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Child schizophrenia, like other psychopathologies has many documented, and
several uncertain causes. Some scientists have evidence that pregnant mothers
have experienced an immune reaction that present dangers to the unborn child.
Schizophrenia is a disorder where the body=s immune system attacks itself.
Schizophrenia is not present at birth but develops during the adolescence period
or young adulthood. ASchizophrenia is a biological brain disease affecting
thinking, perception, mood, and behaviour. Its exact cause is unknown but
overwhelming evidence points to faulty chemistry or structural abnormalities in
the brain. In some cases schizophrenia is generic. Schizophrenia strikes one
in 100 people at some point in his/her lifetime.@ (Compiled by Ontario Friends
of Schizophrenia, Oct 94).
Schizophrenia worsens and becomes better in cycles, also known as relapses and
remission. People who are suffering from schizophrenia look relatively normal.
Schizophrenics suffer from such symptoms as: delusions, hallucinations, and
thought disorders. Delusions are false beliefs that aren=t based on reality.
Schizophrenics may believe that someone is following them, or planning to harm
them. Schizophrenics believe that others can hear their thoughts , also known
as Abroadcasting@ and even change them. A…hear their thoughts, insert
thoughts into their minds, or control their feelings, actions or impulses.
Patients might think they are Jesus, Napoleon, or Franklin D. Roosevelt.@
(American Psychiatric Association Annual >90 page 1)
Pregnant women who experience an immune reaction that presents danger to their
unborn children, this reaction raises sharply the rates of schizophrenia in the
unborn child. Severe malnutrition in the early months of the fetal development
may contribute to schizophrenia. It is also known that schizophrenia runs in
families. AThe probablitilty of developing schizophrenia as the off spring of
one parent with the disease is approximately 13%. The probability of developing
schizophrenia as the off spring of both parents with the disease is
approximately 35%.@ (Pamphlet by: American Psychiatric Association Annual >90
Hallucinations another symptom which schizophrenic patients suffer from.
Hallucinations may be seen or heard. The most common hallucination are those
heard by the schizophrenic. The schizophrenic may hear voices that tell them
what to do, these voices may warn them of danger, tell them how to feel, or
describe one=s actions.
Schizophrenics thought process is very Aloose@. Their thought s may shift
rapidly from one unrelated topic to the next. They may make up their own words
or use sounds or grunts to substitute words. These symptoms do not mean that
people with schizophrenia are out of touch with the world completely, they know
that roads are used for driving cars, and that people eat meals three a day.
Schizophrenia affect both men and women equally. Along with delusions,
hallucinations, and thought disorders, they also suffer from paranoia, high
anxiety , low stress tolerance, low motivation, lack of energy and the inability
to feel pleasure. This makes work, leisure, relationships and even everyday
tasks difficult, sometimes impossible. These are concerns not only for the
people diagnosed with this psychopathology but for their friends and family.
Family is looked upon for support in not only everyday tasks, but in dealing
with this disorder whether its in remission or relapse. With schizophrenia
there is the risk of suicide. ATen percent of all people with schizophrenia
commit suicide. Either to escape the torment of their illness. Or because
their >voices= command them to.@ (Compiled by Ontario Friends of Schizophrenics,
Oct. 1994) Many schizophrenics also are incarcerated for crimes that they have
committed while in a psychotic state, or are living on the streets, without any
treatment. Schizophrenics may become violent while in a psychotic state, and may
lose all sense of who they are and who others are around them.
Symptoms such as social withdraw , inappropriate or blunted emotions, and
extreme apathy may persist for years, however many schizophrenics have recovered
enough to be able to live on their own. ATen years after their first
schizophrenic episode, 25 percent of people with schizophrenia have recovered
completely. Another 25 percent are much improved and living fairly independent
lives; 25 percent, although improved, still need extensive support; 15 percent
are hospitalized and show no improvement, and 10 percent have killed
themselves.@ (Compiled by Ontario Friends of Schizophrenics, October 1994)
Schizophrenia appears when the body is under going hormonal changes and physical
changes in adolescence like other genetically related illnesses. Schizophrenia
is said to lie Adormant@ during childhood, some researchers have suggested.
