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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Recognize the essential nature of schizophrenia, avoiding the misconception that it involves a split personality
  • Categorize and describe the major symptoms of schizophrenia
  • Understand the interplay between genetic, biological, and environmental factors that are associated with the development of schizophrenia
  • Discuss the importance of research examining prodromal symptoms of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a devastating psychological disorder that is characterized by major disturbances in thought, perception, emotion, and behavior. About 1% of the population experiences schizophrenia in their lifetime, and usually the disorder is first diagnosed during early adulthood (early to mid-20s). Most people with schizophrenia experience significant difficulties in many day-to-day activities, such as holding a job, paying bills, caring for oneself (grooming and hygiene), and maintaining relationships with others. Frequent hospitalizations are more often the rule rather than the exception with schizophrenia. Even when they receive the best treatments available, many with schizophrenia will continue to experience serious social and occupational impairment throughout their lives.

What is schizophrenia? First, schizophrenia is not a condition involving a split personality; that is, schizophrenia is not the same thing as dissociative identity disorder (better known as multiple personality disorder). These disorders are sometimes confused because the word schizophrenia first coined by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in 1911, derives from Greek words that refer to a “splitting” (schizo) of psychic functions (phrene) (Green, 2001).

Schizophrenia is considered a psychotic disorder, or one in which the person’s thoughts, perceptions, and behaviors are impaired to the point where she is not able to function normally in life. In informal terms, one who suffers from a psychotic disorder (that is, has a psychosis) is disconnected from the world in which most of us live.

Symptoms of schizophrenia

The main symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, disorganized or abnormal motor behavior, and negative symptoms (APA, 2013). A hallucination    is a perceptual experience that occurs in the absence of external stimulation. Auditory hallucinations (hearing voices) occur in roughly two-thirds of patients with schizophrenia and are by far the most common form of hallucination (Andreasen, 1987). The voices may be familiar or unfamiliar, they may have a conversation or argue, or the voices may provide a running commentary on the person’s behavior (Tsuang, Farone,&Green, 1999).

Less common are visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not there) and olfactory hallucinations (smelling odors that are not actually present).

Delusions are beliefs that are contrary to reality and are firmly held even in the face of contradictory evidence. Many of us hold beliefs that some would consider odd, but a delusion is easily identified because it is clearly absurd. A person with schizophrenia may believe that his mother is plotting with the FBI to poison his coffee, or that his neighbor is an enemy spy who wants to kill him. These kinds of delusions are known as paranoid delusions , which involve the (false) belief that other people or agencies are plotting to harm the person. People with schizophrenia also may hold grandiose delusions , beliefs that one holds special power, unique knowledge, or is extremely important. For example, the person who claims to be Jesus Christ, or who claims to have knowledge going back 5,000 years, or who claims to be a great philosopher is experiencing grandiose delusions. Other delusions include the belief that one’s thoughts are being removed (thought withdrawal) or thoughts have been placed inside one’s head (thought insertion). Another type of delusion is somatic delusion    , which is the belief that something highly abnormal is happening to one’s body (e.g., that one’s kidneys are being eaten by cockroaches).

