- The Brain
- Nature vs. Nurture
- Altered States of Consciousness
- Stress and Health
- Anxiety Disorders
- Dissociative Disorders
- Mood Disorders
- Personality Disorders
Historical Treatment for the Mentally Ill
Since the beginning of civilization, the treatment for people with a mental illness has been bizarre, cruel, and even deadly. These unfortunate souls were often treated as if they were possessed or even inhuman. Here are some very interesting tactics that physicians have used throughout history.
In prehistoric times, tribes had their own shamans that would attempt to use spells to release the magical being that infected the mind. During the time that the Hebrews were conquered and exiled to the Babylonian kingdom, monotheistic beliefs brought about the idea that mental illness was induced because of sin or possession by demons. Seeking to be spiritually righteous, the cure for this was thought to be prayer and fasting. Ancient Greeks utilized an electric eel by placing it on the body or head to numb pain. The Greek word for this creature was “narka”, which ultimately founded the word “narcotics”.
Unusual ideas about treatment for people with mental disorders continued. In 1276, it was suggested by Pope John XXI that eating a roasted mouse would heal frantic people. Later on, it was believed that madness was caused by having stones in the head. Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, recommended that in order to “shake out the madness” the ill person should be chained to the ceiling and spun around for hours to relax the muscles and lower the pulse. He also believed that mad people could be calmed by blood-letting from 20 to 40 ounces of blood at one time. Dr. Rush then developed a “tranquilizer chair” in 1811. This invention efficiently kept a person securely immobile and had a wooden box in which their head would be put into in order to keep the person subdued.
Benjamin Rush also described African American slaves as suffering from a disease called Negritude in which the only cure for the disorder was to become white. Ironically, Rush was the co-founder of the first anit-slavery society in America and his face is still on the official seal of the American Psychiatric Association. During the 1800s, Dr. Samuel Cartwright, another leading authority on the medical care of African American slaves, believed that he had identified a particular disorder that only afflicted slaves. He thought that Drapetomia was the disease that caused slaves to run away. He said, "The cause in most cases, that induces the Negro to run away from service, is such a disease of the mind as in any other species of alienation, and much more curable, as a general rule." Cartwright suggested that slaves showing signs of Drapetomia should be severely whipped as an early therapeutic intervention.
Around this same time Dr. Henry Cotten tested his theory that infections in the body caused madness. If the infected parts were removed, he believed he could stop the lunacy. Between 1919 and 1921, he ordered 11,000 teeth to be pulled from his patients in New Jersey. If this procedure didn’t work, Cotten would remove parts of the stomach, bowels, and genitalia. The doctor ultimately killed more than 100 patients and succeeded in reaching a mortality rate of 43% of those treated.
Another American named Dr. Willard ran a private asylum in a small town on the east coast. He believed that if a person were submersed in water to the point where they were barely alive, they would fully recover and be more mentally stable. Another psychiatrist described the scene. “Dr. Willard had a tank prepared on the premises into which the patient, enclosed in a coffin-like box with holes, was lowered by means of a well-sweep. He was kept there until the bubbles of air cease to rise, then was taken out, rubbed and revived.” Willard hoped that the near death experience would cause the mind to create a fresh start.
After Benjamin Franklin received an electric shock that left him with minor amnesia, he thought it would be a good idea to try giving people with mental illnesses electroshock therapy. A British doctor by the name of John Birch tried this treatment on a depressed and suicidal singer. More recently, in 1938, an Italian doctor observed that slaughterhouse workers used electricity to send the meat animals into convulsions to make it easier to kill them. Electro-Convulsive Therapy uses the same concept to send 180 to 460 volts of electricity across the brain, causing convulsions and frequent amnesia.
The Nazis used electric shock as punishment for any German soldiers that were afraid to fight in the war, often times killing them before they made it to the battle. Nazi doctors took this form of punishment and made a film that observed the positives and negatives of Electroshock and gassing practices. The film portrayed the notion that electricity could cure mental illness and that gassing the ill to death should only be used as secondary action.
In 1935 there was a return to the trend of psychosurgery using methods such as drilling holes into the skull before using tools that resembled apple corers and ice picks to cut into the brain. This procedure of cutting into the lobes of the brain is called lobotomy. One of the early practitioners of this method was a Portuguese neurosurgeon who used thin blades to probe the brain once he had the holes drilled. Interestingly, he was shot and paralyzed by one of his lobotomy patients and beaten to death by another.
Treatment for people with mental disorders has greatly evolved since the mid 20th century. Science has discovered the use of drugs to help patients with depression, schizophrenia, paranoia, bipolar disorder, and many other conditions. Hopefully, the people who have already had to suffer through their illness will never again be treated as disposable lab rats.
“Discussion: History of Mental Illness.” Bipolar World. 2009. Web. 12 May. 2010. <www.bipolarworld.org>.
“Inhumane & Insane Cures.” The Limbic Region Website. 2003. Web. 12 May. 2010. <http://thelimbicregion.tripod.com/index.htm>.
Jackson, Vanessa. “An Early History – African American Mental Health.” Institute on Race, Health Care and the Law. 2008. The University of Dayton School of Law. Web. 12 May. 2010. <http://www.academic.udayton.edu>.
Parkinson's disease belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The four primary symptoms of PD are tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; or slowness of movement; and postural instability, or affects the balance and coordination. As these symptoms begin to show, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. PD usually affects people over the age of 50. Early symptoms of PD are subtle and occur gradually. In some people the disease progresses more quickly than in others. As the disease progresses, the shaking, or tremor, which affects the majority of PD patients may begin to interfere with daily activities. Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes; difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions. There are currently no blood or laboratory tests that have been proven to help in diagnosing sporadic PD. Therefore the diagnosis is based on medical history and a neurological examination. The disease can be difficult to diagnose accurately. Doctors may sometimes request brain scans or laboratory tests in order to rule out other diseases.
At present, there is no cure for PD, but a variety of medications provide dramatic relief from the symptoms. Usually, patients are given levodopa combined with carbidopa. Carbidopa delays the conversion of levodopa into dopamine until it reaches the brain. Nerve cells can use levodopa to make dopamine and replenish the brain's dwindling supply. Although levodopa helps at least three-quarters of parkinsonian cases, not all symptoms respond the same to the drug. Bradykinesia and rigidity respond best, while tremor may be only marginally reduced. Problems with balance and other symptoms may not be alleviated at all. Anticholinergics may help control tremor and rigidity. Other drugs, such as bromocriptine, pramipexole, and ropinirole, mimic the role of dopamine in the brain, causing the neurons to react as they would to dopamine. An antiviral drug, amantadine, also appears to reduce symptoms. In May 2006, the FDA approved rasagiline to be used along with levodopa for patients with advanced PD or as a single-drug treatment for early PD.
In some cases, surgery may be appropriate if the disease doesn't respond to drugs. In DBS, electrodes are implanted into the brain and connected to a small electrical device called a pulse generator that can be externally programmed. DBS can reduce the need for levodopa and related drugs, which in turn decreases the involuntary movements called dyskinesias that are a common side effect of levodopa. It also helps to alleviate fluctuations of symptoms and to reduce tremors, slowness of movements, and gait problems. DBS requires careful programming of the stimulator device in order to work correctly.