AGenes govern the body=s structure and biochemistry. Because structure and
biochemistry change dramatically in teen and young adult years, some researchers
suggest that schizophrenia lies >dormant= during childhood. It emerges as the
body undergoes changes during puberty.@ (Pamphlet by: National Alliance for the
Mentally Ill, June >90 page 2)
The symptoms of schizophrenia appear gradually during adolescence, or young
adulthood. Friends and family may not notice the signs as the illness takes
initial hold. The young person often feels tense, can not sleep or concentrate,
and they with draw socially. But at some point loved ones will begin to notice
the changes. Their work performance, appearance and social relationships begin
to deteriorate. As this illness progresses the symptoms become more and more
bizarre, they develop particular behaviours and begin talking nonsense.
Drug therapy is the most common form of treatment, however it is not the only
form. ACurrent treatment programs for schizophrenia include combinations of
medication, psychotherapy, education, and social-vocational rehabilitation.@
(Pamphlet by Deborah Dauphinais: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Annual >92 page 1). The primary medication for treatment of schizophrenia are
the antipsychotic medications, also known as neuroleptic. These medications do
not cure schizophrenia but reduce the symptoms. All widely used antipsychotic
medications are equal in treating the symptoms of schizophrenia; however,
individuals may prefer one medication to another due to their experience to
different side effects. Medication may be increased, or decreased depending on
the state that the patient is in. During a psychotic episode the medication
will be increased and as the episode decreases so will the amount of medication,
however this process is a slow and lengthy process. The medication will be
taperedoff to the lowest possible dosage without the symptoms returning. Some
side effects of medication may be: nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea,
or sweating. Medication is used to inhibit the action of dopamine which is a
Aneurotransmitter@, or chemical in the brain that helps cells to communicate
with one another.
Hospitalization is also an option in treatment. During a psychotic episode a
hospital stay is often necessary. ASchizophrenics occupy more hospital beds
than people with cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis combined.@
(Compiled by Ontario Friends of Schizophrenics, October 1994)
Another form of treatment, which goes hand in hand with medication is
counselling both for the patient and the family. ASupportive counselling or
psychotherapy may be appropriate for these individuals as a source of friendship,
encouragement, and practical advice during this process. Relatives and friends
can also assist in rebuilding the person=s social skills. Such support is very
important.@ (Pamphlet by: American Psychiatric Association Annual >90 page 1)
Schizophrenia, a disease of the brain, is one of the most disabling and
emotionally devastating illnesses known to man. But because it has been
misunderstood for so long, it has received relatively little attention and its
victims have been undeservingly stigmatized. Schizophrenia is not a split
personaltiy, a rare and very different disorder.@ (Pamphlet by: National
Alliance for the Mentally Ill June >90 page 1)
Since the funding is increasingly being cut so is the research for schizophrenia,
leaving many unanswered questions. As Child and Youth Workers we need to
provide support to parents and childern with this illness, we ourselves need to
have a better understanding of schizophrenia.m The most important message for
us to convey is Ayou are not alone.@
a. More than two authors Pamphlets: Compiled by Ontario Friends of
Schizophrenics. (1994). The Facts, Schizophrenia: Compassion Through
Understanding, Risk of Suicide
b. More than two authors Pamphlet by: Natonal Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
c. One author Bower, B. (1996). New culprits cited for schizophrenia.
Science News, vol. 149, 68.
D. More than two authors Pamphlet by: American Psychiatric Association Annual.
(1990). Schizophrenia, 1-10
e. More than two authors Pamphlet by:National Institute of Mental Heath Annual.
(1990). You are not alone: Facts about mental health and mental illness, 1-9
f. One author Dauphinais, D. (1992). Pamphlet: Medicatons for the treatment of
schizophrenia: questions and answers, 1-4
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