Brain And Body Risk Factors
Developmental theories of schizophrenia suggest that something goes wrong when the brain is developing. Brain development, from the earliest stage of fetal development, the early years of life and through adolescence, is an extremely complicated process. Millions of neurons are formed, migrate to different regions of the forming brain, and specialize to perform different functions.
The something that goes wrong might be a viral infection, a hormonal imbalance, an error in genetic encoding, a nutritional stress, or something else. The common element in all developmental theories is that the causal event occurs during the brains development.
Even though these potential causes may be rooted in very early development, symptoms of schizophrenia typically emerge in late adolescence or early adulthood.
What Is The Reason For All This Pessimism
It is not hard to explain why schizophrenia is seen in such a negative light. Listen how experts within biological psychiatry speak of schizophrenia. They call it a devastating brain disease of which you can never recover. Even the most respected science magazines, such as Nature and Science, have been saying for years that schizophrenia is a genetic brain disease that has no cure. Even though this conclusion is in conflict with data on how the disease progresses. This is what the worlds most prestigious scientific journal, Science, has to say about schizophrenia:
Once the symptoms of schizophrenia occur, they persist for the entire lifetime of the patient, and are almost totally disabling .
Of course, the field of biological psychology has our best interest in mind. But still they determine what image society has of schizophrenia patients. And this includes the image held by the policy makers who decide how many resources must be spent on mental healthcare. Why spend money on care for people who will never recover anyway?
But keep in mind: there is NO scientific proof that you can indeed regard schizophrenia as a disease of the brain. It sounds convincing. Its what the media often tell. But it is simply not true in a scientific sense. We could almost wish it were that simple, because the truth is less clear-cut and much more complicated.
What Occurs In The Brain
|The picture below showsmagnetic resonance image brain scans of a pair of twins:one with schizophrenia, one without schizophrenia. Notice that theventricles are larger in the twin withschizophrenia.|
A reduced size of the hippocampus, increased size of the basal ganglia,and abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex are seen in some people withschizophrenia. However, these changes are not seen in all people withschizophrenia and they may occur in people without this disorder.
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Schizophrenia Through The Ages
What does schizophrenia mean?
In 1910, the Swiss psychiatrist Paul Eugen Bleuler coined the term ‘schizophrenia from the Greek words schizo and phren . Bleuler had intended the term to denote a loosening of thoughts and feelings, but, unfortunately, many people read it to mean a split personality.
What does schizophrenia not mean?
Robert Louis Stevensons novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde did much to popularize the concept of a split personality, which is sometimes also referred to as multiple personality disorder . However, MPD is a vanishingly rare condition that is entirely unrelated to schizophrenia. The vast majority of psychiatrists, myself included, have never seen a case of MPD, and many if not most suspect that such a condition does not exist. Yes, schizophrenia sufferers may hear various voices, or harbour strange beliefs, but this is not the same as having a split personality. Unlike Dr Jekyll, schizophrenia sufferers do not suddenly mutate into a different, unrecognizable person.
Who discovered schizophrenia?
How was schizophrenia thought of in antiquity?
But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
When did people first start thinking of schizophrenia as an illness?
How did beliefs change?
When To See A Healthcare Provider
As schizophrenia usually develops gradually, it can be difficult to pinpoint when changes in behavior start or know whether they are something to worry about. Identifying that you are experiencing a pattern of concerning behaviors can be a sign you should consult with a professional.
Symptoms may intensify in the run-up to an acute episode of psychosis in schizophrenia. The warning signs include:
- A worrying drop in grades or job performance
- New difficulty thinking clearly or concentrating
- Suspiciousness of or uneasiness with others
- Withdrawing socially, spending a lot more time alone than usual
- Unusual, overly intense new ideas, strange feelings, or having no feelings at all
- Difficulty telling reality from fantasy
- Confused speech or trouble communicating
While these changes might not be concerning by themselves, if you or a loved one are experiencing a number of these symptoms, you should contact a mental health professional. It can be difficult for those with schizophrenia to want to get help, especially if they are experiencing symptoms such as paranoia.
If you or your loved one is thinking of or talking about harming themselves, contact someone who can help right away. You can call the toll-free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-237-8255.
If you require immediate emergency care, call 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
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Early Warning Signs Of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia can be hard to diagnose for a few reasons. One is that people with the disorder often don’t realize they’re ill, so they’re unlikely to go to a doctor for help.Another issue is that many of the changes leading up to schizophrenia, called the prodrome, can mirror other normal life changes. For example, a teen who’s developing the illness might drop their group of friends and take up with new ones. They may also have trouble sleeping or suddenly start coming home with poor grades.
