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The Science of Diagnosis and Schizophrenia

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Queen's University
PSYC 100

Schizophrenia -collection of disorders characterized by chronic and significant breaks from reality, a lack of integration of thoughts and emotions, and serious problems with attention and memory -Five subtypes, each has different symptoms, but all characterized by: -delusions -hallucinations -disorganized speech -grossly disorganized -catatonic behaviour -negative symptoms -can be diagnosed on the basis of one symptom that is bizarre -Classification: -Schizophrenia -Schizophreniform Disorder- symptoms last one to six months -Schizoaffective Disorder- experiences a mood episode while having symptoms of schizophrenia Hallucinations- false perceptions of reality Delusions-false beliefs about reality -Delusions of Persecution- paranoia -Delusions of Grandeur (megalomania) -Delusion of Control Paranoid/Delusional Schizophrenia-symptoms include delusional beliefs that one is being followed, watched, or persecuted, and may also include delusions of grandeur (believing you are Jesus, the Pope, or the President) -delusions that are not bizarre and could happen in real life Disorganized Schizophrenia-symptoms include thoughts, speech, behavior, and emotion that are poorly integrated and incoherent -may show inappropriate, unpredictable mannerisms Positive Disorganized Behaviour-over-inclulsion -clang speech -neologisms -echolalia -behaviour is inappropriate for the situation -inappropriate affect is expressed -catatonic behaviour Catatonic Schizophrenia-symptoms include episodes in which a person remains mute and immobile for extended periods -may show repetitive and purposeless movements Undifferentiated Schizophrenia- combination of symptoms from more than one type of schizophrenia Residual Schizophrenia- some symptoms of schizophrenia but are either in transition to a full episode or in remission Brief Psychotic Disorder- episode of psychotic symptoms that lasts between one day and one month Shared Psychotic Disorder (Folie à Deux) - development of a delusion that is similar to a delusion already held by someone close to the individual Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder- symptoms are directly linked of drugs and medication Positive Symptoms-behaviours that shouldn’t occur, such as confused and paranoid thinking, and inappropriate emotional reactions -reflects an excess or distortion of a normal function -involves the presence of maladaptive behavior Negative Symptoms-the absence of adaptive behaviour, such as lack of speech and motivation -reflects a diminution or loss of normal function -difficulty in showing emotion and empathy -males earlier onset -no more violent than non-mentally ill people -average IQ is slightly lower than average -difficulty in social interaction because of the difficulty in reasoning about social situations and show relatively poor social adjustment -several cognitive problems, from basic to academic, which involves the pre-frontal cortex, a brain region showing significant neurological decline, and works with the memory system which keeps track of thought processes, handles memory tasks, and organizes conversations, which explains the difficulty in speech and organized thoughts Explaining Schizophrenia -the chance that a relative of a person with it will increase their chance of developing the disorder -genes contribute to it, but behavioral genetic studies cannot determine which specific genes -a noticeable neurological characteristic is the difference is size of the brain ventricles, the fluid- filled spaces occurring within the core of the brain-> larger ventricular spaces correspond to a loss in brain matter -brain has a reduced volume which can be found in structures such as the amygdala and hippocampus -anatomical changes may not cause the disorder, but is a symptom -lower levels of activity in their frontal lobes when they are at rest or when doing cognitive tasks -overactive receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine can be involved in producing positive symptoms-> dopamine is one of the chemicals used in the brain to communicate among brain cells -glutamate is underactive in brain regions, including the hippocampus and the frontal cortex-> receptor activity is inhibited by the drug PCP (angel drug), which in high does can cause symptoms that mirror schizophrenia -more likely to occur in babies born in the winter months, because the brain develops a great deal during the second trimester, which coincides with the flu season during the winter -extreme cases of traumatic experiences during pregnancy can increase the chance of schizophrenia -After birth, head injuries, substance abuse, and psychosocial stress-> challenges posed by the environment, can increase the chance of schizophrenia -Different cultural perspectives are evident-> some cultures focus on mental experiences, others on the effects of the body Neurodevelopmental Hypothesis-irregular biological ad environmental factors interact during infant and child development to produce schizophrenic symptoms -Prodrome- collection of characteristics that resemble mild forms of schizophrenia symptoms Substance-Related Disorders Psychoactive Substance-a chemical that acts on the central nervous system -causes changes in emotion, perception, and thoughts -may not lead to a disorder -Two types: -Substance-Use Disorders- dependence and abuse -Su
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