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Applied Psychology: Schizophrenia Essay

2247 words - 9 pages

As scientists are discovering more about what guides human behavior, it is becoming apparent that there is a connection between the mind and the body. A person’s psychological experiences, such as his or her thoughts and emotions, are directly tied to his or her physiological responses. It is thought that our behavior and emotions are orchestrated by a series of chemical and electrical impulses carried out throughout the body. The brain is seen as the master switch that organizes and sends signals to the appropriate areas to illicit the desired response. Many mental disorders are believed to have a biological origin and it is imperative that psychologist have an understanding of these ...view middle of the document...

The individual is usually thought to have suffered a break from reality. The symptoms of the disorder are often separated by either “positive” or “negative” categories. Long (2005) states positive traits refer to behaviors that are present, and should be absent, while negative traits are behaviors that are absent that should be present. Some positive symptoms that individuals with schizophrenia commonly experience are delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and behavior (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV-R, 2000). The DSM-IV-R states that the hallucinations can involve olfactory, visual, or tactile sensations, but auditory hallucinations are the most common. Delusional thinking, paranoia and grandiose thinking are also common traits. These psychotic symptoms often halts the person’s development of the social skills necessary to function effectively in society and negatively impacts the ability to maintain employment (Tarrier & Wykes, 2004). Pies (2004) states the negative symptoms of the disorder also disrupt the ability of the individual to function interpersonally. She lists several negative qualities that contribute to this. Avolition, or difficulty initiating behavior, makes seeking out employment or engaging socially challenging. Affective flattening, or a restrictive range of emotional expression, leads others to perceive the individuals as disengaged and uninterested. Interpersonal interactions are also made more difficult by alogia, speech that is reduced in content and amount. However, there is no typical schizophrenic presentation. The disorder generally presents as a cluster of both positive and negative symptoms unique to the individual (Long, 2005), and the DSM-IV-R (2000) states that these behaviors must be present for six months for the psychosis to be diagnosed as schizophrenia. Individuals also experience difficulty in cognitive functioning, such as memory, attention and carrying out goal directed behavior. However, Long states that it is difficult to tell if this is predates the onset of the disorder or is another symptom of the psychosis. Schizophrenia more often then not progresses slowly over time. Researchers believe that although the majority of individuals who develop this mental illness show signs of problems in early childhood, most of these symptoms are not specific enough to determine any outcome with absolute certainty. In a study of the general population, Corcoran et al. (2003) found that individuals with schizophrenia experienced more developmental delays as children, such as sitting, walking, ant talking, then did their peers. However, they also indicated that these delays are common among those that will go on to develop other disorders as well. Researchers have been able to identify a “prodromal” period which is predictive of a future psychotic break (Pies, 2004), however the presences of these symptoms does not necessarily indicate a future diagnosis of...

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