Some research suggests that if a doctor strongly thinks someone is getting the disorder while still in this early phase, low doses of antipsychotic medication might delay it. More studies need to be done to know whether these drugs work for young people at risk for the disease. Cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, and social skills training appear to have clearer benefits for them, at least in the short term, when used early on. Learn more about the prodrome phase of schizophrenia.
Types Of Auditory Hallucinations
For some, auditory hallucinations appear suddenly. T. M. Luhrman, a professor of anthropology at Stanford and author of Living With Voices, described the experience of a young man who started hearing the sound of rats scratching behind his ears. His auditory hallucinations began rapidly and soon after he destroyed a number of rats nests.
Another young man started to suddenly hear a voice coming from outside his apartment that sounded like a woman screaming she was raped and begging for help. Many times the voices can start gradually and are often described as a vague or fleeting impression of hearing your name called or people talking about you. For example, “Someone just called my name or people were talking in the hallway, or I thought I heard something but then I am not sure.
People with schizophrenia can hear a variety of noises and voices, which often get louder, meaner, and more persuasive over time.
A few examples of the type sounds that might be heard:
- Repetitive, screeching sounds suggestive of rats
- Painfully loud, thumping music themes
- Voices of people blasting mean orders or comments
- People talking about you as if you were not even present
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Whats The Difference Between Psychosis And Schizophrenia
Psychosis is a syndrome or group of symptoms. Someone experiencing an episode of psychosis is having a break with reality. Major symptoms of psychosis are hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations are sensations that are not real, such as hearing voices or sounds that arent real. Hearing voices is a common hallucination, but hallucinations can be experiences with any sensehearing, sight, smell, taste, or touch. Delusions are strong beliefs that cant possibly be true. Common delusions include the belief that someone is following or monitoring you, or the belief that you have extraordinary powers or abilities. Other symptoms of psychosis include difficulties concentrating, completing tasks, or making decisions. Thoughts may feel jumbled or confused. Some people have a hard time following conversations or speaking clearly. Psychosis can even affect the way people move or express their emotions.
Psychosis and schizophrenia are treatable. Its important to seek help as soon as possible.
Where can I learn more?
Schizophrenia Under Nazi Rule
In 1933 Dr. Ernest Rüdin, who was in-charge of the Genealogical-Demographic Department of the German Institute for Psychiatric Research in Munich, expressed his interest in schizophrenia and with the help of Feanz Kallmann, supported the idea that schizophrenia was a Mendelian inherited disease. Kallmann believed that the disorder was transmitted by a regressive gene.
Both Rüdin’s and Kallmanns theories coincided with the growing interest in the idea of Rassenhygiene or race hygiene. The eugenics movement had gained great strength in the United States and Britain. Following suit, in 1933 Rüdin became a guiding force in the passage of Germanys first compulsory sterilization laws known as the law for the prevention of progeny with hereditary defects which would target individuals with mental retardation, schizophrenia, manic-depressive disorder, epilepsy, Huntington chorea, hereditary blindness and deafness, hereditary alcoholism and grave bodily malformation. It is suggested by the limited data available that of the 400,000 that were sterilized, 132000 were sterilized for schizophrenia.
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Diagnosing Anosognosia Does Not Give Anyone Court Or Physician The Inherent Right To Mandate Someone To Treatment
The way I describe it is when you see somebody walking down the street they have a transmitter in their head, it is not because they believe they have a transmitter in their head. They know it. Their illness tells them so. And this is the group who wont accept treatment, and treatment can restore their free will. Being psychotic is not an exercise of free will. It is the inability to exercise free will.
Diagnosing anosognosia does not give anyone, court or physician, the inherent right to mandate someone to treatment. What anosognosia does, Jaffe says, is provide a simple, if hard-to-pronounce, term to explain why so many people with schizophrenia and similar illnesses often behave as if they are unaware that their thinking and behaviour are so dramatically different.
Just as importantly, he says, AOT works. Six years after Kendras Law was implemented in New York, officials had logged a 77% decrease in psychiatric hospitalisations and a 74% decline in homelessness for people in the AOT programme incarcerations had dropped by 87%. In 2015, seven years after the implementation of Lauras Law, Nevada County reported that people who had completed the AOT programme spent 43% less time in hospital, 52% less time in prison and 54% less time homeless than before they were treated.
The old psychiatric system kept people in facilities where their medication would be supervised
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The First Signs Of Schizophrenia Usually Appear In Adolescence
Most people with schizophrenia develop it fairly early in life. The most common time for symptoms to appear is in late adolescence and early adulthood. While male patients typically start dealing with schizophrenia in their late teens or early 20s, women tend to develop it a bit later in their late 20s and early 30s.The brain goes through crucial changes in late adolescence, which could make it especially vulnerable to psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.
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Diagnosis In England Is Different Than In The Usa
How is this possible? The term schizophrenia is, for example, defined differently by psychiatrists in different European countries. This is because some countries use different systems of classification. Instead of the American DSM-5, some countries use the ICD10, created by the World Health Organisation.
