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Schizophrenia Essay

1722 words - 7 pages

In the article "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, the main character, whose name is not revealed, shows many different signs of schizophrenia. If the person were alive today, different types of treatments and help could have made her life worth living. Schizophrenia, a disease of the brain, is one of the most debilitating and emotionally devastating illnesses known to mankind. But because it has been misunderstood for so long, it has received relatively little attention and its victims have been undeservingly stigmatized. Schizophrenia is not a split personality or a rare disorder. Like cancer and diabetes, it has a biological basis; bad parenting or personal weakness does not cause it. Schizophrenia is, in fact, a relatively common disease, with an estimated one percent to one and a half percent of the U.S. population being diagnosed with it over the course of their lives. While there is no known cure for this disorder, it is a treatable disease. Most of those afflicted by schizophrenia respond to drug therapy, supportive therapy, hospitalization and many are able to lead fairly productive and fulfilling lives.Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disease. The brain is made up of nerve cells, "neurons" and chemicals, "neurotransmitters." An imbalance of one neurotransmitter, dopamine, is thought to cause the symptoms of schizophrenia. Recent studies suggest that serotonin, another neurotransmitter, may also play a significant role in causing the symptoms of this disorder. "The "dopamine hypothesis" has been the main theory regarding the cause of the symptoms. Researchers believe that many of the symptoms of schizophrenia are a result of excess of dopamine in the brain" (Dopamine 1). "New theories suggest that the neurotransmitter serotonin may also play a role in causing the symptoms of schizophrenia. Some anti-psychotic medications treat symptoms by blocking dopamine and serotonin transmissions. Many patients who have not been helped by "dopamine only" medications have been helped by medications that affect both dopamine and serotonin transmissions, such as Clozaril, Risperdal and Zyprexa" (Serotonin 1). "Approximately one percent of the population develops schizophrenia during their lifetime - more than two million Americans suffer from the illness in a given year" (What is Schizophrenia 1). Although it affects men and women with equal frequency, the disorder often appears earlier in men, usually in the late teens or early twenties, than in women, who are generally affected in the twenties to early thirties. People with schizophrenia often suffer terrifying symptoms such as hearing internal voices not heard by others, or believing that other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. These symptoms may leave them fearful and withdrawn. Their speech and behavior can be so disorganized that they may be incomprehensible or frightening to others. "Schizophrenia is a...

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