Alcohol and Brain Damage
By: Jake Cox
Alcohol is the cause of most brain damage among people. Over 2,500 Australians are treated for alcohol related brain injury a year. Many factors can play a role into just how much of the brain is affected. These factors are based on a person gender, age, nutrition, and pattern of consumption. Some symptoms of this are memory issues, cognitive abilities, and physical coordination. Younger individuals have a better chance of recovery due to faster recuperation. Although, some of alcohol related affects may become permanent to many.
Alcohol can cause brain damage by:
- Poisonous affect on the central nervous system.
- Changes to metabolism, heart function, and blood supply.
- Absorption of vitamin B1 (necessary for brain nutrition).
- Poor nutrition.
- Dehydration (leading to loss of brain cells).
- Stumbles resulting in head injury.
Brain injury is most likely from heavily drinking on a regular basis over several years. If drinking is too aggressive then brain injuries can be a result in a short period of time. Commonly known as “binge drinking,” which is drinking more that six alcoholic beverages at one time. Safe levels of alcohol consumption are:
- Men-a max of four standard drinks per day at least two alcohol free days a week.
- Women-max of two standard drinks per day and a least two alcohol free days a week.
Disorders related to ARBI is changes with cognition, difficulties with balance and coordination, and a range medical and neurological disorder. Some alcohol disorders may include:
- Cerebellar trophy - muscle coordination (balance and walking)
- Frontal Lobe Dysfunction- abstract thinking and planning (cognitive skills)
- Hepatic Encephalopathy - liver disease
- Korsakoff’s Amnesic Syndrome - short term memory
- Peripheral Neuropathy - limbs become numb, pain, pins and needle feeling.
- Wernicke’s Encephalopathy - severe deficiency of vitamin B1
Treatment for alcohol related disorders depend mainly on the individual and the brain. A person suspected of a disorder must be seen by a neurophysiologist.
Individuals how have impaired vision can be helped, if demands are reduced. Others might help by considering the following points:
- Break down information and present one idea at a time.
- Tackle one problem at a time.
- Allow the person time to work at their own pace.
- Minimise distractions.
- Avoid stress.
- Allow for frequent breaks and rest periods.
In short alcohol can be deadly to some if an individual does not change his/her drinking habits. Alcohol is a toxin non-the-less and can cause bodily harm, and the central nervous system. It can also result in brain damage. Any damage caused by alcohol can result in different disorders depending on the area of the brain damaged.
Nature Vs Nurture
By: Kyle Cox
In the Issue of Nature Vs Nurture there are professionals that believe Nature is the biggest influence on a person’s, others believe that Nurture is the most important and of course many professionals have the belief that they both affect a person’s life equally.
• The nature theory is considered too be what is inherited from family through hereditary, many things are encoded in a person’s DNA, the things that help to form how a person lives their life
o Sexual Orientation
Heredity-Without Heredity (nature), humans would have nothing to biologically to their offspring.
-Nature’s hypothesis can be tested by looking at twins. Many twins have multiple things in common. There temperament and the way they act are usually very near the same thing. Many twins claim to know when another is happy or even when the other has a dramatic experience in life.
• The nurture theory states that a person’s behavioral aspects are mainly influenced and come from a person’s environment.
o Studies on children have shown that the way they grow up can shape the way they act on adults. If a child grows up in a loving environment they are more likely to grow up into a well functioning adult than a child with a dysfunctional family that deals with things like alcoholism, abuse, or drug use.
Nature And Nurture not Nature Vs. Nurture
The nature or nurture question is complex and not easy to address. But As of late many professionals have come to the conclusion that it is not nature vs. nurture, it is nature and nurture. Both affect a persons behavior and the way they live equally. They believe that nature and nurture are directly related. If one affects a trait the other does too.
A MORE RESPONSIBLE NATION
We are born into this world with the prospect of a good and full life, or are we? There are those of us before the time of conception who are doomed, those of us who will not have a chance from our first breath, born into traumatic non-productive fates. If we look at Erickson’s eight stages of Development we see there are certain phases we need to experience to grow to be healthy productive members of society. Erickson regards these as “psychosocial crisis,” which arise and need to be resolved before we negotiate the next mile stone; like houses we need steady foundations.
For those of you that are not familiar with Erickson’s stages of development, I will touch on those briefly as explained in a Developmental Psychology textbook used on Colby Community College Campus, Essentials of Life-Span Development, SANTROCK.
- Trust Vs mistrust, this is the first stage, experienced in the first year of life. Infants experiencing this can look forward to an expectation that the world will be a good and pleasant place to live.
- Autonomy Vs shame and doubt, this occurs at age 1to3 yrs. After gaining the trust of their caregivers, infants begin to discover that their behavior is their own. They start asserting a sense of independence or autonomy. If infants and toddlers are restrained too much or punished too harshly, they are likely to develop a sense of shame and doubt.
- Initiative Vs guilt, this occurs during the preschool years. They encounter a widening social world, face new challenges that require active, purposeful, responsible behavior. Feelings of guilt may arise if the child is irresponsible or made to feel too anxious.
- Industry Vs inferiority, this occurs approximately in the elementary school years. Children now need to direct their energy toward mastering knowledge and intellectual skills. The negative outcome is that child may develop a sense of inferiority; feeling incompetent and unproductive.
- Identity Vs identity confusion, during adolescent years individuals face finding out who they are. If adolescents explore roles in a healthy manner and arrive at a positive path to follow in life, then they achieve a positive identity; if not, identity confusion reigns.
- Intimacy Vs isolation
- Generativity Vs stagnation
- Integrity Vs despair
I would like you to pay close attention to the first five; these are the stages that bring us into early adulthood, after that we should be well on our way, so let’s not dawdle on the rest. Let us for one moment, for the purpose of this page think of those we have incarcerated. Have these individuals had the prospect to meet these stages? Don’t we as human beings have the responsibility to our kind to ensure everyone is afforded the same possibilities in life? My answer is yes.
I considered the programs some have created to rehabilitate those aforementioned individuals. I worked in corrections and have seen first hand the so called rehabilitation of Inmates. They are required to perform tasks such as working a job of some sort; cooking, cleaning toilets and showers, floor maintenance, and getting their GED. I am of the mind there is a great deal more to life than these tasks, I am sure it will make the able to prepare and eat meals in a sanitary environment while reading the paper, but does this prepare them to be reintegrated to society as productive members?
Rehabilitation of incarcerated individuals is futile; we must focus on the habilitating of our youths if we are to be a more responsible nation.
Recidivism is one of the most fundamental concepts in criminal justice. It refers to a person’s relapse into criminal behavior, often after receiving sanctions and or undergoing intervention for a previous crime; rehabilitation. National Statistics on Recidivism a report by U.S. Department of Justice, showed in a study of 408,580 offenders released from prisons across 15 states between 1983 and 1994 had a recidivism rate of 63 to 68 percent. Approximately 47 percent were convicted of new crimes.
Some will argue that these are career criminals, who have just been unfortunate enough to have been caught or should have never been released in the first place. Others will blame it on early releases due to overcrowding.
This tells us that the sanctions and interventions our tax dollars are paying for are not working. If we focus on children at an early age and ensure they are provided with a loving nurturing environment and we spend those tax dollars educating those that are less fortunate to have been guided into adulthood, they will have a chance at rearing a productive member of society ensuring less crowded institutions.
If you consider the average age of first time incarcerated persons is early adulthood, we can better understand the need for the phases we need to satisfactorily complete according to Erickson. A person reared without trust, autonomy, initiative, industry and identity will then be the exact opposite of who we as a society strive to be.
