We all know the word ‘schizophrenia’; it terrifies, generates interest, makes to keep distance, but only professionals know and can explain what the schizophrenia is in its true essence. Nowadays schizophrenia is a cornerstone of Psychiatry. Describing this mental disorder, it is possible to say that most of us are linked schizophrenia with bars and strait jackets, violence and drug abuse in psychiatric hospitals. In fact, it is the same fallacy as the recognition of patients with schizophrenia as aggressive mentally incompetent persons. According to Warner (2010), “schizophrenia is a psychosis. That is to say, it is a severe mental disorder in which the person’s emotions, thinking, judgment, and grasp of reality are so disturbed that his or her functioning is seriously impaired.” The relevance of schizophrenia to psychology is impossible to overestimate, because it is a disorder of unknown etiology and only qualified psychiatrists can be effective in its treatment.
Explaining my interest to this mental disorder, I need to state that a riddle of mental disorder is a mystery to humankind, the veil which people try to raise for many millennia. A child is afraid of the dark room, inhabited by his fantasies, as well as an adult scares all the unknown and unpredictable. Probably that’s why society has a lot of myths, prejudices and stereotypes (social stigma), relating to people with mental disorders. Thus, I want to know more about schizophrenia for the purpose of to be more intelligent than others who only afraid of this mental disorder and do nothing to understand its essence and possible ways of treatment.First of all I want to say that many people really afraid of people with schizophrenia because people are trying to somehow explain all the strange around them. But, do not knowing the nature of the disease until the end, do not understanding the true causes of misbehavior of people suffering from mental illness, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to healthy people, and society as a whole, to correctly construct a system of attitudes and behavior with schizophrenic patients. One way or another, we are fenced off from people with mental illness, not even suggesting that many suffer from schizophrenia and are most likely to crave and become productive members of society.
According to Csernansky (2002), “schizophrenia remains one of the most common psychiatric disorders, affecting approximately 1% of the world’s population. It occurs with a similar frequency in all races and cultures, and while men and women are equally likely to be affected by schizophrenia, its age of onset is earlier and its severity is greater in men.” In such a way, schizophrenia, severe mental disorder that affects many functions of consciousness and behavior, including thought processes, perceptions, emotions (affects), motivation, and even motor areas. It is best to treat schizophrenia as a syndrome, i.e. the whole set of symptoms and signs, as there is no agreement on the cause. The practice also suggests that schizophrenia comprises several disorders. Each one is different and has a peculiar flow in some degree of family history (family medical history). Weiten (2010) mentioned that “most theories assumed that stress plays a key role in triggering schizophrenic disorders.”
In determining the type of disorder are taken into account various combinations of signs and symptoms. For instance, Warner (2010) stated that “the symptoms of schizophrenia are often divided into “positive” and “negative.” Positive symptoms are abnormal experiences and perceptions like delusions, hallucinations, illogical and disorganized thinking and inappropriate behavior. Negative symptoms are the absence of normal thoughts, emotions and behavior such as blunted emotions, loss of drive, poverty of thought, and social withdrawal.”
There are many various hypotheses about the causes of schizophrenia, since theories are seen as a cause of unhealthy family relationships, to biochemical concepts, suggesting that underlying disease is a violation of the metabolism of the brain, resulting in, for example, to the development of substances that cause hallucinations. Studies of twins and adoptees demonstrate the importance of genetic factors, but the mechanism of manifestation of these actions and the manner of hereditary transmission is unknown.
There is a good fact that modern medicine has made great progress in the diagnosis of schizophrenia, the study of its causes and mechanisms of development. Effective treatment of schizophrenia has become possible. In this case, it is important to recognize this mental disorder and its accurate onset timely, to appoint a complex and adequate treatment, to construct an elaborate system of rehabilitation of patients with schizophrenia, to teach a patient and family members how to behave in proper way.
For the purpose of to be effective, treatment of schizophrenia needs to properly select appropriate medications, eliminating the symptoms of schizophrenia, with a minimal number of side effects and not affecting the quality of human life. Unfortunately, many people with schizophrenia initially received inadequate treatment using older drugs (haloperidol, triftazine, aethaperazinum, etc.), which have many more side effects and impact on negative symptoms and cognitive impairment.
Modern treatment of schizophrenia must include psychotherapy. Most often, it takes place in the individual form and requires the therapist’s experience level. Patients are involved in special training activities, and it is also important to include family therapy, to make available to the patient and his family all the necessary information for the successful treatment of schizophrenia.
Observing sequence of actions in schizophrenia’s treatment, we see that the first step is a consultation with a good specialist. People should remember that the timing of treatment is important and largely determine the success of therapy. Most often, treatment for schizophrenia should begin in the special hospital; it must include all stages of an accurate diagnosis, because there are many manifestations of schizophrenia as there are many ways of its treatment. It is desirable that the environment around the schizophrenic patient would be calm (one or double wards), the physician who assists the patient should possess modern methods of psychotherapy. Each specialist should remember that it is unacceptable to provide the patient with schizophrenia to himself, and to eliminate those activities that were interesting to him previously. Activity of the patient with schizophrenia should be encouraged by qualified personnel who are familiar with not only medicine, but also with psychology. In some cases, it is highly recommended to strengthen the forces of the schizophrenic patient, picked up for a well-balanced diet, adequate exercise therapy, massage, physical therapy and therapeutic qualities. A patient with schizophrenia should be surrounded not only with skilled physicians, but also with specially trained psychologists, social workers, etc.
In schizophrenia it is important to achieve full cooperation with the doctor, educate schizophrenic patient to cope with the first symptoms of the disease, stressing the importance of adherence. Patients with schizophrenia erroneously lose faith in the successful outcome of treatment and may commit suicide, especially if they have symptoms of depression. Thus, it is necessary to explain the person that it is possible to overcome disease, and faster and better the person can do this with a qualified professional.
Thus, taking everything into consideration it is possible to say that schizophrenia is a disease that primarily affects the social aspects of human life, as it seen in increase isolation, insecurity, fear of the surrounding reality and in an inability to adequately evaluate it, the loss of emotional contact, social skills.
In conclusion, schizophrenia is a complex disease that needs cooperation of many professionals to overcome it successfully. In the beginning of my discussion I was going to explore this disease with many details and I like the way I did it. I expected to find many facts about schizophrenia, and thorough study of various sources of literature helped me to plunge into the problem with various necessary details. I have actually learned the definition of this disease, its symptoms, possible ways of treatment, and have understood why schizophrenic patients have not only strange behavior, but also various panic attacks. In addition, I have also understood that psychosocial rehabilitation plays very important role in the treatment of schizophrenic patients, because the task of the physician in the treatment of patients with schizophrenia is not only to relieve symptoms of the disease, but also to return a person to the social environment; in this case, the main emphasis is made on learning to live in the new conditions, to coexist with the disease.
Csernansky, J. (2002). Schizophrenia: A New Guide for Clinicians. Marcel Dekker.
Warner, R. (2000). The Environment of Schizophrenia: Innovations in Practice, Policy, and Communications. Brunner-Routledge.
Weiten, W. (2010).Psychology: Themes and Variations. 8th ed. Wadsworth Pub Co.