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Schizophrenia

Positive Symptoms and Negative Symptoms of schizophrenia. Discuss at least two of each and the difference between positive and negative symptoms.

Positive symptoms reflect an excess or distortion of normal functioning. Positive symptoms include delusions (false beliefs), hallucinations (false perceptions), and severely disorganized thought processes, speech, and behavior. A delusion is a false belief that persists in spite of compelling contradictory evidence. The delusional person ignores any evidence that contradicts his erroneous beliefs, and often becomes preoccupied with them. Schizophrenic delusions are often so convincing that they can provoke inappropriate or bizarre behavior. Delusional thinking may lead the dangerous behaviors. Hallucinations are false or distorted perceptions that seem vividly real. The content of hallucinations is often tied to the person’s delusional beliefs. The content of hallucinations and delusions may also be influenced by culture and religiosity. Negative symptoms reflect an absence or reduction of normal functions, such as greatly reduced motivation, emotional expressiveness, or speech. One commonly seen negative symptom is referred to as flat affect or affective flattening. Regardless of the situation, the person responds in an emotionally “flat” way, showing a dramatic reduction in emotional responsiveness and facial expressions. Speech is slow and monotonous, lacking normal vocal inflictions. A closely related negative symptom is alogia, or greatly reduction production of speech. In alogia, verbal responses are limited to brief, empty comments.

What neurotransmitter is mentioned as contributing to schizophrenic symptoms? How do drug treatments alter this neurotransmitter’s level? What are some of the problems with these drug treatments?

According to the dopamine hypothesis, schizophrenia is related to excessive activity of dopamine in the brain. Antipsychotic drugs, such as Haldol, Throazine, and Stelazine, reduce or block dopamine activity in the brain. These drugs reduce schizophrenic symptoms in many people. Amphetamines and cocaine enhance dopamine activity and can produce schizophrenic-like symptoms in normal adults or increase symptoms in people who already have schizophrenia. Not all schizophrenics experiences a reduction of symptoms in response to the antipsychotic drugs that reduce dopamine activity. The problem with these drugs are that these drugs reduce some but not all schizophrenic symptoms.

Discuss one aspect of schizophrenia that you didn’t know about before, or one aspect that you found particularly interesting and why.

One aspect of schizophrenia that especially surprised me was not only how many people it effects and how many are at risk, but how much at risk people are these days. Also, that the fault of schizophrenia lies mostly within the male.
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