many are not able to continue to live their everyday lives and have to be moved into institution until they can find the right medication to treat them effectively. I find it extremely interesting because no matter how much we know about the brain, it still can surprise us. I read in a few different articles that if you do a “cats” scan on a person with schizophrenia and one without you can tell a significant difference. People with Schizophrenia clam they hear, see, and some even feel things that no one else can; things that aren’t there. They usually have very disturbing thoughts and ideas. Many want to hurt themselves and other that are close to them.

During my research I found that most if not all have tried to commit suicide, at least once in their life time. After extinctive research they now believe that schizophrenia is a genetic disorder and the environment around them plays a big part in to also. Although I read that the environment played a part in this disease nowhere could I find what type of environment would make this disease come out. With the research I have been I don’t see much of the same environment in any of those cases. I did read somewhere, however, and I can’t find where I read it at, but a lot of schizophrenic people live in poverty. Not all do, from what I’ve read they can live anywhere and be fine as long as they are taking their medication correctly. Schizophrenia is a disease that typically begins in early adulthood; between the ages of 15 and 25. Men tend to get develop schizophrenia slightly earlier than women; whereas most males become ill between 16 and 25 years old, most females develop symptoms several years later, and the incidence in women is noticeably higher in women after age 30. The average age of onset is 18 in men and 25 in women.

Schizophrenia onset is quite rare for people under 10 years of age, or over 40 years of age ( I find these facts shocking. Before researching this subject I always thought that you were born with schizophrenia and although you maybe be born with it, it’s not and may never fully develop into the disease. According to as many as 51 million people worldwide suffer from schizophrenia about 2.2 million people in US. That’s a lot of people if you think about it, they have to have the genetic disorder and the environment fact and there are 2.2 million people in just the US that have this problem? I think that if we understood more about the environment factor you might be able to lower those numbers. I mean if you have this genetic disorder and can stop it from “controlling” you even before you have to take medication, wouldn’t you want to stop it? I know I would be trying to make sure I never had to be controlled by a disease or its medication if that choice was given to me. I would try to do everything in my power to stop it from taking over. Schizophrenia is a serious disorder of the mind and brain but it is also highly treatable. Although there is no cure (as of 2007) for schizophrenia, the treatment success rate with antipsychotic medications and psycho-social therapies can be high ( If diagnosed with schizophrenia you should go through psychotherapy. Psychotherapy will help you make and reach goals, help you stay on their medication, and learn social skills needed for the outside world.

You should also take lots of medication which would be a combination of anti-psychotic, antidepressant, and an anti-anxiety pill. I think that the medications are fairly self-explanatory but they treat them for psychosis, depression, and anxiety. Last night I was watching abc’s 20/20 and they were doing a documentary of a seven year old little girl, Danny, who had Schizophrenia. Her parents said they noticed something even when she was 5 months old. They had taken a home movie of her staring at the ceiling and her eyes appeared to be following something on the ceiling. She claims she has hundreds of “friends” she can see, feel, and hear that no one else can. Her parents started asking her lots of questions about these “friends” and try to act like they are real. They had said that they act as though they are real because it helps their little girl. The parents said that since they had started doing this, they felt that they had a better perspective and control of the situation. They as so said it made them feel closer to her and have more of an idea of what’s going on. As I’m watching this I trend to wonder if the parents are actually the ones encouraging this behavior more than helping her. I saw the mother a few times when the interviewer would ask Danny about things that her mom would kind of smirk at her before she even said anything. She claims that she hates her brother and want him dead, but I am view this as more of she’s jealous of her brother (as I was when I was young), maybe because he’s getting the attention that she wants from her parents. The imaginary friends are people she makes up because I think that she’s getting the attention that she wants from her parents that way. This is just my speculations but she doesn’t seem like what I would label as a child with schizophrenia.

I think that she does need some psychological help but I don’t think I would have diagnosed her with schizophrenia based on what I saw on 20/20. On that same show they had another little girl, Rebecca age 9, who was friends with Danny. She had tried to kill herself a number of times. She claims she has an older man that follows her everywhere she goes. At times she thinks of him as her friend but other times she thinks of him as scary man. She said that one time the man had put a gun to her head. She also said that she would like everyone else in the whole world to go away so she could have the whole world to herself. Her mother sounded as though she was terrified of her and said she thought Rebecca might try to kill her someday. They didn’t show to much more on Rebecca but I believe that she was someone I would diagnose with schizophrenic. I say that because her hallucinations are more morbid and scary, unlike Danny’s most of hers were all about her and even though she had this hatred for her brother. Danny stuck me as more of a cry for attention and it was working because her parents catered to her every need and want.

There are a few videos on these two little girls on you tube if you are interested. This is the video that I watched on TV, you can view online also if you are interested:

I couldn’t imagine living with this disease myself but your own child having it, they couldn’t even really have a good childhood. Their lives are being controlled by their sick brains and to give your child medicine that is designed for adults that would be scary. Since it’s not very common for children to have it they haven’t don’t as many studies on it

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