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The Narrow Schism Between Disease And Beauty: Discovering The Mental Disorders And Intricacies Of A Beautiful Mind

1911 words - 8 pages

“Schizophrenia” is a cacophonous word, crowded with awkward consonants and branded by a puzzling pronunciation. Similarly, the disease itself is marked by disorganized, discordant speech, thoughts, and actions. From its original Latin, schizophrenia translates to “split mind,” a term which fits well because individuals with schizophrenia “seem to have normal mental function in some areas but are markedly disturbed in others” (“About Schizophrenia”). Commonly accompanying schizophrenia are jumbled thoughts, distorted perceptions, and inappropriate behaviors. Positive symptoms of schizophrenia are “psychotic behaviors not seen in healthy people,” such as persistent delusions and ...view middle of the document...

Likewise, “long-term social isolation and exclusion have been predicted to precipitate hallucinations similar to those associated with paranoid schizophrenia” (“What is Schizophrenia?”). Aside from sociocultural factors, a myriad of biological factors are associated with the development of schizophrenia. Hypothesized biological causes of schizophrenia include over-activity of the dopamine neurotransmitter, abnormal brain activity, prenatal viruses, enlargement of fluid-filled cerebral cavities, and genetic influences associated with possible chromosomal abnormalities (“What is Schizophrenia?”). Important to note about these biological factors is the idea that they may not be the actual producers of schizophrenia, but rather, the products of the disorder itself.
Persistent delusions and hallucinations are the main defining positive symptoms of the paranoid subtype of schizophrenia. Delusions are “false beliefs, which the individual continues to believe even when presented with contradictory evidence” (“Paranoid Schizophrenia Symptoms”). Most delusions of paranoid schizophrenia are of persecution or grandeur (“Paranoid Schizophrenia Symptoms”). For instance, individuals with paranoid schizophrenia may falsely insist someone is stalking them or that they are the President and hold more importance than they actually deserve. Beyond the sentiment of thought, individuals with schizophrenia also experience hallucinations. Hallucinations are “vivid perceptions in the absence of any sensory input” (“Schizophrenia Health Center”). In cases of paranoid schizophrenia, they are “mostly auditory” voices and orders, but “visual hallucinations exist as well” (“Schizophrenia Health Center”). Like delusions, hallucinations are most often embodiments of paranoia, persecution, and grandeur. The falsity of paranoid schizophrenia’s delusions and hallucinations severs the individual’s mind from the fading truth of reality.
No cure or preventative measure exists for paranoid schizophrenia; however, treatment therapies can helpful in alleviating the disorder’s debilitating positive symptoms. Patients clinically diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia can receive prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs from a psychiatrist (“What is Schizophrenia?”). These drugs reduce the effects of delusions and hallucinations by “blocking the neural receptor sites for dopamine” (“What is Schizophrenia?”). The effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs in treating schizophrenia “provides support for the dopamine hypothesis,” the belief that dopamine over-activity causes the disorder (McEntarffer and Weseley). Common antipsychotic drugs include Thorazine, Haldol, and Etrafon. Like most prescription drugs, these antipsychotic drugs come with lengthy lists of negative side effects: drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, depressed mood (“What is Schizophrenia?”). Of all the possible adverse aftereffects, tardive dyskinesia is arguably the most destructive. Tardive dyskinesia, which can follow...

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