Schizophrenia Notes

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Schizophrenia

Symptoms and features of schizophrenia:

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that can affect the way someone thinks, speaks or feels to such a degree that they lose focus on reality. There are a number of ways of characterising schizophrenia, first and second rank symptoms. First rank symptoms include hearing voices and ideas about being guided by others. Second rank symptoms include flattened emotions.

As yet there is no physical way of diagnosing schizophrenia. Only a psychiatrist can make a diagnosis of schizophrenia using symptoms and features.

Positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia

Positive symptoms are additions to behaviour and actual symptoms that can be noted. They include first-rank symptoms. Negative symptoms are where normal functioning is not present.

Positive symptoms: are about changes in thinking in the person

·         Hallucinations, such as seeing or hearing things that are not there.

·         Delusions, false beliefs such as someone thinking their movements are being controlled by someone else.

·         Thought disorders, which makes someone’s speech hard to follow.

Evaluation: Positive symptoms tend to have greater weight when diagnosing schizophrenia but they can be affected by cultural differences so perhaps should not be weighted as strongly as negative symptoms, which might be more objectively measured.

Negative symptoms: often start before positive ones, sometimes years before schizophrenia is diagnosed. This is known as the prodromal period

·         Lack of energy and apathy, for example no motivation to do daily chores.

·         Social withdrawal, for example, avoiding family and friends, not going out.

·         Flatness of emotions, where the face becomes emotionless and the voice dull with no rise or fall.

·         Not looking after appearance and self, and generally not adhering to expectations with regard to preserving a sense of self.

Evaluation: Negative symptoms seem less effected by cultural factors and it has been suggested that they can be more objectively measured. Hearing voices for example is hard to measure. Lack of energy, flatness of emotions or social withdrawal might be more easily monitored.

Symptoms: Are what characterise the disorder with regard to how the person thinks, feels and behaves.

Features: Of a mental health disorder usually involve statistics about the disorder, or aspects of it such as how the illness develops or how other factors such as age and gender link.

·         There are different types of schizophrenia.

·         According to Jablensky (2000), schizophrenia is found in any nation at a rate of about 1.4-4.6 per 1000 people.

·         About a ¼ of people who have had schizophrenia have had it continually without any breaks.

·         This leaves 50% who have periods of recovery and periods of symptoms.

·         ½ of patients will have occasional schizophrenic episodes but do not have a chronic disorder

·         male sufferers tend to experience a more severe course of the disorder than females (Goldstein, 1988)

Types of schizophrenia:

·         Paranoid schizophrenia: is characterised by someone being…

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