December 10, 2007
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s “Guide for the Treatment of Patients with Schizophrenia” antipsychotic medications are indicated for nearly all acute psychotic episodes in patients with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is defined as a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disease. Approximately 1% of the population develops schizophrenia. More than 2 million Americans suffer per year. Schizophrenia appears earlier in men, usually in the late teens or twenties.
There are several symptoms that allow a person who is diagnosed with this disease unable to function and in turn has to seek immediate treatment. Symptoms of schizophrenia include distorted perceptions of reality, hallucinations and illusions, delusions, distorted thinking, flat emotional expressions and normal vs. abnormal thinking patterns.
According to Schizophrenia.com there is no known single cause of schizophrenia. Research shows that abnormalities in the brain, such as enlargement of the fluid-filled cavities, known as the ventricles, in the interior of the brain and decreased metabolic activity in certain parts of the brain. Predisposition to substances, alcohol abuse, and biological factors has been known to determine someone’s likelihood of being diagnosed with schizophrenia. It is very difficult to identify this disease because there are numerous symptoms both negative and positive.
The positive symptoms include more manifestation of abnormal behavior like delusions, which is an obvious falsely held belief. The most common types are grandeur, which is defined as a false belief of greatness, and paranoia where someone can become very mistrusting and can refuse to eat or drink other people’s food. A paranoid person might also think that everyone is out to get them.
Negative symptoms include speech motivational behavior. Common symptoms include hallucinations where someone can experience a sensory event without input from surrounding environments and can involve all five senses. An auditory voice command is the most dangerous type of hallucination, it can make on think that there is a command coming from God, a witch of any other entity telling them to commit unspeakable acts.
Visual hallucinations are equally frightening; it can allow someone to think that there is something there that really isn’t, also sensing or smelling things that don’t exist. Absence of normal behavior can include avolition, which is the inability to participate and initiate activities and leads to improper hygiene and lack of apathy. Alogia, inappropriate verbal expression; anhedonia, lack of ability to experience pleasure, are more examples of symptoms that a person with schizophrenia will exhibit.
According to Medscape.com during the middle Ages and Renaissance Period witchcraft and demonic possession were considered to be the root of emotional disturbances. Confession and exorcism were therefore advocated as the means for overcoming and expelling these influences. The ranges of individuals to which these treatments were applied included patients with psychosis, dementia, schizophrenics and other’s that were severely mentally ill.