A product of the environment is just an excuse used by those who are less fortunate. Casting blame elsewhere is always easiest, blaming society is a cop out. Everyone should use common sense in making decisions and know right from wrong.
If you from birth are exposed to violence and degradation, do you not suppose then your first care would not be to worry about who is to blame? I myself would only look for an escape route, by any means. Sometimes life in an institution can be less dangerous than some childhood homes.
Many Prisons focus their rehabilitation on teaching offenders a trade, believing that teaching them to provide for themselves in a legal fashion automatically restores self esteem in their being.
There is an impossible task, how do they restore what was never there. Some have said you can give a man a fish and he may eat for a day but if you teach him to fish he can be self sufficient.
Really, great he knows how to fish now, but he does not have a fishing pole. I know how to sing but that does not make me a singer, I need a voice. These individuals return to crime because we set them up to fail.
There are actions and mindsets of those incarcerated that we tend to ignore, chalking them up to behavioral issues, saying they are just bad seeds. I have often described the job of a correctional officer to others that have not worked in corrections as a babysitting like position. The individuals incarcerated there usually have a brain maturation of 12 to 18 years old. Traumas and the substance abuse following has rendered them incapable of experiencing healthy avenues of development.
There is some that are just innately evil. Even while incarcerated they act like animals and they are attending rehabilitation interventions and other programs provided for them by the institution, they are still violating rules, we see evidence of this in reports of prison violence.
I will refer back to Erickson, if these individuals are so evil why has a world wide organization such as Criminon had so much success? They utilize research discoveries made by L. Ron Hubbard. Like Erickson he is of the belief we need strong foundations to stand on. Criminon therefore has courses available to re-educate these individuals, focusing on foundations not trades.
We as a society preach about loving thy neighbor, but do we? If we were to return to raising our children as a village rather than letting only the fortunate thrive, I think a true utopia may not be far off. We waste tax dollars building new prisons and coming up with ways to fix the persons incarcerated in them, but should we not focus on the proper rearing and education of these individuals and their families. Could we not be a more productive nation, a more responsible nation if we practiced what we preached?
- U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/corrections/recidivism/welcome.htm
- Criminon for Criminal Rehabilitation, Reform & Crime Prevention http://www.criminon.org/
- Santrock, John W. Essentials Of Life-Span Development / 1st edition, McGraw-Hill companies Inc., New York, NY 10020
Anthony Luna and Lexie Garcia
There are many different characteristics that separate a man from a woman. We are human but in ways we are also different. Boys and girls react to things very different, they talk about things different, emotions are different and lifestyles are different.
In a psychological stand point men and women embrace aggression, depression, nonverbal communication, sensation detection, sexuality and social power in different ways. Those are some of the various kinds of gender differences men and women face every day. How men and women deal with these types of behaviors makes them gender differences.
In aggression usually men are more aggressive than women. It is not because men are more aggressive they show it more as for women they tend to contain a lot of aggression and use it differently. Because of the more aggression in men, they are more appealed to hunting, fighting, and even supporting war. Women tend to bottle up their emotional aggressiveness and often recreate it into a different type of emotion.
Another major emotional affect that is handled different between males and females is depression. Women tend to suffer depression with parenthood, menopause, and stress at work and at the home place. Home mothers tend to lack in performance at work because of all the stress they deal with at home. Another type of depression that affects women more than men is postpartum or postnatal depression, this type of depression is dealt with right after childbirth causing symptoms such as sadness, fatigue, insomnia, appetite changes, reduced libido, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability. Another type of depression is Job Loss Depression, this depression is mainly affective when someone losses a job and has no other way of making money to pay bills, buy food, or support families. This depression affects males and females but mainly hurts the males with a deeper impact. Primarily because males are the bread winners in their minds males feel that it is their job to have work and make money to support their families. Both males and females suffer through depression every day it is not uncommon to not suffer some kind of depression in your life time.
Non-verbal communication is usually understood as the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless messages, like hand gestures, eye movement, body language and pretty much any kind of communication without the use of words. This form of communication is another both women and men respond different to. According to the psychology book written by David G. Myers Exploring Psychology the seventh edition, it states that’s “women generally surpass men at reading people’s emotional cues.” this kind of advantage makes it easier to women to spot lies from different people. Women’s nonverbal skills show that they are more emotionally profound than men are. For example if you ask a man are you sad to move out of your parents home their more likely to respond with a short simple answer like “yeah I was sad” compared to a women who would respond less vague like “yes I would be sad and scared at the same time.” With this emotional surpass women are greater in reading different kinds of nonverbal communications. Men are compatible of decoding nonverbal communications both not as well as women do.
Sensation is a word we think of as something that we feel like a touch or feel that stimulates us. In Psychology sensation is the function of the low-level biochemical and neurological events that begin with the impinging of a stimulus upon the receptor cells of a sensory organ. Women again are more sensitive to touch, taste and odor. It is so that women are more sensitive than man because women seem to have more nerve fibers in their skin than men do. For example, a simple touch on the arm could cause a woman to jump, while it wouldn’t even phase a man.
Another important gender difference men and women face is sexuality. This gender difference is one of the most important and one of the most talked about differences men and women share. Some examples are who desires sex more, who thinks about sex more, who masturbates more, who initiates sex more, and who sacrifices more to gain sex. These questions help determine the total differences between males and females. A survey showed that gay men showed more interest in uncommitted sex, more responsiveness to visual stimuli, more responsiveness to visual sexual stimuli, and more concern with their partner’s physical attractiveness. Whereas gay women prefer to have long term relationships instead of just a “one time thing”.
Attraction to one another:
• Women with smooth skin and a youthful shape
• Women whose waists are roughly a third narrower than their hips
• Healthy-looking men
• Mature, dominant, bold, and affluent
• Women prefer long-term mating
• Also prefer stick around dads
Men are thought of as more dominant, forceful, and independent, while women are thought of as more nurturing, affiliative, and deferential. Men are perceived as more dominant because in a relationship they would be the one that would be expected to go to work. They are normally the ones with the upper hand in a family and women normally go to them to discipline a child. Men are seen as independent because they prefer to do things themselves and don’t normally want help. While women will ask for help if lost or don’t know how to do something. Women are perceived as nurturing because it’s a part of their role in life, to take care of children and be caring and loving to their baby.
These are some of the things that make women and men so different. The way men and women look is just one of the many types of things that makes us different from one another. While every person thinks differently, men think similarly to one another and women think similarly to one another.
sex differences in social representations of aggression: men and women
Aggression, depression, sexuality, nonverbal comm. And social
Alcohol, Evil or Not?
Alcohol is a common fixation around the world. People use alcohol in many different ways; for cooking, socialization, and some use it to help them relax. People have different views on how they should use alcohol also. I personally do not have anything against this substance; it is the amount of the substance that people use that I do not agree with them about it.
Alcohol is considered a depressant. There are many affects of alcohol whether you use a little of it or a lot of it. People may use alcohol for an initial high, but it is then followed by relaxation as our book put it. Even though those effects may sound nice at the same time there are things happening to you that are not so good for your body. Alcohol causes depression, memory loss, organ damage, and impaired reactions. When much alcohol is put into your system it makes your reactions slower, slurs your speech, and skilled performance deteriorates. Also when drinking too much you may not remember what happened the night before. It also causes impaired judgment and memory, and reduces self-awareness (Myers, 206).
