Schizophrenia is a major psychiatric disorder that usually interferes with an individual’s behavior, thoughts, and moods. It is a condition that is commonly transmitted through genetics or identical twins suffering from the disease. Schizophrenia was initially classified as a disorder in the early 1990s during the discovery of neuropathological features. The disease is usually connected to the chemistry and composition of the brain. For instance, a survey has shown that an increase in intake of marijuana during adolescence can lead to the disorder. However, malnutrition before infancy has also been identified as the possible cause of the disorder. The effects of the disorder are usually pervasive when not controlled at early stages. This paper discusses the psychotic schizophrenia disorder at childhood.
Schizophrenia disorder has been discussed in different disciplines since its discovery. This aspect has contributed to the development of the modern concept of the disease. Flack, Miller, and Wiener have pointed out that schizophrenia concept evolved from the European societies. Therefore, for an individual to understand the detailed information, he/she must be provided with the ontological and epistemological assumptions. There have been incongruities about the real characteristics of the disease in antiquity and the contemporary societies. However, a consensus is that the view of the disease is that it can be defined as primarily functional in nature. According to Flack, Miller, and Wiener, a wide range of factors affecting the fetal development is associated with schizophrenia risk. The study revealed such factors as maternal infections, deficiency in nutrition’s and complications during pregnancy. Another survey has shown that prenatal infection and exposure to traumatizing experiences from childhood to adolescence also has significant influence on this psychotic disorder. This is because the prenatal period is associated with vulnerability to adverse life conditions that give chances to the disorder. Over a decade ago, the remarkable progress was made in delineating the social cognitive behaviors that accompany this impairment. Nonetheless, nothing has been found about the neural circuitries that support the behaviors. This aspect has raised suspicion that increased smoking of marijuana for the parents makes them transmit the disorder to their children. Meyer and Nasrallah have identified genetics variations associated with schizophrenia. Their primary objectives were proving that the modern genetic, which is related to schizophrenia, affect the development of the brain and the function.
From the clinical psychology perspective, studies have shown that schizophrenia is associated with low self-directedness. This aspect implies the lack of internal organizational principle which often results to hallucination. The dopamine hypothesis showed that symptoms of schizophrenia result from lack of regulation in the central nervous system. However, the excess synthesis of these chemicals often leads to delusions.
From the community psychological perspective, schizophrenia comes from social and environmental stressors. For instance, on environmental stressors, it is caused by residing in urban environments that is extremely polluted. The inhalation of the hazardous fumes from the factories and social isolation may also lead to trauma. In addition, the stress from experiences like pharmacological stresses of marijuana makes the vulnerable to the condition.
The Key Characteristics of Schizophrenia
Hallucinations usually characterize schizophrenia. This point implies that they experience situations in their sensory systems that the ordinary people do not. According to Flack, Miller, and Wiener, the most typical type of hallucination experienced is auditory. Another characteristic is that schizophrenics usually have beliefs that are different from the reality. They usually experience delusions. For instance, they may believe that somebody is haunting them, an experience described as a paranoid delusion. The post mortem of the brain tissues of schizophrenics usually indicate some damaged brain cells.
Schizophrenics also exhibit impairments in their speech and social life. Their speech is often not easy to comprehend and is vague. This symptom is usually visible when they reach their adolescent stage. They tend to talk and exhibit magical thinking that is characterized by mild hallucinations. However, in rare situations, they become calm and motionless due to the slow response to actions. Therefore, their emotional responses are usually not accurate. For instance, they can burst into laughter for no apparent reason.
The disorganized type of schizophrenics will showcase marked regression to primitive. In children below 10-years-old, one can see insomnia and lack of motivation. They usually alienate themselves from family members. Sometimes saliva may come out of their mouths uncontrollably.
They may also show a sudden drop in academic performance. At times, these symptoms may be difficult to recognize, but they usually build up gradually. However, it would not be liberal to conclude a child is schizophrenic without seeking medical intervention. It is usually advisable that whenever these signs are noticed, parents should take the obligation of seeing a professional doctor.
