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Schizophrenia refers to a psychotic disorder, in which patients experience loss of contact with their environment, detectable deterioration in the degree of functioning, and disintegration of personality, whose characteristics include disorder of feeling, behavior, thought, and perception (Birchwood, and Jackson 47). Individuals start to show this kind of psychotic disorder in their early adulthood. According to Birchwood and Jackson, about 1 percent of the population across the world is suffering from schizophrenic disorders (51). There is evidence that genetic factors contribute substantially to the development of schizophrenia. The current treatments of schizophrenia include supportive interpersonal therapy, and antipsychotic medication (Barrett 36). Currently, the prognosis is good, with about 60 percent of the patients recovering fully. In this discussion, I will consider the behavioral changes that the schizophrenics experience under various conditions, and the significance of the behavioral changes.
It has always been simple to identify a person suffering from schizophrenia, because of some unique behaviors that he/she exhibits in various situations. There is a wide range of behaviors that schizophrenics display under certain conditions. Some of the behaviors, which I have found common with schizophrenics, include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized behavior, disordered speech, and tendency of harming oneself (Birchwood, and Jackson 49). In most cases, schizophrenics exhibit their psychotic problems by becoming withdrawn socially, loss of interest in various fields, acting unmotivated, use of odd language structures, jumping from one topic to another, giving irrational, or strange statements (Fink 41). Therefore, I strongly believe that a close study of a person’s behaviors can be very significant in diagnosing schizophrenia among human beings.
A delusion refers to a firmly held thought that an individual has, despite obvious and clear evidence that it is not true (Birchwood, and Jackson 47). This kind of behavior is very common in schizophrenia, because it occurs in about 90 percent of the schizophrenics. Often, the delusions involve bizarre or illogical fantasies, or ideas. Common types of delusions that schizophrenics exhibit include delusions of reference, delusions of persecution, delusions of control, and delusions of grandeur (Fink 43).
I believe that most schizophrenics exhibit delusions of reference, as they believe that neutral environmental events are special, and have a significant personal meaning. For instance, a schizophrenic may believe a person or billboard in the TV advertisement is delivering a message that specifically involves their lives. A person, suffering from schizophrenia, may relate the signs and symptoms of a different disease to those of a disease he or she is suffering from, which can make them nervous that the other disease is terminal (Birchwood, and Jackson 52). A schizophrenic can exhibit delusions of grandeur by believing that he or she is an important and famous figure in the society. I have personally seen people vying for seats in the government without knowing that they cannot win, because they are not famous. Some schizophrenics develop delusions of persecution, through which they believe that someone wants to kill them. Such beliefs can lead to self-defense, by becoming watchful and carrying deadly weapons. Schizophrenics, who possess delusions of control, believe that an alien force is controlling his or her actions and thoughts (Barrett 36). They appear to be afraid of doing things openly, because people can copy and rob them of their ideas.
Hallucinations refer to those sensations that an individual experiences as real, when they exist in the individual’s mind only. Hallucinations are very common in schizophrenia, and they usually involve the sense of hearing and seeing. Research has shown that auditory hallucinations take place when individuals misinterpret their own talk, as coming from other people (Fink 43). A hallucination is very significant in diagnosing schizophrenia, because individuals appear to be very disturbed in their environment. A schizophrenic can accuse other people of having malicious intents, when he or she hears the hallucinated voices behind the back. Personally I have witnessed people exhibiting schizophrenic hallucinations as they accuse others falsely.
Schizophrenics commonly exhibit disorganized behavior, which appears in various ways. Daily functioning declines, individuals lack impulse control and inhibition, exhibit inappropriate or unpredictable emotional responses, and their behaviors appear to be unusual and without purpose (Fink 41). Therefore, individuals suffering from schizophrenia develop impairments in their abilities to take care of themselves, to work, and socialize with other people. Some schizophrenics develop disorganized speech, due to fragmented thinking. Externally, people identify individuals, who possess fragmented thinking, by hearing their speeches. Schizophrenics tend to have difficulties in concentrating, and maintaining organized thoughts. They may provide irrelevant solutions to some queries, start a sentence with one topic, and conclude it with a different topic, say illogical things, or speak incoherently.
Late detection and treatment of schizophrenia can lead to exhibition of some behaviors, such as committing suicide among the schizophrenics. Though not very common, personally I have noticed some cases of suicide with schizophrenics. This happens when individuals stay with schizophrenic disorders, such as delusions, for a number of days until they undergo depression. Individuals with depression are likely to develop feelings of committing suicide. I have not noticed any case where schizophrenics intend to harm other people around them. However, when they feel that people are mistreating them, schizophrenics can revenge severely, especially through murder (Fink 51). Therefore, early detection and treatment of schizophrenia is extremely crucial in avoiding harmful consequences.
SIGNIFICANCE OF BEHAVIORAL CHANGES
I believe that behavioral changes that occur in schizophrenics are very significant in number of ways. Diagnosis depends on the abnormal behaviors that schizophrenics express outwardly. Once a psychiatrist diagnoses an individual with schizophrenia, he or she should employ immediate treatment strategies to ensure that the schizophrenic do not develop other complications that have a close relationship with schizophrenia (Fink 53). Studies have shown that the introduction of treatment at the earliest stages of schizophrenia brings significant health improvement. If psychiatrists fail to detect the symptoms of schizophrenia earlier, the schizophrenics may not recover fully after the late medical or psychological interventions; thus, most of the symptoms will persist throughout their lives (Barrett 44).
Behavioral changes due to schizophrenia can also make other people aware of those who are suffering from schizophrenia, and thus treat them well. I have personally experienced that mistreatment can encourage schizophrenics to cause serious crimes, such as murder. However, when they experience mistreatment, schizophrenics tend to hide away from other people. It is important to take care of schizophrenics, once their schizophrenic conditions have become apparent, because their behaviors and actions are unpredictable. According to Fink (55), it is always hard to understand the intentions of those people, whose behaviors and actions are unpredictable.
Schizophrenia is a disturbing and harmful psychological disorder. Individuals suffering from schizophrenia exhibit a number of symptoms that enable psychologists to detect the schizophrenic conditions. Most of the schizophrenic symptoms are observable. Some of the schizophrenic symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized behavior, and disordered speech. These outward behaviors are significant, because they enable psychologists to diagnose people with schizophrenia, thus timely treatment. I strongly believe that timely detection and treatment of schizophrenia can result in improved outcomes. Behaviors changes of schizophrenics are also significant, because they can make people aware of those suffering from schizophrenia, thus treat them well. I have proved that the mistreatment of such individuals is very dangerous, because schizophrenics possess unpredictable behaviors
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