A Study on the Mental Illness Schizophrenia and the Importance of Its Diagnostic

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Schizophrenia is the most puzzling clinical syndrome. It is a psychological disorder that corresponds to popular conceptions of madness. It often elicits fear, misunderstanding and condemnation instead of concern and sympathy. Social stigma is an important issue associated with schizophrenia. This disorder strikes the heart of the person, removing intimate connections between thoughts and emotions and filling it with distorted perception and false ideas. The diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia is as follows:

A) Two (or more) of the following, each present for a significant portion of time during a 1-month period (or less if successfully treated). At least one of these must be (1), (2), or (3):

  1. Delusions.

  2. Hallucinations.

  3. Disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence).

  4. Grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior.

  5. Negative symptoms (i.e., diminished emotional expression or avolition).

B) For a significant portion of the time since the start of the disturbance, level of functioning in one or more major areas, such as work, interpersonal relations, or self-care, is markedly below the level achieved prior to the onset (or when the onset is in childhood or adolescence, there is failure to achieve expected level of interpersonal, academic, or occupational functioning).

C) Continuous signs of the disturbance persist for at least 6 months. This 6-month period must include at least 1 month of symptoms (or less if successfully treated) that meet Criterion A (i.e., active-phase symptoms) and may include periods of prodromal or residual symptoms. During these prodromal or residual periods, the signs of the disturbance may be manifested by only negative symptoms or by two or more symptoms listed in Criterion A present in an affenuated form (e.g., odd beliefs, unusual perceptual experiences).

D) Schizoaffective disorder and depressive or bipolar disorder with psychotic features have been ruled out because either 1) no major depressive or manic episodes have occurred concurrently with the active-phase symptoms, or 2) if mood episodes have occurred during active-phase symptoms, they have been present for a minority of the total duration of the active and residual periods of the illness.

E) The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or another medical condition.

F) If there is a history of autism spectrum disorder or a communication disorder of childhood onset, the additional diagnosis of schizophrenia is made only if prominent delusions or hallucinations, in addition to the other required symptoms of schizophrenia, are also present for at least 1 month (or less if successfully treated).

Genetics play an important role in varying degrees in the development of the traits that underlie personality disorders. Not all people possessing these traits develop personality disorders, but it is possible that people with a genetic predisposition for these traits may be more vulnerable to developing personality disorders if they encounter certain environmental influences i.e. dysfunctional family. Genetically based behaviour dictates what environments and situations a person will seek out. An individual with a genetic predisposition for sensation may gravitate to thrilling situations such as street racing, skiing or bungee jumping. Genetic personality traits and the environment work together for example, thrill seeker gravitates to thrilling environments which reinforce the thrill seeking. This results in the person’s personality being self-reinforced and well ingrained. Both genetics and the environment play a crucial role in an individuals development.


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