Schizophrenia: A Private World Essay

1007 words - 5 pages

What exactly is schizophrenia? “Schizo,” meaning split and “phrenia,” meaning mind, most people think it is just that. On the contrary, it is not a splitting of the mind, or personality, but rather a splitting from reality. This split is characterized by all sorts of delusions, hallucinations and inappropriate behaviors. Someone living with schizophrenia essentially lives in their very own private world. The term schizophrenia, however, does not refer to just one disorder but actually multiple disorders that are similar and different in their own ways. Schizophrenia is very complex and makes it hard to discern from what is and isn’t real.
To begin, one has to understand schizophrenia. ...view middle of the document...

This is known as the “flat effect” and is essentially a removal of normal emotional function. Schizophrenics may also exhibit a state of motionlessness called “catatonia.” This prevents someone’s ability to move normally. Catatonia has two spectrums, however, which can be either a positive or negative. The negative end of the extreme is not being able to move, sometimes for hours or even days, or respond to any sort of stimuli.
More importantly, to understand schizophrenia, one needs to understand the causes of schizophrenia. Researchers have examined people with schizophrenia after death and found that almost all had a surplus of dopamine receptors in the brain. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter chemical released in the brain, controls nearly everything in your life including behavior, attention, cognition, mood, and movement. So, with an excess of these receptors, researchers believe that it amplifies brain signals creating positive symptoms. To test and prove this, researchers used a medication that suppresses dopamine in the body and found that reduced these positive symptoms.
In addition, one of the most controversial causes is thought to be caused prenatally. Though it is a combination of genetics, as in some people are just predisposed to have schizophrenia, studies found that people whose mothers had suffered from stress, famine, or sickness while pregnant with them are nearly twice as likely to develop schizophrenia. Even more, depression in mothers, combined with genetic risk, were nine times more likely to birth a child that would later develop schizophrenia. Researchers believe that stress or infection (most commonly hypoxia or the flu) is the main cause and directly effects the growing fetus’ brain. These act on the growing brain by subtly altering the placement of neurons, thus effecting the circuitry and number of synapsis in the brain. This would later create abnormal brain activity, affecting things like critical thinking, planning, and problem solving.
In any case, schizophrenia affects many people. Not only are the people living with schizophrenia affected, but friends and family too. Nearly 1 in 100 people this year will...

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