Antecedents and Consequences
There are several antecedents leading to schizophrenia. Firstly, this disorder is genetic. A large percentage of those suffering from schizophrenia inherit it from their parents or ancestors. As a matter of fact, the closer one is related to a person who has the disorder, the higher the risk of him/her developing it. This case is even worse for identical twins who have the greatest chance of inheriting the disorder from their parents. It has been found that people who have the disorder have high genetic mutations of rare genes. The high rate of these genes usually disrupts the normal brain developments leading to the complication. Furthermore, it can occur when a particular gene that is vital in the release of a brain chemical fails to function correctly or as required. As a result, the brain is affected, and it cannot carry out its functions like higher skill thus a person gets affected.
Another important fact to mention is the overlap and interconnections of other disorders. The existence of other psychiatric complications like autism, bipolar disorders, and others may contribute to the occurrence of schizophrenia. These disorders cause calcium imbalance in the brain. Malnutrition is another factor that accelerates the rate of schizophrenia development. Mothers who fail to take a balanced diet or feed well can expose the unborn to the risk of developing this disorder. The situation is so because it is a brain-related disorder. Therefore, the brain requires certain nutrients to develop fully. However, malnutrition contributes to poor brain development particularly at early stages leading to the disease. Furthermore, some children may face starvation after birth, especially in famine or poverty stricken regions. In such cases, both the body and the brain require certain nutrients for them to develop normally. Failure to this leads to mental problems and general body weakness.
The use of some drugs like marijuana, alcohol, and smoking have been associated with schizophrenia. The use of these street drugs mostly occurs at teenage. Most schizophrenia cases have been found to be linked to substance use at adolescence. This effect is highly felt because it is at this age that the brain experiences high development and is prone to damage. In case the brain is triggered by anything at this stage, it may be affected significantly. Therefore, anyone who has the predisposition to the disorder and happens to abuse drugs at this age is likely to develop it. The younger a person smokes drugs like cannabis, the sooner he/she develops the disease. The effect of drug abuse is evident when some of the schizophrenia patients experience hallucinations as one of the symptoms.
Stressful life events, especially in childhood, are also potential causes of the disorder. Some of these situations may be inadequate housing, discrimination at childhood or any other disturbing occurrence in the mind of a child. Divorce among parents has been known to expose children to schizophrenia. Those who are weaker may not be in a position to fight the consequences of a divorce at their tender age hence developing the disorder. Children who have undergone sexual abuse may be unable to resist the trauma hence making them victims of the disorder.
Analysis Using Model
A borderline model is one of a schizophrenia patient who was admitted to a hospital. The man was taken to the hospital because he had hallucination issues. He got treated and improved significantly. He started being an active member in therapy section. However, he rarely socializes with people, particularly with the neighbors apart from those in therapy. He likes watching movies and comedies with the other patients in the therapy chamber. However, the sad bit is that he never laughs in case of a joke though he seems to be very attentive. This behavior is a clear indication that he has other emotional stress. He finally declared that he feels uncomfortable in the therapy room because he does not see his dog.
A related classical case is of a patient who was taken to a therapist but has never had any mental associated problem in the past. Her problem was that she has lost interest in life and wanted to fight the boredom she was experiencing. She also was not motivated in doing anything. Going by these problems, her friend ordered an appointment for her so that she would see a therapist. She also complained of frustration in her place of work and did not feel like applying for an alternative. All in all, she denied of being unhappy but hated engaging in social events like parties. She used to like shopping and running but no longer likes doing them. At the same time, if she engages in these events, she seems to love it.
On a contrary case model, a high school girl claims that she hates English subject. Since her childhood, she has never enjoyed reading and hates the whole thing. When given English assignments, she decides to play with her friends instead of doing the homework. She sometimes says that she likes high school life but hates the reading and doing homework. It is evident that she has problems concentrating but refutes it. At times, she becomes very emotional and may cry, laugh uncontrollably or show a high degree of sadness.
In conclusion, schizophrenia is a disorder that has troubled effected people as it is difficult to deal with. Many researches have been done all over the world, but the issue has remained a bother in the medical field. Treating the disorder is not easy but the effects can be controlled. For this matter, people should try as much as possible to avoid factors that predispose one to the disorder. The genetic factor may be tricky to handle because nobody can control this. Nonetheless, people, especially adolescents, should avoid substance abuse as this increases their risk of developing the complication. Parents are responsible for taking balanced diets during pregnancy, feeding their children well at the tender age and avoiding exposing kids to stressful situations. Practicing these measures will play a vital role in curbing the problem.