Alcohol not only affects yourself, but it can also affect those around you. It can cause some people to become violent and some choose to drive while they are over the legal blood alcohol limit. In the year of 2008 there were a total of one hundred and forty five deaths that were caused by drunk driving. The state with the most deaths from drunk driving was Texas with 1,269 people. For the whole United States the total amount of deaths from drunk driving was 11,773 victims. In the year of 2008 the death rate was 9.7% lower than in the year of 2007. The age group that most often dies from drunk driving are those that fourteen and younger. A statistic said that 1,347 children died in car accidents in the year of 2008. Out of all those children that died two hundred and sixteen were a result of drunk driving. Also thirty-four children out of the 1,347 were innocent pedestrians or bikers that were killed by drunk drivers (http://www.edgarsnyder.com/drunk-driving/statistics.html).
Another problem that comes with alcohol is the use of it with underage children. Juvenile drinking has spread drastically throughout the United States, and continues to grow. Even though there are several groups that try to minimize the rates of underage drinking, they only seem to help for a couple years, if not just a couple months. Children in the age group of ten to thirteen are often chasing after what the older teenagers are doing. They want to look, talk, and act like the people they look up to in their lives. The fear of parents and other concerned parties is that adolescent drinking will continue to increase in the younger ages. They want to avoid this problem but most parents are not willing to make the effort to keep their kids from this trap.
Many things influence these children, but the main thing that influences children are the people that play a main role in their life such as parents, teachers, media, and peers. Parents can influence their children to drink by having alcohol around the house and not being concerned whether they get a hold of it. Teachers can influence students by talking about certain instances when they have been drinking. The media plays a big part in portraying a life filled with alcohol. Television shows promote alcohol by showing party scenes or just the casual drinking. Commercials promote drinking by trying to make the drinking scene look glamorous or funny. Their peers are probably the most influential. They can be the first to offer alcohol, the encourager, the provider of alcohol, or even the friend that just stands by and watches. Alcohol industries say that they have earned about 22.5 billion dollars from underage people who have purchased alcohol (Foster et al. 2006). The affects of juvenile drinking are that it can make it harder to concentrate in school and other activities, school attendance drops, it can affect the way a child’s brain functions, and later on in the child’s life it can affect their development mentally and physically. (Faden, et al, 5)
Alcohol in and of itself is not an evil thing. Yet in the way it is used or abused alcohol becomes a very dangerous thing. A glass of wine or a can of beer every once in awhile does not harm you, but overusing any substance causes problems after a time. So before you take that second beer or third glass of wine step back and think about what you are doing to your body.
Faden, et al. “A Developmental Perspective On Underage Alcohol Use.” Alcohol Research and Health 2009.
Myers, David. Exploring Psychology Seventh Edition. Worth Publishers. 2008.
How Serious is Alcoholism?
Bill crawls out of bed in the morning, still drunk from the night before. He reaches into his nightstand drawe4r and pulls out his bottle of liquor and takes a few drinks. He goes and gets in the shower and begins to get ready for work. After his shower he walks into the kitchen and pours a bowl of milk and cereal. He adds a few shots on the side and digs in. He then tells his wife and kids goodbye as he walks out the door for work. He arrives at the office, and checks to make sure his flask is full before he goes in to start his day. As the day goes on he finishes his flask and the bottle in his desk. Then when five o’clock finally rolls around, he leaves the office and goes to the bar he sits at the bar for four or five house, he has lost all track of time by now. He stumbles out to his car and gets in. A typical Tuesday night for Bill. He starts his car and somehow manages to get home just like he does every night. When he stumbles into the kitchen he finds a note on the table that simply says “We can‘t tale it anymore.” Left there by his wife who has just left him. He stumbles into the living room and passes out on the couch for the night.
This story above shows a man with a serious problem. He is an alcoholic. What is alcoholism? According to Dictionary.com, alcoholism is “ A chronic disorder characterized by dependence on alcohol, repeated excess use of alcoholic beverages, and the development of withdrawal ability to function socially and vocationally.”
There are countless views and countless arguments for different aspects of alcoholism. A few of these arguments and views from both sides of the spectrum will be discussed. It will be shown that alcoholism is a serious disease.
The first issue I want to look at is the argument over whether alcoholism is or is not a disease. From what I have read and seen personally, I am of the opinion that alcoholism is a disease. The Baldwin Research Institute does not agree with me and believes that alcoholism is not a disease. While Jeffrey Hon feels that alcoholism is a disease and should thus be treated as such. The Baldwin Research Institute starts off by saying that history and science have shown us that the disease of alcoholism is completely and purely speculation. They also go on to say “Research has shown that alcoholism is a choice, not a disease, and stripping alcohol abusers of their choice, by applying the disease concept, is a treat to the health of the individual.”
On my side of the issue Jeffery Hon fires right back with “Nearly fourteen million Americans have serious problems because of their drinking, including eight million men and women who suffer from alcoholism, a chronic disease.” Jeffery Hon then goes on to say “Research demonstrates that treatment can save lives, restore families, reduce health care cost, increase productivity in the workplace and make our communities safer.”
The Baldwin Research Institute then goes on the talk about the disease concept. “The ‘disease concept’ was used throughout the 1800s and early 1900s by prohibitionists and those involved in the Temperance Movement to further a political agenda. Prior to this time, the term alcoholic did not exist.” Now while the Baldwin Research Institute talks about the origin of the concept of alcoholism.
Jeffrey Hon points out “Because alcoholism has not been addressed as a health issue, 75% of people with serious drinking problems never receive any treatment.” he also goes on to talk about how while alcoholism is a disease, people in America seem to look at it more as a social problem rather than the health issue that it is. Some people don’t think they have a disease, rather they thought they had just made poor choices regarding substance abuse.
In addition to the disease debate, there is a genetic side of alcoholism and how gene therapy could eliminate the disease known as alcoholism. There are some people that believe that the genetic basis of alcoholism has been exaggerated, and then there are some people that believe that gene therapy could possibly eliminate the disease of alcoholism. I personally feel that genetics is a large part of the serious disease that is alcoholism.
Some people drink more than others do; I have seen this and heard this throughout my entire life. Many people handle themselves just fine, while others tend to get themselves into trouble. Stanton Peele looks at why some people drink more than other people do. He talks about acetaldehyde, the chemical that is produced when alcohol is broken down by the body. Some studies that have been done have shown increased levels of acetaldehyde in the symptoms of children of alcoholic parents when they drink compared to the children of parents that are not alcoholics.
Now, I want to move on to treatment issues. There are many different types of treatment that people go through, and all of them may or may not work depending on the person. Everyone is different and no two people can be handled the same exact way. There are many who believe that Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is ineffective, I believe that AA doesn’t get the job done because it takes the responsibility away from the drinker.
There are many different views and many different angles from which we can look at the disease that is alcoholism. And, in short, I believe that alcoholism is a disease that needs to be taken seriously.
Exploring Psychology 7th Edition
As college students, we can all relate to not getting enough sleep at one time or another. Whether we stayed up late working on an assignment that needs some extra love and care to get done, or we pull all nighters with a video game controller in one hand and an energy drink in the other, sleeping tends to be the first thing to suffer when we just don’t have “enough” time in the day. But those are choices that we, as students, make without thinking of the heavy consequences that will follow the next morning, but what if a person has a sleep disorder, something they don’t just choose to have, and they can’t get the sleep needed each night to recover. So let’s take quick look at what sleep does for us, some disorders that affect our sleep, and the affect that an inadequate amount of sleep can have on humans in general.
