The Stigma of Schizophrenia


Schizophrenia is defined as a sever disorder in where somone suffers from messy thoughts, inexplicable behavior, delusions, along with being in able to distinguish between fantasy and reality (Ciccarelli & White). This disorder is surrounded by the fear of the unknown aspects of it. It can be dangerous yet in other ways it can be beautiful. In order to see the beauty and sadness, you need to understand the types of schizophrenia, their effects, and a few of the different treatments. Spending years in a psychotic state while everyone around him thought he was simply a drug addict destroyed many cognitive functions. (KHANKHOJE, M., LAWSON, S., & DALY, J. ,2014). Schizophrenia can be very impactful yet invisible. This quote is from a letter written by Jane Daily, sister of a man that committed suicide. He had self-medicated by using drugs and alcohol to try and rid himself of the voices in his head. Instead of getting the help that he needed, everyone wrote him off as a drug addict. Schizophrenia can affect others as well as those who have the mental disorder. He had believed his fate was to be heavily medicated, in terror, being committed to the hospital multiple times (KHANKHOJE, 2014).

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Subtypes of schizophrenia

Some Subtypes of schizophrenia include paranoid, disorganized or hebephrenic, catatonic, and childhood schizophrenia ( , 2018). Men usually develop symptoms earlier then women, and people do not usually develop schizophrenia after the age of 45 (Schizophrenia Treatment and Causes on, N/A). Each subtype of schizophrenia can be distinguished by their unique effects on the brain and behaviors of those with each subtype of the disorder.


Paranoid schizophrenia is generally defined by auditory hallucinations and thoughts that the people are out to get them. It is also one of the more common subtypes of schizophrenia (Cagliostro, 2018). Delusions separate it from other forms of schizophrenia, and the patient cannot see the proof against their delusions. Along with the fear of the government going after them, the can also have delusions of grandeur. This is where they believe they are very important because their minds can do incredible things that others cannot. A 32-year-old man with paranoid schizophrenia abused the use of Datura stramonium, also known as the devils snare, over the course of three years (Khanra, S. s., Khess, C. j., & Srivastava, N. n., 2015). The devils snare is a part of the nightshade family, a highly psychotic and toxic plant. The man was later given a standard treatment of antipsychotics and had shown improvement. The study concluded that D. stramonium is an emerging psychoactive material and has been used across the world (Khanra, 2015). This new drug has deadly properties yet continues to be abused and used for self-medicating.


Disorganized schizophrenia is defined by disorganized behavior and speech, including emotional expression (Hurley, 2018) People that are diagnosed with disorganized schizophrenia may have issues with setting and achieving goals. According to PSYCOM, lack of impulse control and behaviors that lack purpose can also contribute to a decline in daily functioning (Hurley, 2018). Lack of impulse control can have a negative effect in many situations. When the person with the disorder may react to a situation, such as constructive criticism with violent anger, the person who the anger is directed towards may not know of the disorder. Thus, they would react differently and escalate the situation even further. The pointless movement could also contribute to any tensions if a class mate or coworker does not know of the others disorder.


Catatonic schizophrenia affects a person’s movement, to the point where they exhibit reduction in activity, where voluntary movement my stop (M. B. (2016, July 17)). They may also exhibit catatonic excitement, where they become agitated and have seemingly pointless movement. The severity of the movement or lack there of tends to mirror the severity of the underlying condition, which does not only include schizophrenia, but also other mood disorders and medical and neurological conditions (Doran, E., & Sheehan, J. D. (2018). Catatonia does not have absolute guidelines for diagnosis or treatment. During a 15-year treatment course, 49-year-old women was being treated for her catatonic schizophrenia with antipsychotics (Doran, E., & Sheehan, J. D., 2018). However, there was a correlation between her catatonic episodes and decreased daylight exposure (Doran, 2018). This correlation could be due to a break in schedule, or perhaps sun or the lack of sun could have an effect on the mood of the individual.


Childhood schizophrenia is similar to adult schizophrenia, in that it is a disorder that impairs clarification uncharacteristically. The difference is that the symptoms are at an early to adolescent age (Mayo, 2016). Early on-set schizophrenia is considered uncommon, and those diagnosed under the age of 13 is extremely rare (Mayo, 2016). Childhood schizophrenia is a challenging disorder to detect because children can show signs of symptoms that have nothing to do with schizophrenia (Mayo, 2016). Symptoms observed at such a young age could point to other mental disorders, not limited to schizophrenia. Asperger’s syndrome has similar symptoms in adolescents, and that can affect the diagnosis of either developmental disorder (Waris, 2013).


Psychotherapy as a treatment of schizophrenia includes an investigation of the relationships of the patient and creating a level of trust with the patient (Sanford, N. (1953). Another method of treatment is medication, one of those medications is risperidone. This antipsychotic drug had a positive effect, improving long-term outcome by reducing relapse in some patients (Dubois, 2011). Shock treatment was another method of the treatment of schizophrenia. The main idea of shock treatment is to induce seizures in order to provide release from mental disorders. These treatments ranged from frequent to innumerous and often damaged important brain tissue (Rabin, 1948). A group of women that had not been treated with shock therapy within 5 year were treated with verbal reinforcement (Martin, 1978). Negative reinforcement proved to be more effective then negative reinforcement on the schizophrenic test subjects.


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