SCHIZOPHRENIA

Serious mental disorder that lasts at least 6 months (Must have at least TWO (2) of these symptoms):

  • Delusions

  • Hallucinations

  • Disorganized speech

  • Disorganized behavior

  • Decreased emotional expression 

Schizophrenia is characterized by thoughts or experiences that seem out of touch with reality, disorganized speech or behavior, and decreased participation in daily activities. This disorder affects a person's ability to think, feel, and behave.

 

TWO TYPES OF SCHIZOPHRENIA

  • Type I Schizophrenia: predominantly positive symptoms → hallucinations, delusions (a distortion of normal functions)

    • No intellectual impairment

    • Good reaction to medication

    • Good chance of recovery 

  • Type II Schizophrenia: predominantly negative symptoms → dulled emotions, little inclination to speak (loss of normal functions)

    • May have an intellectual impairment

    • Poor reaction to medication

    • Poor chance of recovery ​

 

THREE TYPES OF SCHIZOPHRENIA

 
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  • individual has auditory hallucinations or delusions

  • Belief in persecution or grandeur

Paranoid Schizophrenia

  • marked by bizarre ideas including → 

  • one’s body (i.e. melting bones)

  • confused speech

  • childish behavior (giggling for no reason, making faces)

  • Enormous mood swings (laughing/crying fits)

  • Extreme neglect of appearance/hygiene

Disorganizaed Schizophrenia

  •  characterized by periods of wild excitement or periods of rigid, prolonged immobility 

  • Individual may stay frozen in place for hours 

Catatonic Schizophrenia

CAUSES OF SCHIZOPHRENIA

  • Biological:

    • Combination of genetic markers, no single gene 

      • 1% of Americans have Schizophrenia; 10% chance if already runs in the family

    • Infections or viruses either during pregnancy or early childhood can increase likelihood 

      • E.g. flu (immune response during pregnancy); mumps (childhood → affect the brain)

  • Neurological:

    • Enlarged ventricles (storage for hormones & nutrients) 

    • Decreased prefrontal cortex activity (reasoning, planning, remembering, paying attention, decision-making)

  • Environmental:

    • Stressful events, substance use

    • Diathesis Stress Theory: says that some have genetic predisposition to that interacts w/ life stressors = development of schizophrenia 

 

TREATMENT FOR SCHIZOPHRENIA

  • Typical neuroleptic drugs(antipsychotics): reduce levels of dopamine and reduce “positive” symptoms

    • Little effect on negative symptoms

  • Atypical neuroleptic drugs: lowers levels of dopamine +  other neurotransmitters (serotonin)

    • Primarily reduce positive symptoms, MAY reduce negative symptoms 

  • Therapy

  • CBT, DBT, support groups, more

 

STIGMA AROUND SCHIZOPHRENIA

Misconception vs. Reality

“People with schizophrenia have multiple personalities.”
Although “Schizo” means split, “multiple personalities” relates more to Dissociative Identity Disorder than Schizophrenia. 

“Schizophrenia is just “seeing things.” not a big deal.”
Symptoms are a spectrum and can cause extreme distress. Visual hallucinations are actually less common than Auditory Hallucinations. 

“All people with schizophrenia are dangerous and violent.”

People with schizophrenia are more likely to be at harm with themseleves due to dangerous behavior, self harm, or suicide


“People with schizophrenia are lazy.”
People with schizophrenia are quite functional especially with treatment and if under circumstances that are accommodating to this disability.

 

SCHIZOPHRENIA IN THE MEDIA

 
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A  Beautiful Mind

A human drama inspired by events in the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., and in part based on the biography "A Beautiful Mind" by Sylvia Nasar. From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery.

True Life episode, “I Have Schizophrenia"

 a group of young adults is followed throughout their everyday lives to evaluate how this illness has come to affect their lives as well as how they manage to cope with this mental illness. Each one of them experiences this illness different and that influences their decisions on medical care, personal relationships and everyday interactions with the outside world. Within the American culture, people that suffer from schizophrenia are often thought of as crazy and mentally unstable. It is common for society to want to separate them out from the rest of society by putting them in mental hospitals or psychiatric wards.

RESOURCES

Project Calendula is intended to be a prelude for your mental health journey by guiding your education and advocacy. We are not a mental health service. 

If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.): 800-273-8255

If you or someone you know are struggling, please visit the resources at the bottom of this section to find a mental health professional near you.


Please visit any of the following websites for further information on mental illness education.

BPD. ORG

Recovery Resources for BPD from the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder:

NYP

BPD Resources (Books, Websites, Help For Families) from the NewYork-Presbyterian:

HERE TO HELP

Borderline Personality Disorder Resources (Help Lines, Online Information, Advocacy, Books, Articles and Guides) from Here to Help: