According to schizophrenia.com schizophrenia is a complex, debilitating mental disorder that 1-2% of the world population experience. It is a disorder of the brain that affects how people think, feel, and perceive. The purpose of this paper is to explore schizophrenia, in particular its signs, symptoms, etiology and pathophysiology, and then examine drug treatment and their mechanism of action. This will be followed by the prognosis for people with schizophrenia.
Signs and Symptoms
Early signs of schizophrenia include personality changes that involve abnormal emotional responses, mood disturbance, or depression, as well as cognitive changes (Schizophrenia Society of Canada, 2012). Symptoms of schizophrenia can be classified as positive symptoms, or negative symptoms (McCance, 2010).
According to McCance, positive symptoms are those that represent an excessive or distorted version of normal functions and may include delusions, hallucinations, and overall unusual behavior (2010). Hallucinations can be described as perceiving something that is not actually there. In people with schizophrenia, auditory hallucinations are the most common (McCance, 2010). Delusions are beliefs that are false and resistant to reason and fact. The most common type of delusions in people with schizophrenia are grandiose and persecutory delusion (Lepage, Bodnar, and Bowie, 2014).
Negative symptoms of schizophrenia can be described as deficits of healthy, normal behavior. The negative symptoms that are considered diagnostic of schizophrenia are affective flattening (a lack of emotional response), poverty of content/speech, and the loss of motivation or interests (McCance, 2010).
Etiology and Pathophysiology
The precise cause or causes of schizophrenia have not yet been determined, however, researchers claim that the development of schizophrenia involves genetic and prenatal/perinatal factors (Sayin, Yuksel, Konac, Yilmaz, Dogan, Tonge, Sahiner, Menevse, 2013).
Although some people with schizophrenia have no family history of the disorder, research has shown that there is a strong genetic predisposition for developing schizophrenia (Sayin et al, 2013). The risk of developing schizophrenia if a first degree family member has it is 10%, and if both parents have schizophrenia, the risk of their child developing schizophrenia is between 40-65% (University of Maryland Medical Center, 2014). Concordance for schizophrenia is about 12% for dizygotic twins and 30-50% for monozygotic twins (McCance, 2010).
Prenatal and Perinatal Factors
There are environmental factors, that when exposed prenatally, could increase the child’s risk of later developing schizophrenia (Sayin et al, 2013). Women who have poor nutrition or certain viral infections during pregnancy may have an increased risk of giving birth to children who later develop schizophrenia (Brown, Derkits, 2010). Perinatal complications such as neonatal hypoxia may be linked to...