Questions & Answers

what is the role of psychology in the development of therapies for disorders of a circadian rhythm?
wazir Reply
To study Abnormal Psychology means, to study mainly the nature of
Baddo Reply
abnormal psychology? can you explain please?
la
abnormal, this branch of psychology typically deals with behavior in a clinical context.
pakki
yo
Baddo
To study Abnormal Psychology means, to study mainly the nature of 1). Conscious Mind 2). Unconscious Mind 3). Subconscious Mind 4). Normal Mind
pakki
yo
Kylee
abnormal psychology- is the scientific study of Psychological disorders and their treatments
utkarsh
Utkarsh Verma can you help me pass out my exams? tomorrom
Baddo
10 - 11 MCQ test can you all or some help? the only subject I'm weak in is psychology
Baddo
which branch of psychology is the test on?
pakki
How Abnormal Behavior is Defined While it may seem that the definition of “abnormal” indicates a behavior that is considered outside of the human norm, it is actually a much slipperier slope. Therefore, abnormal psychology takes on the task of scientifically studying and classifying human behaviors
Anye
Yo
Monica
What is the role of psychology in the development of therapies for circadian rhythm disorders?
wazir
please I wish to find out how difficult/easy it is, for someone with a bachelor degree in philosophy to continue with masters and doctoral in psychology, specifically, I-O psychology.
Anye
do the individuals know that they are being researched on? and why does anyone speak up regarding the matter? is it "don't ask, don't tell" policy?
Stepphun Reply
examine any 5 perceptual principals of organization
kundai Reply
Is it possible for a child to be schizophrenic?
Esther Reply
yes. early onset of schizophrenia starts at 13 to 18. very rare but possible.
Kristel
Good question
Mulder
It's uncommon for children to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
pakki
what is the role of psychology in the development of therapies for circadian rhythm disorders?
wazir
is there a difference between age and romantic attachment style?
Alysha Reply
I don't think so. Well, not always. Certain things should be timeless.
Know
I'm 48 & he's 26 ...so we shall see?
Tanya
in my opinion if you both are comfortable with each other then definitely age is nothing but a number but then also there will be little difference in the cognition due to age
utkarsh
yes Utkarsh.I agree with you.We call it as generation gap. But there can be exceptions also...
Shailaja
yes generation gap can affect the relationship but this totally depends on the couple that how they settle up with each other
utkarsh
that is true, balance is needed. I spent a long time with an older man and I was more his child than his partner. power struggles are hard in relationships with generational gaps
Ashley
I think all it all depends on your comfort or braveness and attitude toward life, then age is just numbers.
Sujeet
new perspective n ones mindset towards life plays an important role... if the change is for gud.. go-ahead
Smitha
Yes romantic attachment styles change with age if that's what you are asking. here is where you can read more about it ***google.com/amp/s/qz.com/1206940/attachment-style-changes-with-age/amp/
krish
can empirical research be performed on people being diagnosed or people who have borderline personality disorder?
Stepphun Reply
yes it can
Angela
***pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3711874/
Angela
thank you for the feedback
Stepphun
👍
Angela
yes?
Stepphun
discuss the three models of positional coding in working memory citing examples.Please help me with points to this question
jane Reply
can you clear me up a doubt that for to become a psychriatist what process are needed
Mimi Reply
What are the vocational choices for women in pakistan also discuss its aims and objectives.
Malik Reply
I want to research on Egocentrism and Autistic thinking on myself.
RAVI Reply
I want to research on Egocentrism and Autistic thinking on myself. Have you any suggestion for me?
RAVI
I want to research on Egocentrism and Autistic thinking on myself. Have you any suggestion for me?
RAVI
why do you think they correlate?
James
what is the role of psychology in the development of therapies for circadian rhythm?
wazir
what is Egocentrism
Ishfaq
External goal that have the capacity to motivate behaviour
Haider Reply
Reinforcements and Punishments
Khyzar
indeed! but positive punishment if I may add
Angela
hi. i am a student of B.A. Psychology (major), i wanted to enquire as to which textbook would be most informative on 'Biopsychology' ?
Bhargavi
Hey, I'm currently a BS Psychology major and I'd like to recommend the 10th Edition Biological Psychology book by Kalat
Ayessa
thanks, it really means a lot😀
Bhargavi
You're welcome.
Ayessa
what is logical atomism
Koshivani
what is HMC found in UK and US in 1915
Samu Reply
List five branches of psychology
Faith Reply
clinical psychology social psychology educational psychology experimental psychology neurological psychology behavioural psychology criminal psychology industrial psychology
Nazish
I am a older retired person who has always found psychology interesting I am teaching myself with information that I find online textbooks etc is there any advice that you can give me to help me thank you
Brenda
can anyone explain Shiffrin and Schneider experiment of controlled and automatic human information?
AKSHATA Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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