The Pathway to Psychosis

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“How all occasions do inform against me” is a line from act IIII, scene IIII of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This line, spoken by Hamlet, expresses his emotional state as he is currently overwhelmed by the death of his father, the king of Denmark, and the situation surrounding it. After Hamlet learns of his father’s death he finds out that his mother has married Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle. On top of all of that, Hamlet soon after discovers that Claudius murdered his father in order to become king, and he takes it upon himself to avenge his father’s death. Throughout the play, the severe stress of the situation seems to take its toll on Hamlet putting him in a depressed state, and eventually over time he grows ‘mad’. To put in psychological terms, he developed psychosis. The question that this paper will address is how an individual develops psychosis? There is a wide range of theories, all with reasonable evidence. It These different theories seem to indicate that psychosis is the result of a recipe of different environmental, biological, and neural structural factors. An environmental factor that appears to play a part in the development of psychosis is stress. A study published in the European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience journal entitled Reappraisal of the interplay between psychosis and depression symptoms in the pathogenesis of psychotic syndromes: results from a twenty-year prospective community study examines the relationship between psychosis and depression symptoms in the onset of psychosis, using evidence from the Zurich study (Rossler, et al., 2011, pp. 11-13). The 20 yearlong study, which was conducted in Switzerland, involved... ... middle of paper ... ...n Os , J., & Myin-Germeys, I. (2011). Childhood trauma and increased stress. ACTA PSYCHIATRICA, 28–35. Qoldman, M. B., & Mitchell, C. P. (2004). What Is the Functional Significance of Hippocampal Pathology in Schizophrenia? Schizophrenia Bulletin , 367-392. Rossler, W., Angst, J., Gamma, A., Haker, H., Stulz, N., Merikangas, K. R., & Ajdacic-Gross, V. (2011). Reappraisal of the interplay between psychosis and depression. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci , 11-19. Stefanis, N. C., Henquet, C., Avramopoulos, D., Smyrnis, N., Evdokimidis, I., Germeys, I. M., . . . Os, J. V. (2007). COMT Val158Met moderation of stress-induced psychosis. Psychological Medicine, 1651–1656. Thompson, J. L., Pogue-Geile, M. F., & Grace , A. A. (2004). Developmental Pathology, Dopamine, and Stress: A Model for the Age of Onset of Schizophrenia Symptoms. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 875-900.

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