We have five stages of sleep that we pass through during our nightly routine. A few stages stick out as important to our sleep cycle and others tend to just be transition stages. We first go through a short Stage One sleep. It’s here that we have experiences closely resembling that of hallucinations. Stage Two follows closely after. During both of these stages it’s easy to be awakened. Stage Three and Stage Four are heavy sleep stages. It’s during these 30 min. periods that the sleep we are in quickly helps our physical bodies to recover. At the end of this period of sleep, we ascend up the stages up to Stage Two sleep again. Then instead of hitting Stage One sleep, we enter REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. During this period, our brain recovers.
There are five different major sleep disorders: insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, night terrors and sleepwalking. Insomnia is the persistent problem with falling and/or staying asleep. Those who have narcolepsy suffer from overpowering sleep attacks that usually last for less than five minutes. Sleep Apnea is a disorder that causes people to stop breathing for up to a minute during sleep until the lack of oxygen wakes the person just to gasp for air and then fall asleep again. Night terrors usually occur during Stage Four sleep. Like nightmares, they are very frightening but few can remember anything about them because of when they occur. Sleepwalking is the last sleep disorder and also occurs during Stage Four sleep.
Sleeping is very important to us. So what happens when we do get the sleep we need? What are the effects of being sleep deprived?
• “Decreased Performance and Alertness: Sleep deprivation induces significant reductions in performance and alertness. Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as one and a half hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32%.
• Memory and Cognitive Impairment: Decreased alertness and excessive daytime sleepiness impair your memory and your cognitive ability — your ability to think and process information.
• Stress Relationships: Disruption of a bed partner's sleep due to a sleep disorder may cause significant problems for the relationship (for example, separate bedrooms, conflicts, moodiness, etc.).
• Poor Quality of Life: You might, for example, be unable to participate in certain activities that require sustained attention, like going to the movies, seeing your child in a school play, or watching a favorite TV show.
• Occupational Injury: Excessive sleepiness also contributes to a greater than twofold higher risk of sustaining an occupational injury.
• Automobile Injury: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates conservatively that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities.”
After long amounts of time without sleep and the extra stress and overall poor quality of life that individuals who have been sleep deprived consistently for years on end, these individuals become prone to major diseases of the body. They include:
• High blood pressure
• Heart attack
• Heart failure
• Psychiatric problems, including depression and other mood disorders
• Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
• Mental impairment
• Fetal and childhood growth retardation
• Injury from accidents”
In conclusion, we’ve seen what sleep can do, we’ve seen the disorders that can disrupt sleep, and we’ve talked about the effects of not being able to sleep. As our textbook put it, “Psychologists have discovered a treatment that strengthens memory, increases concentration, boosts mood, moderates hunger and obesity, fortifies the disease-fight immune system, and lessens the risk of fatal accidents. Moreover, while supplies last, it’s available free! Even better news: the treatment feels good, it can be self-administered, and the supplies are limitless.”
Breus, Michael J. "Sleep Habits: More Important Than You Think." WebMD, 15 Mar. 2006. Web. 17 May 2010. <http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/important-sleep-habits?page=2>.
David, Myers G. "Chapter 6." Exploring Psychology. Seventh ed. New York: Worth, 2008. 186-99. Print.
According to Webster’s Dictionary steroids are defined as: any of a large group of fat-soluble organic compounds, as the sterols, bile acids, and sex hormones, most of which have specific physiological action.
Street Terms for Steroids
Arnolds, Gym Candy, Juice, Pumpers, Rocket Fuel, Stackers, Roids and Weight Trainers.
There are three main types of steroids;
1. Anabolic- chemically derived from testosterone
2. Androgenic- growth or thickening of the body’s non-reproductive tract tissues including the skeletal muscles, bones, the larynx and vocal chords and a decrease in body fat.
3. Cortico- man-made steroids that mimic the activity of cortisone (Cortisone is produced naturally in the body and is involved in regulating inflammation, thus dealing with injury).
History of Steroids
Steroids were developed in the 1930’s. They were first used by German’s on their dogs and then on their own solders’ in World War II. So prisioners wouldn’t suffer from malnutrition they used them to help them stay healthy.
In the 1950’s European and Russian athletes started to use steroids to enhance their size and athletic ability. They dominated and crushed world records.
Medical Uses: Steroids are used medically to rebuild tissues weakened by injury or disease, to assist in regaining or maintaining weight after illness, and to aid recovery from breast cancer and osteoporosis in women.
Legal Status: Steroids are a controlled substance under provisions of the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990. A related chemical, human growth hormone, is now also controlled
How to take Steroids
Orally: Steroids are in the form of a pill. A majority of steroid users try to avoid taking pills because it is harder on the liver. Pills should be taken more than once a day in order to keep the drug active in the body for longer. There are also liquid forms of steroids. Athletes like this type because it is easier than poking them all the time.
Injections: There are three major areas that are the safest to inject; the glut, shoulder and thigh. Injections need to be made one to two times a week.
Positive Effects of Steroids
Increased leanness /muscle definition, muscle mass / weight, strength, effectiveness of training, improved recovery rate, euphoria, increased aggressiveness and sex drive.
Negative Effects of Steroids
Short Term Effects for Boys
- Early sexual development
- Penis enlargement
- Painful, prolonged penile erections
- Premature closure of the growth plates in long bones resulting in a decrease in the total height achieve
- Fluid retention, swelling
Short Term Effects for Men
- Skin tissue damage at the spot of injection
- Shirking of the testicles
- Decreases sperm production and motility
- Decreased semen volume
- Frequent or continuing erections
- Enlargement of the breast
- Elevated blood pressure
- Increased LDL cholesterol levels
- Decreased HDL cholesterol levels
- Fluid retention and swelling
- Abnormal liver function
- Prostate enlargement
- Bleeding (usually from the nose)
Short Term Effects for Women
- Oily skin
- Tissure damage at injection site
- Deeping of the voice
- Increased body and facial hair growth
- Enlargement of the clitoris
- Male pattern baldness
- Decreased breast size
- Menstrual irregularities
- Fluid retention and swelling
Long Term Effects for Men and Women
- Liver dysfunction
- Liver tumors/cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Increased blood pressure
- Enlargement of the heart
- Death of heart cells
- Heart attacks
Effects of withdrawal of steroids;
Weakness, fatigue, decreased appetite, weight loss, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fainting, low blood pressure, joint pain, fever, muscle aches and menstrual changes in women.
Research has found that 67.3% of the American public is in favor of testing student athletes for steroids compared to a low 6.0% who strongly oppose. The rest fall somewhere in between and are undecided. I truly believe that there should be strict rules for testing during each semester of school. This way it will keep athletes from harming their bodies and putting their lives in danger. Sports will be fair again!
Steroid use in high school is at its all-time highs. Many people feel this is because of the pressure athletes during their high school years. In high schools 12% of teenage boys and 2.5% of teenage girls use steroids according to the Department of Health and Human Services. A very serious issue is coming up in research stating; teens that have used steroids for more than two months face dying in their 30’s and 40’s.
