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Regaining Touch With Reality: Mental Disorders

2189 words - 9 pages

A man stands outside of a shop on a busy city street and yells at his reflection while waving his limbs about frenetically. People walk by and write him off as a crazy person; they are trying to ignore the man as they hurry along to their offices. Little do they know that this man suffers from the baffling mental disease commonly known as schizophrenia. This chronic brain disorder affects nearly one percent of Americans and causes delusions, hallucinations, thought disorders, movement disorders, and a disruption of normal emotions and behaviors (“Schizophrenia” NIMH). Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, the man is suffering from ravish delusions caused by his disease. A person afflicted with schizophrenia must acquire treatment, if they hope to regain any degree of normalcy in life. Schizophrenics must first obtain diagnosis of the disease from a psychologist and then start the process of treatment either utilizing antipsychotic drugs or psychotherapy.
Before any treatment can begin, a psychologist or psychiatrist must diagnose a patient with schizophrenia. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s publication on schizophrenia, a professional will diagnose someone with schizophrenia based on the type of symptoms a patient possesses and how long they have occurred. First, a doctor must meet with the patient to observe his symptoms and obtain a background history from the patient including a medical history. The practitioner will then perform a mental health screening to explore the symptoms that ail the patient and to find whether any other psychological disorders are present (Dryden-Edwards). Since some disorders carry some of the same symptoms as schizophrenia they are search for including schizoaffective disorder, depressive disorder4, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, substance-abuse problems3, and personality disorders. Next a physical examination occurs to determine the patient’s overall health. After that, laboratory tests are performed to examine any chemical imbalances the patient may have to determine the best course of treatment (Dryden-Edwards). The Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is the book that doctors use when diagnosing all mental disorders, including schizophrenia. After ruling out any other mental disorders, the doctor must determine that the patient has suffered from two of the following six symptoms over a period of six months: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, extremely disorganized behavior, catatonic behavior, and negative symptoms (The Mayo Clinic Staff). Hallucinations are the experiences of hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, or feeling of something that does not actually exist (“Schizophrenia”). Delusions are bizarre fixed or false beliefs that a patient refuses to give up. These can include paranoid delusions that a schizophrenic may have about someone coming after them...

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