Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a brain disease that causes a change in the way people think, their perception, speech and behavior.
This disease sadly affects approximately 1% of the population (Lahey 82). Unless the disease is properly treated makes living a normal life impossible. Symptoms range from having delusions to the inability to make logical connections in one’s speech.
It is said that a person suffering from schizophrenia is “out of touch with reality” (Lahey 82).The disease makes it hard for a person to maintain social relationships. Even though this is a widely known disease there is not a definitive answer for what causes schizophrenia. There is evidence that shows that people with schizophrenia have abnormal brains and brain functions.
The most popular theories on the cause of it is that people are genetically predisposed to the disease. Other theories include infections, complication before birth that changes the brains of the individual and the person having problems with their immune system.Some complications that can occur can be as simple as the mother becoming dehydrated or coming down with the flu, mostly in the later months of pregnancy would this most likely affect the infant. The theory that says that people that are predisposed to schizophrenia and have some form of complication during pregnancy is called the double strike theory of schizophrenia.
Studies conducted by Sadnoff Mednick an d others goes on to back up this double strike theory of schizophrenia. Mednick’s research team followed of a group of children from birth to adulthood.Some of the children had one parent that was schizophrenic, another had two parents that were, and the third group did not have parents that had the disease. When the children finally grew up Mednick’s team took X rays of the patients brains to see if the ones with the highest predisposition for schizophrenia had any of the signs of an abnormal brain. Also since he was a supporter of the double strike theory he looked into whether they had any complications during pregnancy. Mednick and his team found that the ventricles of children with the highest predisposition were bigger than the children with a lower genetic predisposition (Lahey 84).This strongly supported the double strike theory of schizophrenia that Mednick supported. This showed that children that are more genetically predisposed to schizophrenia are more likely to contract the disease, and if the child had any birth complications during pregnancy it further enhances the likelihood of contracting the disease.
Once a person has the disease what can be done to cure or suppress the symptoms? The main way to treat schizophrenia is by taking medications. These medications (called antipsychotic drugs) help to get rid of the symptoms of the disease; however they do not cure it.The antipsychotic drugs merely give the patient temporary relief from the symptoms. To prevent the symptoms from returning the patient must regularly take the prescriptions. Other treatments or ways to help cope with the disease is through individual and group therapy, educating family and friends, and self-help groups. These can help the patient maintain a more normal social life.
As well as show the people closest to the patient how to help and understand how to better help the patient. However, without taking the antipsychotic drugs the other forms of treatment are rendered irrelevant.Without the medication to suppress the symptoms the other treatment options will not have nearly the impact they would otherwise. These medications work best to suppress the hallucinations and delusions that one may otherwise have. After several weeks of treatment the dopamine producing neurons are inactivated. The dopamine producing neurons are too responsive which leads to the hallucinations and delusions. Even though there is no end in sight for finding a cure or prevention for schizophrenia there is at least medication on the market to help the patients.
With Mednick’s findings one day if a cure is found then it will be easier to diagnose and help the people that have the disease. Until that day comes families and friends of the patient can at least do their part to help the patient live as normal a life as possible. Bibliography Stevens, L.
M. (2001-07-25). Schizophrenia.
JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association,286(4), 494. (2011-09-11). Schizophrenia; Building a better antipsychotic drug by treating schizophrenia’s cause. NewsRx science,, 34. Lahey, B. B.
(2011). Psychology An Introduction. New York, New York, United States: McGraw-Hill.