Schizophrenia: Life Threatening

“Schizophrenia is a serious mental health disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally,” states the Mayo Clinic, one the nation’s largest and most respected medical facilities. Individuals experiencing schizophrenic symptoms may struggle with hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disorder thinking or behavior that impairs the daily functioning of an individual (Mayo Clinic 1). . Individuals must seek treatment and care for this disorder as it is lifelong and threatening to the growth of an individual and their mental, physical and emotional state.

Schizophrenia has a large range of problems with behavior, cognition, and emotions.

Delusions are a large side effect brought on by schizophrenia. Delusions are false beliefs that are not based on reality, says Parekh a psychological doctor, (2017). Someone with schizophrenia may believe that they are being harassed or harmed. In schizophrenic patients, delusions are the most common and frequent symptom of the known and treated individuals. Hallucinations are another symptom that is related to schizophrenia. Hallucinations can be described as the information one sees or hears that do not exist in the real world.

Hallucinations can be in the form of any of your senses- including vision, smell, sound, or touch (Parekh 2017). In the world of schizophrenic patients, individuals who can hear voices is the most commonly known sense of hallucination.

Disorganized thinking and speech are commonly linked to patients who are diagnosed with schizophrenia (Parekh 2017). When one experiences disorganized thinking or speech their effective communication is impaired. An individual may try to answer different questions but not give a sensible answer or an answer that is in any way related to the topic that was under discussion.

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Another symptom that is experienced by many of the diagnosed and undiagnosed cases of schizophrenia is extremely disorganized or abnormal motor behavior (Parekh 2017). This can be seen as someone who acts childlike and rambunctious or as someone who has very unpredictable and agitated motor behavior. An individual may resist specific given instructions, act inappropriately in situations, be completely oblivious and unable to respond, or perform excessive and useless motions without thought (Parekh 2017). All of these symptoms can be seen in combinations and vary over time. They may become more severe and change in what type of threat they bring on the individual. When these symptoms come together, they can develop very severe mental health risks.

In earlier times mental health disorders were not understood and often times overlooked. Individuals were not receiving the medical assistance that they needed to have in order to fight these mental battles. Many of the mental health related disorders were not categorized as individual disorders. Schizophrenia became linked to less mild disorders like depression and all the way to the most extreme end of the autism spectrum (Burton 2012). As the society so quickly related all these conditions together, they linked the cause to be from supernatural activity, demonic possession, sin punishment, or being the spawn of evil spirits. People effected by these supposedly demonic spirits were sent to a priest in hopes of them being able to perform an exorcism to release spirits that were overtaking the human’s body (Burton 2012). Most of societal, personal, and health problems we linked to religion in earlier times. Alongside exorcisms, hospitals would perform surgeries on these individuals who were suspected to have mental disorders, specifically schizophrenia. This surgery was called trepanation (Historical and Contemporary). Surgeons would drill holes into the skulls of the subject’s head with a tool called a trepan, this surgery extracted a portion of the skull with thought that it would liberate the demons from the heads of the mentally ill (Gross 1). These remedies to heal were ultimately discarded in developed countries as they were seen to be cruel and unmoral.

In 1887, the first formal description of schizophrenia was created by Dr. Emile Kraepelin. The doctor used the term “dementia preacox” which ultimately means early dementia. He wanted there to be a fine line between the understanding of late and early onset dementia (Ebert 2010). Though he accurately depicted that schizophrenia was disease in the mind, he failed to understand that this was NOT a form of dementia. Over time the disorder got more attention and new discoveries were being made. In 1911, a Swiss psychiatrist, Euglen Bleuler coined the term “schizophrenia” to the mental disorder that was confused by so many (Historical and Contemporary 1). Along with constituting the name, he developed the first set of “positive” and “negative” symptoms. Both Kraepelin and Bleuler perceived that the symptoms gravitated to separate clusters. The two scientists developed a typology of schizophrenic subtypes (Historical and Contemporary 1). These subtypes are still used today, these categories are commonly known as being paranoid, disorganized, catatonic, residual, and a cluster solely based for undifferentiated subtypes (Historical and Contemporary 1).

In 1959, Kurt Schneider, a German Psychiatrist from Crailsheim in the Kingdom of Wuttemberg, listed the “first rank” features of the disease (Historical and Contemporary 1). This was a crucial development in the understanding of the disorders. This helped in understanding that schizophrenia was different and unrelated to other mental disorders. This discovery was a major push in societal change towards mental health as two books were developed due to this discovery- these books being the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as stated by Burton a medical professional specializing in psychiatry. These books helped society create a better understanding on the importance of mental health and the austerity of schizophrenia on the individuals who are affected.