This Is Called Personal Recovery
Personal recovery is only possible if one is given hope, a belief in improvement and in their own personal strength. This hope can be found together with others who have patient experience. Yet it is just as crucial that this hope is also recognised by society in general. And within the influential field of biological psychiatry.
What if indeed your family member is not able to recover, in a medical or personal sense? Our advice: do not give up, but stay hopeful. There simply is no reason to say: give it up, you are diagnosed with schizophrenia, which means you have a devastating brain disease and will never recover.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Schizophrenia And How Is It Diagnosed
How is schizophrenia diagnosed?
Only a psychiatrist can diagnose you with schizophrenia after a full psychiatric assessment. You may have to see the psychiatrist a few times before they diagnose you. This is because they need to see how often you are experiencing symptoms.
There are currently no blood tests or scans that can prove if you have schizophrenia. So, psychiatrists use manuals to diagnose schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
The 2 main manuals used by medical professionals are the:
- International Classification of Diseases which is produced by the World Health Organisation , or
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual which is produced by the American Psychiatric Association .
NHS doctors use the ICD-10.
The manuals explain which symptoms should be present, and for how long for you to receive a diagnosis. For example, according to the NHS you need to be hearing voices for at least 1 month before you can be diagnosed. Mental health professionals may say you have psychosis before they diagnose you with schizophrenia.
What is the future of diagnosis in schizophrenia?There are many research studies being conducted across the world on how to better diagnose schizophrenia. For example, a recent study found through looking at images of the brain, there may be different sub-types of schizophrenia.
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
The symptoms of schizophrenia are commonly described as positive symptoms or negative symptoms. This doesnt mean that they are good or bad.
Can A Schizophrenic Hold A Job
The truth is that the majority of people with schizophrenia are willing and able to thrive in the workplace if they find a job that fits their interests, works with their strengths and talents, and offers them some accommodations, says Sita Diehl, the director of state policy and advocacy for the National Alliance on 28 thg 7, 2015
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Towards A More Personal Diagnosis
PSS as a diagnosis is in fact so broad that it always demands a more detailed and personal description. What is the specific mix of symptoms with this unique person with PSS? This particular mix is the patients personal diagnosis. Thus although the first diagnosis might be named PSS, it cannot be used to treat all patients the same and stereotype them, as is currently done with schizophrenia. PSS is too broad and too diverse for this. The first diagnosis should only indicate the need to make a more personal diagnosis for this unique individual, based on the specific mix of his/her symptoms .
Why Don’t Animals Get Schizophrenia
Research suggests an evolutionary link between the disorder and what makes us human
Many of us have known a dog on Prozac. We’ve also witnessed the eye rolls that come with canine psychiatry. Doting pet ownersmyself includedascribe all sorts of questionable psychological ills to our pawed companions. But the science does suggest that numerous non-human species suffer from psychiatric symptoms. Birds obsess horses on occasion get pathologically compulsive dolphins and whalesespecially those in captivityself-mutilate. And that thing when your dog woefully watches you pull out of the driveway from the windowthat might be DSM-certified separation anxiety. “Every animal with a mind has the capacity to lose hold of it from time to time” wrote science historian and author Dr. Laurel Braitman in “Animal Madness.”
To help understand what these benefits might be, Dudleys group then turned to gene expression profiles. Whereas gene sequencing provides an organisms genome sequence, gene expression profiling reveals where and when in the body certain genes are actually active. Dudley’s group found that HAR-associated schizophrenia genes are found in regions of the genome that influence other genes expressed in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region just behind the forehead involved in higher order thinkingimpaired PFC function is thought to contribute to psychosis.
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Moving Into Adulthood: A Turning Point
Schizophrenia is typically diagnosed after age 18, most often in a persons 20s or early 30s.
It may be fairly well-controlled early in life, but moving from home to college and encountering new rules, or no rules exposes vulnerable young people to things theyre not prepared to deal with, says Dr. Bowers.
Living with a college roommate can prove difficult. It may seem easier to avoid talking or eating with others. You tend to isolate yourself and seem preoccupied with your own world, she says.
Increased exposure to alcohol or drug use is also a trigger.
Among 50 college students who smoke pot, a few may get a drug-induced psychosis that clears in weeks, says Dr. Bowers. But one may go on to develop a serious mental health disorder.
Exposure to disturbing news events or potentially false information on the internet and social media can provoke extreme reactions in the vulnerable.
They misperceive whats happening in the environment and develop delusions, she says. They may not make sense or become too aggressive.
Its easy to become so distracted by thoughts that schoolwork and jobs get neglected.
If someone constantly plays video games or focuses only on personal interests, and offers an irrational explanation for avoiding studies or work, thats a warning sign, says Dr. Bowers.