6 Schizophrenia If depression is the common cold of psychological disorders then schizophrenia is the cancer. It is a disease of the brain exhibited in symptoms of the mind.
7 Symptoms of Schizophrenia Literally translated, schizophrenia means “split mind”, referring to the split from reality that shows itself in disorganized thinking, disturbed perceptions, and inappropriate emotions and actions. It is the chief example of a psychotic disorder, one marked by irrationality and loss of contact with reality.
8 Other forms of delusions include, delusions of persecution (“someone is following me”) or grandeur (“I am a king”). Disorganized Thinking This morning when I was at Hillside [Hospital], I was making a movie. I was surrounded by movie stars … I’m Mary Poppins. Is this room painted blue to get me upset? My grandmother died four weeks after my eighteenth birthday.” (Sheehan, 1982) This monologue illustrates fragmented, bizarre thinking with distorted beliefs called delusions.
9 Disorganized Thinking Many psychologists believe disorganized thoughts occur because of a breakdown in selective attention the normal ability to give attention to one set of stimuli while filtering out others.
10 Disturbed Perceptions A schizophrenic person may perceive things that are not there (hallucinations). These can occur in any of the senses, but are most often auditory, frequently voices making insulting remarks or giving orders.
11 Inappropriate Emotions & Actions A schizophrenic person may laugh at the news of someone dying or show no emotion at all (flat affect). Patients with schizophrenia may continually rub an arm, rock a chair, or remain motionless for hours (catatonia).
12 Onset and Development of Schizophrenia Schizophrenia strikes young people as they mature into adults. It affects men and women but men tend to be struck earlier, more severely, and slightly more often. Patients with positive symptoms – the presence of inappropriate behaviors – may experience hallucinations, have disorganized speech, and exhibit inappropriate emotions. Those with negative symptoms – the absence of appropriate behaviors – may have toneless voices, expressionless faces, or rigid bodies.
13 Onset and Development of Schizophrenia When schizophrenia is slow to develop (chronic/process), usually displaying negative symptoms, recovery is doubtful. When schizophrenia rapidly develops (acute/reactive), usually showing positive symptoms, recovery is better. Art by a person diagnosed with schizophrenia
14 Understanding Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is actually a cluster of disorders. The subtypes share common features, but also have distinctive symptoms.
15 Brain Abnormalities Researchers found that schizophrenic patients express higher levels of dopamine D4 receptors in the brain. Brain scans show abnormal activity in the frontal cortex, thalamus, and amygdala of schizophrenic patients. Studies have also found large fluid-filled areas and an associated shrinking of cerebral tissue.
16 Maternal Virus During Midpregnancy Schizophrenia has also been observed in individuals who contracted a viral infection (flu) during the middle of their fetal development. Why might a second trimester flu put a fetus at risk? Is it the virus or the mother’s response to it? Or perhaps the medications taken?
17 Genetic Factors Evidence suggests that there is a genetic link in developing schizophrenia.
But not all identical twins share a schizophrenia diagnosis, so genes cannot be the whole story. Brains of identical twins, one with schizophrenia and the other without. 18 Genetic Factors
19 Psychological Factors Psychological and environmental factors can trigger schizophrenia if the individual is genetically predisposed (Nicol & Gottesman, 1983). Genain Sisters The genetically identical Genain sisters suffer from schizophrenia. Two more than others, thus there are contributing environmental factors. Courtesy of Genain Family