Schizophrenia and Types of Schizophrenia
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is classified as a psychotic disorder by the Diagnostic Statistic Manual (DSM IV TR, which is considered to a Clinician’s Bible. The disorder is characterized by cognitive and motor dysfunction and a general inability to interpret one’s reality.Photo Credit: http://matilda-ss.livejournal.com/367473.html
Schizophrenia has many subtypes with several cases of schizophrenia recorded throughout history; but back then schizophrenia was vastly associated with demonic possession or paranormal activities. Only now, with sophisticated research and studies, clinicians have come to know more about and have christened it “schizophrenia”, a term of Greek origin, which literally means ‘Split of the mind’. The split was erroneously taken for multiple personality disorder, but it in fact refers to the individual’s split from reality and a split in their normal mental functioning.
Paranoid schizophrenia is one of the many subtypes of this disorder and is also the most common subtype found amongst its sufferers. Paranoid schizophrenia is characterized by visual and auditory hallucination and one of the most dominant symptoms is the “false belief” or delusion that someone or something is plotting against them. They may also suffer from delusions of grandeur, whereby they may think of them as someone influential or powerful.Photo Credit: http://abcnews.go.com/topics/lifestyle/health/schizophrenia.htm?mediatype=Image
“I am the bearer of truth, which is why the CIA wants me dead” is something that you will only hear a sufferer of paranoid schizophrenia say. Sufferers of this subtype have little or no problems with memory and do not even show signs of emotional alogia, which refers to lack of emotional response or emotional retardation in the individual. However, it can lead to detrimental consequences in the long-run, such as the development of suicidal tendency. Hence, the disorder should be quickly treated as soon as the symptoms are identified.
Childhood or Pediatric Schizophrenia is characterized by the exhibition of schizophrenia symptoms among individuals under the age of 18. This subtype of schizophrenia is extremely rare but children who are diagnosed with this disorder experience severe auditory, olfactory and visual hallucinations. The child is rendered incapable of developing healthy interpersonal relationships. Their motor and cognitive growth becomes stunted and since the disorder is so rare, there is no known treatment available for this condition. In fact there is not much known about this disorder and researchers are in the process of studying.Photo Credit: http://www.pequesymas.com/tag/comportamiento
Clinicians are further boggled by it etiology and have been unable to identify as to what causes pediatric schizophrenia, therefore the only available hypothesis is that a genetic diathesis is involved in the disorder that may trigger it. If the condition is identified during its early stages, proper medication and behavioral therapies can help the individual organize their behavior and manage the symptoms. A combination therapy is said to have gotten the disorder under control and there are many researches being carried out by clinicians to gain more insight into this condition.
Despite the fact that schizophrenia has so many subtypes, it has some overlapping symptoms; such as hallucinations and delusions is experienced in all forms of schizophrenia. The individual suffers from an impaired reality testing and further has impaired speech and disorganized behavior. The aforementioned set of symptoms is referred to as positive symptoms, which generally involve psychosis that is a complete loss of touch with reality.Photo Credit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/dec/04/what-does-schizophrenia-diagnosis-mean
On the other hand, negative symptoms include emotional alogia and anhedonia, which refers to emotional retardation and an inability to experience pleasure, respectively. The individual suffers from reduced speech and an overall disinterest in activities. The latter condition is also referred to as Avolition, which is a psychological condition marked by a lack of drive or motivation to partake in other activities. The third category of symptoms is cognitive which include a loss of memory, inability to remain focused and an impaired insight that is inability of the individual to identify that the sufferer has a problem. They experience pervasive social dysfunctions and symptoms may vary from person to person and is different for all subtypes.
Due to the number of subtypes of schizophrenia, the diagnosis of schizophrenia is a tricky business. The diagnosis of this disorder is based on DSM IV TR, which as described earlier, is more or less like the clinician’s Bible. The diagnosis is largely carried out through self-reports and a clinical assessment carried out by the mental health professional, who then identifies each symptoms accordingly.Photo Credit: http://aboutschizophrenia.info/
However when diagnosing, the clinicians should not only choose the right subtype but also make sure that they have ruled out all sorts of psychological and physiological differentials; which are disorders that exhibit symptoms similar to schizophrenia but is in fact something else. Clinicians should make sure that the symptoms are not triggered by the use of drugs or any other metabolic disorder that can cause the individual disorder. Even Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder has symptoms similar to that of schizophrenia; therefore clinicians have to be very cautious before making a final diagnosis.
In conclusion, Schizophrenia is a highly pervasive disorder that not only impedes the normal functioning of the individual but is also quite wearisome for their family members and friends. However, with strong social support and psychiatric intervention, the individual can easily overcome the disorder and return some semblance of normalcy back into their life. From undressing in public, laughing at inappropriate times to freezing in impossible postures, an individual suffering from schizophrenia exhibit all these kinds of behavior. A sufferer of schizophrenia should be immediately referred to a clinician as soon as possible, for they not only pose a real treat to themselves but to people around them as well.
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