Schizophrenia Essay

2279 words - 9 pages

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that Encarta (2001) describes as an illness that results in delusional thought patterns, hallucinations, and inappropriate effect. It literally means “split-mind’, but is not a multiple personality disorder. According to DSM-IV (1996) schizophrenia is categorized under the diagnostic code, ICD-9-CM or International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification of 295.xx. Symptoms of schizophrenia can be positive, which occur during the active phase, and negative, which are present before the onset of the disorder. Positive symptoms of the disease include delusions of grandeur (a belief that one is a famous admired individual), delusion of control (when they believe something wants to control them), delusions of broadcasting (belief that another can read their minds or their thoughts are being aired on the radio), delusions of persecution, and thought withdrawal (belief that their thoughts have been removed from their brain). Negative symptoms include anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure), alogia (disorganized speech), and flat affect (when the individual does not show any emotion even in situations that strong reactions are expected).
According to the DSM-IV (1996) one must fall under these explicit categories in order to be diagnosed with schizophrenia:
A.     Characteristic Symptoms: Two (or more) of the following, each present for a significant portion of time during a one-month period (or less if successfully treated):
1.     Delusions
2.     Hallucinations
3.     Disorganized speech (e.g.. Frequent derailment or incoherence)
4.     Grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior
5.     Negative symptoms, i.e., affective flattening, alogia, or avolition
Note: Only one Criterion A symptom is required if delusions are bizarre or hallucinations consist of a voice keeping up a running commentary on the person’s behavior or thoughts, or two or more voices conversing with each other.
B.     Social/occupational dysfunction: For a significant portion of the time since the onset of the disturbance, one or more major areas of functioning such as work, interpersonal relations, or self-care are markedly below the level achieved prior to the onset (or when the onset is in childhood or adolescence, failure to achieve expected level of interpersonal, academic, or occupational achievement).

C.     Duration: Continuous signs of the disturbance persist for at least six months. This six month period must include at least one month of symptoms (or less if successfully treated) that meet Criterion A (i.e., active-phase symptoms- and may include periods of prodromal or residual symptoms. During these prodromal or residual periods, the signs of the disturbance may be manifested by only negative symptoms or two...

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