Teens use steroids for two reasons; sports and looks. According to Greg Viot (a nutrition store owner) out of 100 teens that come into his store looking for steroids 70 ask for the side effects and 30 just want them. I believe this is a major problem and should be taken extremely serious. Kids are doing it to look and feel cool and don’t look into or consider the consequences of their actions.
How to know if your friend, family member or teammate is using steroids;
Rapid weight gain, rapid muscle development, acne flare up, fuild retention, yellow tint in the eyes and on the skin, mood swings, depression, aggressive behavior and premature balding.
AIDS is a medical condition. A person is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system is too weak to fight off infections. AIDS is caused by HIV. HIV is a virus that gradually attacks immune system cells. As HIV progressively damages these cells, the body becomes more vulnerable to infections, which it will have difficulty in fighting off. It is at the point of very advanced HIV infection that a person is said to have AIDS. It can be years before HIV has damaged the immune system enough for AIDS to develop.
What are the symptoms of AIDS?
Worryingly, many people think there is a 'cure' for AIDS - which makes them feel safer, and perhaps take risks that they otherwise wouldn’t. However, there is still no cure for aids The only way to stay safe is to be aware of how hiv is transmitted and how to prevent hiv infection
Estimated numbers of persons living with HIV (not AIDS) or with AIDS at the end of 2007, and reported AIDS case rates in 2007, by state and dependent area
Area of residence Living with HIV (not AIDS)
Living with AIDS Reported AIDS cases in 2007 per 100,000 population
Alabama 5,740 4,046 8.4
Alaska 289 343 4.7
Arizona 6,226 5,110 9.2
Arkansas 2,425 2,286 6.9
California - 65,582 13.5
Colorado 6,067 4,286 7.3
Black and Hispanic communities have been disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS in America.
Estimated adult and adolescent HIV and AIDS case rates (per 100,000 population), by race/ethnicity, 2007
Race/ethnicity HIV AIDS
Males Females Total Males Females Total
White 18.7 3.3 10.8 10.6 1.8 6.1
Black/African American 136.8 60.6 96.2 81.3 39.8 59.2
Hispanic/Latino 56.2 16.0 36.9 31.0 8.9 20.4
Asian 15.5 3.5 9.3 7.3 1.6 4.3
American Indian/Alaska Native 23.1 9.4 16.4 12.5 5.0 8.6
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 76.7 9.0 43.4 37.5 7.1 22.3
Total 38.8 12.9 25.6 21.6 7.5 14.4
How many people have died from AIDS?
Since the first cases of AIDS were identified in 1981, more than 25 million people have died from AIDS. An estimated two million people died as a result of AIDS in 2008 alone.
Why do people still develop AIDS today?
Even though antiretroviral treatment can prevent the onset of AIDS in a person living with HIV, many people are still diagnosed with AIDS today. There are four main reasons for this:
• In many resource-poor countriesantiveral treatment is not readily availabe. Even in wealthier countries, such as America, many individuals are not covered by health insurance and cannot afford treatment.
• Some people who became infected with HIV in the early years of the epidemic before combination therapy was available, have subsequently developed drug resistance and therefore have limited treatment options.
• Many people are never tested for hiv and only become aware they are infected with the virus once they have developed an AIDS related illness. These people are at a higher risk of mortality, as they tend to respond less well to treatment at this stage.
• Sometimes people taking treatment are unable to adhere to, or tolerate the side effects of drugs.
Caring for a person with AIDS
In the later stages of AIDS, a person will need palliative care and emotional support In many parts of the world, friends, family and AIDS organizations provide home based care. This is particularly the case in countries with high HIV prevalence and overstretched healthcare systems.
End of life becomes necessary when a person has reached the very final stages of AIDS. At this stage, preparing for death and open discussion about whether a person is going to die often helps in addressing concerns and ensuring final wishes are followed.
What actions put me at risk for contracting HIV?
The most common ways that people put themselves at risk for HIV infection are engaging in unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex, sharing unclean drug paraphernalia like syringes and cookers, or sharing unclean needles used for tattoos and body piercing with a person who is HIV positive or unaware of their HIV status.
The use of drugs and/or alcohol can also put you at risk by making it harder for you to practise how do I prevent myself from contracting or transmitting HIV?
• Abstinence: Simply choose not to have sex. For more information about abstinence, visit
• Latex and Polyurethane Barrier Methods: Use safe sex materials such as male and female condoms, dental dams, and finger cots when engaging in sexual activity. Do not use male and female condoms at the same time!
• Needle Exchange/Clean Your Works: Always use new, unused needles or clean your works by flushing the needle and plunger with water and bleach each time you use an intravenous drug syringe. Do not share other IV drug paraphanalia such as cookers cottons/filters, or water glasses. There are needle exchange programs available in your area where you can exchange used needles for new ones. For more information, visit
• Tattoos and Piercing: When you get a tattoo or body piercing, use a professional tattooist or piercer who sterilizes all equipment, uses a new disposable needle (a new package should be opened in front of you) and new ink in a disposable container for each customer. Do not use a piercing gun because it cannot be properly sterilized. Keep any tattoo or piercing on your body clean and free from infection.
• Pregnancy: If you are HIV positive and think you may be pregnant, you should contact your doctor immediately to discuss your options. There are medications that you can take during your pregnancy to reduce your baby's risk of being HIV positive.
There are many different kinds of phobia’s out there. A phobia is a fear of something. It can be a fear of anything that is out there in the world for example, anything from highest, spiders, water, and animals. What causes the phobia is from a near death experents from anything and they hardly ever get over it. The phobia that I am going to talk about is equinophobia; it is the fear of horses.
Equinophobia is when people are scared to death of horses. It is when they have had bad experiences with a horse like getting bucked off, falling off, kicked and getting bit by one. When this happens it is usually the persons fault not the horses most of the time. When this happens it is ether the person surprises the horse and they are standing in the wrong spot and that is when they get kicked. When a they get bit is when they are petting them and push to heard on a sour spot and are standing up their hear. When a person gets bucked off it might be caused from one or two things. There may be something that is under the saddle pad or the sable is pinching on the back. That is really uncomfortable for the horse. The number one things that get people bucked off is when they kick the horse to far back. That area is called the flank. That is a spot that really bothers the horse when anything is around this area. That is usually what happens when people get a phobia of horse.
When one of these things happen the people usually don’t won’t nothing to do with horses at all. It all could have been prevented if there was someone how would of showed or told them what to do or the safe areas around the horse. The horse is used in so many ways that people don’t even know. There are some horses that are used for medical help out in the world. The horse used for a tip of massage therapy of some people. The people that are hurt by horses really don’t get to know what feels is like to enjoy the time with a nice gentle horse. When you spend time with a gentle horse it is really relaxing and calming I think. Just to seat there and groom the horse and even to feel the nice smoothness of their coat. The people that have equinophobia can’t even come close to a horse. When they even see a picture of a horse they get scared and start too panicky. Some of the people that have equinophobia are able to come over the fear of horses and there are some people that will never come over the fear. It is sad when the person that has the phobia of horses will never come over it.
I really don’t see how people can be afraid of a horse. But I guess I grow up around the animal and I know how they can be. There are some horses that a calm and cuddle. There are a lot of horses that love to have a lot of people around them.