As schizophrenia started to become more classified as its own disorder, theories were beginning to surface as to how the disease is caused. Gregory Bateson and his coworkers created the idea of the “double blind” in the 1950’s (Burton 2012). This idea proposed that schizophrenia was caused by different forms of bad parenting. The theory specifically stated that schizophrenia is a result of parents who clearly state one idea but mean something but negate with unconscious ideas of something else (Historical and Contemporary 1). This theory lacked scientific evidence and was discredited at an early time (Historical and Contemporary 1). However, though the proposal lacked scientific evidence, it began to assist in the development of new theories. All of these theories came to one conclusion- schizophrenia is life threatening.

As schizophrenia started to become more classified as its own disorder, theories were beginning to surface as to how the disease is caused. Gregory Bateson and his coworkers created the idea of the “double blind” in the 1950’s (Burton 2012). This idea proposed that schizophrenia was caused by different forms of bad parenting. The theory specifically stated that schizophrenia is a result of parents who clearly state one idea but mean something but negate with unconscious ideas of something else (Historical and Contemporary 1). This theory lacked scientific evidence and was discredited at an early time (Historical and Contemporary 1). However, though the proposal lacked scientific evidence, it began to assist in the development of new theories. All of these theories came to one conclusion- schizophrenia is life threatening.

Although several ideas surfaced, the etiology of schizophrenia is poorly understood. Just as several other mental health disorders it is often thought to be multifactorial. Several different aspects of one’s life can come to together to help in forming the diagnosis of schizophrenia the disorder is said to act in ways of small-effects and large-effects (Schizophrenia 1). These factors work together to create a mind disorder that is alarming, complex, and life threatening

The diathesis- stress model of schizophrenia proposed that people can be vulnerable to the mental health disorder (Neidhart, Benson et al 2019). To have a diathesis means to have a vulnerability. This theory proposes that people may have a predisposition for schizophrenia. An individual may become more vulnerable to the mental health disorder depending on their genetics, biology, and experience (Causes-Schizophrenia 2019). These predispositions cannot solely onset schizophrenia in an individual. This model states that people’s vulnerabilities must interact with a stressful event or many stressful events. “In accordance to this theory if you have a high vulnerability to schizophrenia, less stressful events are capable of on setting schizophrenia- vice versa to this if an individual has less of a predisposition for the psychiatric illness, a more stressful event is needed to onset schizophrenia “ as said by Neidhart and Benson two doctors of genetics and psychology relations. The combination of physical, genetic, psychological, and environmental factors can make an individual more prone to the development of a schizophrenic condition.

One can increase their risk of developing a schizophrenic condition through genetics. Schizophrenia runs throughout family history. This does not mean that a single gene is to blame for the diagnosis of schizophrenia (Causes- Schizophrenia 2019). The diagnosis is when a combination of genes makes people more vulnerable and predisposed to the condition (Neidhart, benson et. Al 2019). If you have the gene pattern of your family that is predisposed to schizophrenia, you are not necessarily guaranteed to become schizophrenic (Schizophrenia 2019). There must be another onset that can come in contact with the individual in order for the disorder to take flight as a health risk. Along with genetics, schizophrenic patients have shown similar symptoms during their births. Schizophrenic individuals may have had a low birth weight, a premature labor, problems with the brain connections while in the womb, or asphyxia- the lack of oxygen- during birth (Causes-Schizophrenia 2019) At a very young, and high developmental stage in their life this can often lead to neurodevelopmental dysfunctions.

With years of brain examinations done to schizophrenic patients it has been found that there are very small differences in the structure of schizophrenic individuals brains starting from a very young age and continuing throughout the lifespan (Neidhart, Benson et. al) The brain changes and differences are not always seen in every patient diagnosed with schizophrenia as they can also occur in people who do not have any mental illness diagnosis either. “The evidence we have received and gained over time has brought us to see that in schizophrenic patients there are several brain abnormalities that correspond to the disorder In some instances we see structural deviations such as having an enlarged lateral and third ventricle, a loss and low level of gray matter, frontal lobe, and temporal lobe volume, and even including a total reduction in the size of one’s brain” (Neidhart, Benson et. al page 1). This dysfunction can lead to bodily functioning abnormalities such as dysfunctions in your left hemisphere and hypofrontality. (Neidhart 2019). These findings can also be known as non-specific- meaning that they can also be seen in other mental health and cognitive related disorders.

