Change In View: Schizophrenia Moves From Psychology To Biology

1184 words - 5 pages

Change in View: Schizophrenia Moves From Psychology to Biology

Early on in the research regarding the disease schizophrenia, it was thought by doctors to be an illness of a psychological nature, not one relating to the brain. However, in the context of "Neurobiology and Behavior," and in recent light of new information about the disease, I will be examining it as a product of the brain, one that most now believe originates in early childhood. Not only that, but the evidence for it being a biological function of the brain also lies in genetics, with some startling statistics on the signs of the disease.

What is Schizophrenia?
In order to understand the entire paper, it is extremely necessary to cover the basic facts as to what schizophrenia is in patients. Schizophrenia, now seen as an illness of the brain, has been around as early as recorded history. For the longest time, however, people were seen as crazy and either tried as witches or condemned by society as lunatics. It was not until the rise of psychology that the disease was seen as a mental illness. Today, even more importantly, is the understanding that schizophrenia is a fairly common disease and drug treatments have been developed to help patients with symptoms. Approximately 1-1.5% of the population are diagnosed with it sometime throughout there lives, but I will get to general ages and percentages later on in general information. The disease itself has several key characteristics for diagnosis. Here is a short list of some of the symptoms:

1. Grossly abnormal behavior in terms of thought

2. Delusions

3. Hallucinations

Essentially, to translate the above statements, 1: The thoughts of someone with schizophrenia are not clear or logical any longer. Outward symptoms include disconnected or incomprehensible language. This leaves people with schizophrenia unable to socially participate in conversations and can make it hard for them to stay close to family and friends. 2: Delusions frequently occur in people with schizophrenia and cause individuals to often feel like they are being conspired against. Finally, 3: Hallucinations tend to come in the form of voices, but can also be felt as well as heard. The voices tend to tell the victims of the disease what they must do. There can also be multiple voices carrying on conversations.

Time of Affliction
Like most illnesses, schizophrenia has a very definite time window that it tends to emerge. This is a direct quote from the schizophrenia homepage, reference 1, "Three-quarters of persons with schizophrenia develop the disease between 16 and 25 years of age. -- Onset is uncommon after age 30, and rare after age 40." As far as statistics go, 1-1.5% of the general population, as stated above, are susceptible. If one parent of a child has schizophrenia, the percent likelihood rises to 13%. If both parents have schizophrenia, the chance of an offspring having the illness is 35%.

Moving Forward
Although this short...

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