Exploring Psychology book
A phobia is an intense and persistent fear of certain situations, activities, things, animals, or people. The main symptom of this disorder is the excessive and unreasonable desire to avoid the feared stimulus. When the fear is beyond one's control, and if the fear is interfering with daily life, then a diagnosis under one of the anxiety disorders can be made. Phobias are generally caused by an event recorded by the amygdale and hippocampus and labeled as deadly or dangerous; thus whenever a specific situation is approached again the body reacts as if the event were happening repeatedly afterward. Treatment comes in some way or another as a replacing of the memory and reaction to the previous event perceived as deadly with something more realistic and based more rationally. In reality most phobias are irrational, in the sense that they are thought to be dangerous, but in reality are not threatening to survival in any way. Some phobias are generated from the observation of a parent's or sibling's reaction. The observer then can take in the information and generate a fear of whatever they experienced.
Phobias are known as an emotional response learned because of difficult life experiences. Generally phobias occur when fear produced by a threatening situation is transmitted to other similar situations, while the original fear is often repressed or forgotten. The excessive, unreasoning fear of water, for example, may be based on a childhood experience of almost drowning. The individual attempts to avoid that situation in the future, a response that, while reducing anxiety in the short term, reinforces the association of the situation with the onset of anxiety.
Some phobias are, Anuptaphobia- Fear of staying single, Methyphobia- Fear of alcohol. Geumaphobia or Geumophobia- Fear of taste, and Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words.
If left untreated, a phobia may worsen to the point in which the person's life is seriously affected, both by the phobia itself and/or by attempts to avoid or conceal it. In fact, some people have had problems with friends and family, failed in school, and/or lost jobs while struggling to cope with a severe phobia. There may be periods of spontaneous improvement, but a phobia does not usually go away unless the person receives treatments designed specifically to help phobia sufferers. Alcoholics can be up to 10 times more likely to suffer from a phobia than those who are not alcoholics, and phobic individuals can be twice as likely to be addicted to alcohol than those who have never been phobic.
While there is no one specific known cause for phobias, it is thought that phobias run in families, are influenced by culture, and can be triggered by life events. Immediate family members of people with phobias are about three times more likely to also suffer from a phobia than those who do not have such a family history. Phobia sufferers have been found to be more likely to manage stress by avoiding the stressful situation and by having difficulty minimizing the intensity of the fearful situation.
Symptoms of phobias often involve having a panic attack — in that they include feelings of panic, dread, or terror, despite recognition that those feelings are excessive in relationship to any real danger — as well as physical symptoms like shaking, rapid heart beat, trouble breathing, and an overwhelming desire to escape the situation that is causing the phobic reaction. Also, extreme measures are sometimes taken to escape the situation.
Helping those who suffer from phobias by supportively and gradually exposing them to circumstances that are increasingly close to the one they are phobic about (desensitization) is one way phobias are treated.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to significantly decrease phobic symptoms by helping the phobia sufferer change his or her way of thinking. CBT uses three techniques to accomplish this goal: 1)Didactic component: This phase helps to set up positive expectations for therapy and promote the phobia sufferer's cooperation. 2) Cognitive component: It helps to identify the thoughts and assumptions that influence the person's behavior, particularly those that may predispose him or her to being phobic. 3) Behavioral component: This employs behavior-modifying techniques to teach the individual with a phobia more effective strategies for dealing with problems.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
What is obsessive compulsive disorder?
Obsessive compulsive disorder also known as OCD is an anxiety disorder. It is where a person has the urge or impulses to do recurrent or unwanted ideas. Doing such a thing relieves the discomfort they may feel by the obsession. OCD is actually more common than one person would think. It is more common than bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and panic disorder according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
What causes OCD?
OCD cannot be fully understood; however, it has been found that it is caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors. Biological factors include the brain, which is a complex structure. It contains the billion of nerve cells that controls body. Neurotransmitters move electrical messages from neuron to neuron, but someone who has OCD is a low level of serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical distributed in the tissue to act as a neurotransmitter. Environmental Factors are the stressors that trigger OCD. Depending on the environmental factors such as: abuse, changes in living, illness, death of a loved one, changes at work or school, and relationship concerns are all factor that can worsen OCD.
Can OCD be prevented?
There is not a way the OCD can be prevented. Finding out the diagnosis early can help with a treatment. It will help the individual suffer less from the condition.
Signs and Symptoms:
People with OCD have upsetting thoughts and use rituals to control the anxiety they produce, over time the rituals start controlling everyday life. For example, if people are obsessed with germs or dirt, they may develop a compulsion to wash their hands over and over again. If they develop an obsession with intruders, they may lock and relock their doors many times before going to bed. Even though normal people perform these rituals too, people with OCD perform these acts even though it interferes with their everyday life.
Common OCD thoughts:
• Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others
• Fear of causing harm to yourself or others
• Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts and images
• Excessive focus on religious or moral ideas
• Fear of losing or not having things you might need
• Order and symmetry: the idea that everything must line up “just right.”
• Superstitions; excessive attention to something considered lucky or unlucky
• Excessive double-checking of things, such as locks, appliances, and switches.
• Repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure they’re safe.
• Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety.
• Spending a lot of time washing or cleaning.
• Ordering, evening out, or arranging things “just so.”
• Praying excessively or engaging in rituals triggered by religious fear.
• Accumulating “junk” such as old newspapers, magazines, and empty food containers, or other things you don’t have a use for.
How is OCD Diagnosed?
The Doctor diagnoses people with OCD by basing his or her diagnoses on an assessment of the patient’s symptoms, including how much time the person spends performing his or her ritual behaviors. There is not a laboratory test for this diagnosis.
The main two treatments for OCD are psychotherapy and medication. CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective form with both children and adults. Exposure and response prevention is knowing that what you fear is around you and being to avoid/cope with your problem with doing little to nothing about it. All medications have side effects and health risks that’s why therapy is the best bet. All medications prescribed for OCD do work but they can have dangerous interactions with certain foods, vitamins or other medications.
Pros and Cons:
A pro of lower level OCD would be found in your professional musicians, professional athletes, and etc. They are required to perform a task the same way each time. A con of OCD would be the anxiety that comes with not being perfect.
When To See a Doctor
There’s a difference between being a perfectionist and having obsessive compulsive disorder. Perhaps you keep the floors in your house so clean that you could eat off them. Or you like your knickknacks arranged just so. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have obsessive compulsive disorder.
OCD can be time-consuming and so harsh that it becomes disabling. People can spend a lot more time on their obsessions and compulsions rather than being able to do what they need to be doing. OCD can rule most of your days. You need to see a doctor or mental health provider when your obsessions and compulsions are affecting your life.
Outlook for People with OCD
OCD can be treated with medication and/or cognitive-behavior therapy. The majority of people that do ongoing treatment can achieve long-term relief.
"Anxiety & Panic Disorders Guide". WebMD. May 14, 2010 <http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/tc/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd-topic-overview>.
"Introduction to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder". MentalHelp.net. May 14, 2010 <http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/center_index.php?id=6>.
Mayo Clinic Staff, "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder". Mayo Clinic. May 14, 2010 <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obsessive-compulsive-disorder/DS00189>.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (Split-Personality Disorder)
What is DID?
Dissociative identity disorder is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct or split identities or personality states that continually have power over the person's behavior. With dissociative identity disorder, there's also an inability to recall key personal information that is too far-reaching to be explained as mere forgetfulness. With dissociative identity disorder, there are also highly distinct memory variations, which fluctuate with the person's split personality.