The connection between neurotransmitters, the chemicals that carry messages between brain cells, has also been linked as possible cause to schizophrenic conditions (Causes- Schizophrenia 2019). Scientists’ believe that the brain chemicals or neurotransmitters may be chemically imbalanced these biochemical changes are noticed most prominently in the chemicals of dopamine, glutamate, serotonin, and y-aminobutyric acid (Mental Health Organization). A ruling theory of schizophrenia diagnosis and neurotransmitters has been related to the body’s dopamine system. This idea comes from two dimensions of observations. The first dimension relates to the potency of standard AP medication in correspondence with the amount of the dopamine D2 receptor blockage (Neidhart, Benson et. al 1). “These D2 receptors are G-proteins coupled receptors that are made up of seven membrane spanning segments whereby the amino terminal is extracellular and carboxyl terminal is intracellular,” according to Flavio Guzman (2019) from the Psychopharmacology Institution.

The second dimension presents itself to us through the idea that drugs such as amphetamines- particularly drugs that enhance the dopamine system, can cause psychosis or exacerbate schizophrenic symptoms. Schizophrenic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions are associated with hyperactivity of the dopamine mesolimbic system (Guzman 1). When a neurotransmitter is imbalanced and offset from the normal reactions of the people, the brain will react differently to stimuli. This helps us to understand as to why people with schizophrenia can become overwhelmed by sensory type of information leading to hallucinations and delusion (Guzman 2019). These developmentally deviated functions such as alterations in neuroplasticity and impaired connectivity of neurotransmitters can assist in the onset of schizophrenia as a severe mental health related disorder.

As explained in the diathesis-theory schizophrenia often onsets through triggers. Triggers are things that can cause schizophrenia to develop in people who have a predisposition or vulnerability to the disorder. These triggers are often related and coined under one term- stress. Stress is a psychological impact that onsets mental or emotional strain on an individual due to adverse or very demanding complications. Losing your job, ending an important relationship, bereavement, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse are all common trigger seen amongst several of our diagnosed schizophrenic patients. Stress and anxiety related disorders are often correlated to the diagnosis of schizophrenia in patients across the world.

Another commonly seen trigger is come on through drug abuse. Again, these triggers do not directly cause schizophrenia but practices like drug abuse can increase the risk of the development of schizophrenia. Certain drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, LSD or amphetamines are strong triggers to people who have a predisposing to schizophrenia (Schizophrenia 1). Drug abuse effects your neurodevelopment (Is alcohol a depressant? 1). The use of drugs leaves devastating impacts on the central nervous system.

With a large range of findings brought to us in research towards the etiology of schizophrenia. There still is no discrete and articulate idea as to how this disease is onset. Schizophrenia is seen to be multifactorial and very significant. As a society we have been presented with theories and ideas that relate to the genetic, environmental and clinical theories in correspondence with schizophrenia (Neidhart, Benson et. al). Schizophrenia is a complex disorder brought together by several factors, theories, and comprehensive research. In modern day science, schizophrenia is still unclear, but scientists are making constant advancements to understand how to better the mental health world.

When one is medically diagnosed with schizophrenia, they must undergo a specific process and validation from a medical professional. To be diagnosed with schizophrenia specifically, the mental health specialist must rule out all other mental health disorders through a physical exam. Along with ruling out other possible cognitive, physical, or any other complicated related disorder, the medical official must also ensure that the deviant behavior is not due to only substance abuse, medications, or a physical medical condition (Neidhart, Benson et. al). A medical professional will then take their patient and perform different types of tests and screening. This can be done through MRi technology or CT scans. Doctors and scientists come together to analyze these brain abnormalities through computed tomography, also known as CT scans, and magnetic resonance imaging technology which we hear mostly as an MRi.

These abnormalities have been prevalent through several of our known schizophrenic cases (Boundless 1). Next, a doctor or a mental health specialist will check the mental status of the patients. These medical professionals will do so through the analyzation of one’s appearance and demeanor. Along with analyzing the patient’s appearance and demeanor, these officials will ask questions pertaining to the individual’s thoughts, moods, delusions, hallucinations, substance use, and more in-depth questions related to their consideration of violence or suicide. While also evaluating the patient themselves, the mental health professionals choose to investigate and understand the patient’s family history that is correlated to the mental health disorder they are speculating and other health related issues (Schizophrenia 1). After all of the patient analyzation is over, medical professionals will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to diagnosis a patient with schizophrenia.

Once you have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, medical professional swill immediately tries to set you up with a treatment method that works for your body specifically. Schizophrenia treatment is lifelong as there is no “cure” to the mental health disorder. There may be incidences where schizophrenic symptoms may subside, but in order to keep a patient mentally healthy the schizophrenic treatment methods must be continued. Most patients undergo medicinal treatment alongside psychosocial therapy to manage their condition. In some very severe cases, patients may be hospitalized for their own personal safety. Several health care workers come together when trying to manage a patient with schizophrenia. Psychiatrists work alongside psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses and even case managers to have a full approach to ensure the safety of the patient.

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Schizophrenia: Life Threatening. (2022, Jul 15). Retrieved from

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