Schizophrenia And The Brain Essay

1865 words - 7 pages

Over the last few decades Schizophrenia has become embedded in mainstream vernacular as any behavior or emotional response that is out of touch with reality. However even with its popularity heightened through movies and headline news stories, schizophrenia is still one of the most enigmatic and least understood disorders of the brain. With current research focused on the role of neurobiology and functioning on a cellular level, investigative analysis has merited new innovations towards its source, however a single organic cause for the disorder still eludes scientists. Although the foundation of the affliction is still unknown, its effects are well documented and over the next few pages will show the changes in the brain as the disease develops, and how those alterations impact the rest of the body and alter various other functions throughout the viscera.
The term Schizophrenia was first coined in 1911 by Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Eugen Bleuler and translates from the original Greek as schizo (split) and phrene (mind), making a literal translation of split-mind, in reference to the disjointed thinking of those with the disease (Johnstone, 1994). Although the term was first used in the early twentieth century, according to scholars a ‘madness’ was described in The Ebers Papyrus, a collection of ancient Egyptian medical papers dating back to 1550 BC, which accurately depicts some of schizophrenia’s symptoms (Johnstone, 1994). With its possible documentation over three millennia ago and its symptoms documented in a myriad of medical journals throughout history, the disorder itself is very rare. Those who are at the highest risk of manifestation are offspring whose parents are both schizophrenic, although even at this rate the risk of manifestation is about forty-six percent. Globally however its prevalence is about 0.9 percent or fifty-eight million people worldwide (Hollandsworth, 1990).
According to James G. Hollandworth of the University of Southern Mississippi, schizophrenia is primarily characterized by a disintegration of reality perception, consciousness, and thought process which results in a debilitated proficiency in social and professional faculties (Hollandworth, 1990). While schizophrenia can most arguably be classified as a predominantly genetic affliction, there are others factors which can contribute to its development even without a genetic predisposition. These elements include birth defects such as hypoxia and low birth rate, neuroanatomical anomalies, viral infections, along with low IQ and cerebral atrophy (Hollandsworth, 1990). While these components in themselves are not sufficient enough to cause the disorder, they result in an increased risk for developing the disease. One theory for the cause of schizophrenia that has been studied with great validity is the dopamine hypothesis. This theory postulates that schizophrenia is caused by an overabundance of the dopamine-dependent areas of the brain causing an imbalance that...

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