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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

Is anyone know the exact cause of mental illnesses like Add, Adhd, Ocd, bipolar etc
Kartikey Reply
mental desorders are caused by many factors
riadh
a chemical imbalance with bipolar which if i remember correctly has somthing to do with OCD as well.....?
jessie
its also has to do with parts of the brain that recieve neurons and some that dont.
Natasha
Natasha...u from which country?
Philip
uSA
Natasha
no i need more explanation
Aminu
ADD, ADHD, bi polar, and OCD. the first 3 are mostly chemical imbalance to the brain. bi polar is a chemical imbalance that has to do with the emotional and creative parts of the brain. its cause from not getting the right amount of something or not enough of something. which is why amphetamines
Natasha
will either make them act more normal and or helps them concentrate. also can make the unleveled level out. desoxyn is methamphentimine hydrochloride its for obese add and adhd
Natasha
may I add that some studies have shown that children who have A.D.H.D were more than likely brought up in single parent family's and Im not a 100% sure of the stat's but believe that some studies have shown as many as 80% of children with A.D.H.D were brought up in a single parent inviroment.
Gavin
And I also remember A.D.H.D in the early days and ideas were put fourth of the cause and one that stood out was spending excessive amounts of time playing computer games as that was still quite anew phenomena at the time.
Gavin
not that anyone mentions that one any more lol.
Gavin
I don't believe there is such a thing as chemical imbalance. More research is needed and it's too easy and simple just to blame certain illnesses on a chemical imbalance. What is chemical imbalance? Maybe we should start there.
David
chemical imbalance is when you either lack a brain chemical such as seritonin, dopamine ex.
Natasha
gavin true to that. our enviroment is a big factor in our chemicals. when were happy because of something our bodies produce more dopamine
Natasha
for example. single parent families are stressful which studies have shown cause more damage then we think or relize including brain chemistry
Natasha
lol duh read a book every now an den u won't bee sow retar'ed. geez some people I swair jus aint gots no cents. ya knaw what eye sayin... lol
Brett
ask reinfield from dracula he suffers from psychotic ideation...lol
Rodney
what are the psychological effects of being a patient
Gloria Reply
why is the Synapse so important to biopsychologists
Susan Reply
I dnt know
Sam
because its very important
Deepak
Because that's where the exchange of information takes place which causes reactions in us and so biopsychologists need to study the info transmitted in order to study the reaction to explain a mental process/behaviour
Tina
synapse occurs as part of the brain activity. This is where everything seems to happen. Just imagine this synapse is like firing information, your feelings, and stuff
Ysa
so can i assume that if there is action potential in the pre synaptic cell but the neurotransmitter does not diffuse into the post synaptic cell that this would lead to some sort of mental dysfunction?
Susan
Or the opposite, too much neurotransmitter
George
how long does it takes to stabilize your sleeping hours?
Gabby Reply
15 minutes.
Philip
90 mnit +
Khadim
usually 24 hrs for me
Goof
30mins to 1hr
Joshua
😉
Sarfaraj
30 minutes
Bill
why do we get depression
meghna Reply
how to be a neuropsychologist?
mukhtar Reply
wo Kya hota h?
Gayatri
I speak English sorry... If you can translate: I suggest studying anatomy if you are still in high school. You will need a master degree. So about ten years of college.
Jen
Pay close attention to psychology as well. Biology is a must.
Jen
hmm
Gayatri
what are the factors affecting learning
Savoeda Reply
motivation is probably a big factor, but also intellectual ability, knowing from personal experience
Elaina
why do we get depression
meghna
yes
Natasha
you have it
Adam
low income families, poverty and a poor stimulating environment for children could be caused of learning disabilities or effects.
vincent
any advice on psychological statistics ?
Kurt Reply
I'm taking psychological statistics too
psychological statistic is a branch of psychology that deals with research and experimental aspect of psychology. It is an offshoot if experimental psychology, they make use of statistical tools in describing, predicting, analysing and make an inference about data collected in order to
babatunde
what about factors affecting learning
Savoeda
What is the morality in Greek Mythology?
Lianne Reply
Three basic processes involved in the act of remembering are:
kesandu Reply
encoding, storage, retrieval
Elaina
What is psychology
meghna
psychology is the study of the mind
Teza
Psychology is the scientific study of human mental processes and behavior.
Gaurav
it involves studying both; human and animals. It's called subject in the experimental design.
Professor
The three main processes involved in human memory are encoding, storage and recall (retrieval)..
kevin
Do you think there is a stigma associated with mentally ill persons today? Why or why not?
Ali Reply
yes absolutely
Gayatri
and I do believe that stigma is associated with anything when people at large don't know how to deal with anything
Gayatri
Stigma of drowning.
Zaheer
@Gayatri. plz explain. what it means people don't know.
Zaheer
that people are unaware how to respond to a person dealing with any sort of mental illness
Gayatri
so it means mind can't solve problems of mind. am I right ?
Zaheer
yeah sometimes actually it all depends how a person respond to it
Gayatri
and does anxiety falls in that as well
Zaheer
yes
Gayatri
ok thanks.
Zaheer
who started ethics
Segun Reply
relate social psychology to environmental health
Joyce Reply
what can tell me about analytical psychology of Carl G. Jung
babatunde Reply
google it, I don't think anyone has ever studied it properly.
Priyank
how is social psychology related to environmental health
Joyce Reply
hai to hai apne ko kya
manisha
@Manisha?
Miraj
Hello
Abdul
social psychology is closely related with environmental health
Gayatri
prove from Gayatri Singh
KADIR
social psychology is to be studied to know where the society is headed to
kartik
it has deep impact directly and indirectly to the environmental health
kartik
* I believe, I've not studied psychology though. But I'm curious
kartik
correct me, if wrong
kartik
i think that social psychology helps people understand eachother more wich helps decreasing conflicts that can cause harm for the environmental health
riadh
what is environmental health ?
Gayatri
by the way
Gayatri
?
Gayatri
hello friends i want it to be in easy form
Joyce
hi
Gary
hey
Ashba
Environmental health is focused on the natural and built environments for the benefit of human health.
Ashba
somehow both are related toh each other
Ashba
If everyone is mentally stable then we can all make logically stable solutions to our unstable world.
Birkan

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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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