The "alters" or different identities have their own age, sex, or race. Each has his or her own postures, gestures, and distinct way of talking. Sometimes the alters are imaginary people; sometimes they are animals. As each personality reveals itself and controls the individuals' behavior and thoughts, it's called "switching." Switching can take seconds to minutes to days. When under hypnosis, the person's different "alters" or identities may be very responsive to the therapist's requests.
Most of us have experienced mild dissociation, which is like daydreaming or getting lost in the moment while working on a project. However, dissociative identity disorder is a severe form of dissociation, a mental process, which produces a lack of connection in a person's thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. Dissociative identity disorder is thought to stem from trauma experienced by the person with the disorder. The dissociative aspect is thought to be a coping mechanism — the person literally dissociates himself from a situation or experience that's too violent, traumatic, or painful to assimilate with his conscious self.
There have been a few studies done on people that have shown symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder, and one of the more famous studies is the one done by Corbett H. Thigpen and Hervey M. Cleckley. Their study was on Chris Costner Sizemore, or as most people know her, Eve White.
The study of Sizemore was adapted into an American film called “The Three Faces of Eve”. Sizemore developed multiple personality disorder after witnessing a horrifying accidental death and two serious non-fatal accidents within three months when she was a child. Sizemore lived in South Carolina for years and while there she was seen by psychiatrists who diagnosed her with multiple personality disorder, they discovered that she not only has three personalities but almost twenty and they come out in groups of three.
Many people believe that multiple personality disorder is not real, and yet there are studies to show that it is real. Many people have been diagnosed with this disorder.
Why some people develop DID is not entirely understood, but they frequently report having experienced severe physical and sexual abuse, especially during childhood. Though the accuracy of such accounts is disputed, they are often confirmed by objective evidence. Individuals with DID may also have post-traumatic symptoms (nightmares, flashbacks, and startle responses) or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Several studies suggest that DID is more common among close biological relatives of persons who also have the disorder than in the general population. As this once rarely reported disorder has grown more common, the diagnosis has become controversial. Some believe that because DID patients are highly suggestible, their symptoms are at least partly iatrogenic— that is, prompted by their therapists' probing. Brain imaging studies, however, have corroborated identity transitions.
Psychotherapy is generally considered to be the main component of treatment for dissociative identity disorder. In treating individuals with DID, therapists usually try to help clients improve their relationships with others and to experience feelings they have not felt comfortable being in touch with or openly expressing in the past. This is carefully paced in order to prevent the person with DID from becoming overwhelmed by anxiety, risking a figurative repetition of their traumatic past being inflicted by those very strong emotions. Mental-health professionals also often guide clients in finding a way to have each aspect of them coexist and work together. The goal of achieving a more peaceful coexistence of each part of the person's sense of self is quite different than the reintegration of all those aspects into just one identity state. While reintegration used to be the goal of psychotherapy, it has frequently been found to leave individuals with DID feeling as if the goal of the practitioner is to get rid of, or "kill," parts of them.
Hypnosis is sometimes used to help increase the information that the person with DID has about their symptoms/identity states, thereby increasing the control they have over those states when they change from one personality state to another. That is said to occur by enhancing the communication that each aspect of the person's identity has with the others. In this age of insurance companies regulating the health care that most Americans receive, having time-limited, multiple periods of psychotherapy rather than intensive long-term care provides what may be another effective treatment option for people with DID.
Medications are often used to address the many other mental-health conditions that individuals with DID tend to have, like depression, severe anxiety, anger, and impulse-control problems. However, particular caution is appropriate when treating people with DID with medications because any effects they may experience, good or bad, may cause the sufferer of DID to feel like they are being controlled, and therefore traumatized yet again. As DID is often associated with episodes of severe depression, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can be a viable treatment when the combination of psychotherapy and medication does not result in adequate relief of symptoms.
DID or multiple personality disorder is still under skepticism as to whether it is a real disorder or not. There have been studies done, though, to prove the skeptics otherwise. In today’s society though it all depends on if you believe that DID could possibly be a true disorder. DID is usually caused by traumatic events in a persons childhood that they tried to suppress, which in turn caused them to develop the multiple personalities later on in life. In the end it is up to you to decide whether you believe in the disorder or not.
Child Abuse/Dissociative Identity disorder
Child abuse is a serious matter. Many children are abused and no one ever knows. Children can be abused in different ways, verbally, mentally, physically, and also sexually. Abusing a child in one manor may have not long term effect on the child yet another child getting abused in the same manor may have many long term effects of another child. Many children are abused when they are young. Child abuse can cause many problems in the mental stability of children with this background. Dissociation is the disruption of the normal integrative process of consciousness, perception, memory and identity that define selfhood. Dissociative identity disorder is increasingly understood as a complex and chronic posttraumatic psychopathology closely related to severe, particularly early, child abuse. Children who have been maltreated or abused are at risk for experiencing a host of mental health problems, including dissociative identity disorder. This can result in two or more personality states including auditory hallucinations, severe depression and suicidality, phobic anxiety, somatization, substance abuse, and borderline features that partially or fully predominate the psychological function of the individual for a period. Clinical and research reports indicate that a history of physical and sexual abuse in childhood is more common among adults who develop major mental illness than previously suspected. It has also been linked to adults who were physically neglected and in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. There are different degrees of dissociative disorders recognized, ranging from passive disengagement and withdrawal from active environment to multiple personality disorder (MPD). MPD is a sever dissociative disorder characterized by disturbances in memory and identity and is best understood as a post-traumatic adaptive dissociative response to pain and fear of overwhelming trauma, most commonly abuse. MPD is not often diagnosed as such in the pediatric population; however other forms of dissociative are not uncommon. This picture says because daddy had a bad day at work. This is no reason for a child to suffer. Just because life doesn’t go exactly like it should for you there is no reason you should take it out on a child. Most mom’s will sit back and let this happen. There is no reason for abuse to continue but someone has to speak up and stand up for what is right.
Psychotherapy is the treatment that is used for all individuals suffering from any type of dissociative disorders. There are many different approaches, but generally take an individual and empahasize the integration of the various personality states into one cohesive whole personality. Group therapy is not recommended. People that suffer from multiple personality disorder actually believe that they have multiple personalities which then take over a life of their own inside this person. Their personality is the sum of these identities, which have been split off at some point in the past, usually due to some individual or multiple traumatic events. Many people either don’t ask for help or are too embarrassed to ask for help. So many times abuse will go on for years. When children are abused at home they will most likely abuse their children, or they will be totally against the entire idea. No matter what child abuse is bad and it’s something that needs to be stopped so if you or someone you know is getting abused it is best to say something now. Stop it before it starts and don’t allow it to continue on. Don’t let this happen to your children, family, friends, or neighbors. This is one of the most traumatic events that can happen in a child’s life. Don’t be the person who just walks away.
Child abuse occurs more often than most people realize, most people don’t want to admit that they need help or are scared to reach out for help. Awareness is the first step to recovery. If abuse is caught early it can be stopped and hopefully there will not be long term effects, however if you allow it to go on it could end up in severe disorders, whether they be mental, physical, suicidal thoughts or could even end up in death. If you know someone getting abused then report it now don’t wait.
I am doing my project over Bipolar Disorder
How many people do you know suffer from some kind of mental disorder? Many people today suffer from many different kinds of mental diseases and disorders. One of those diseases is bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes drastic mood and energy shifts.
Bipolar disorder causes extreme high and extreme low mood changes. An overly joyful state is called manic episode and an extremely sad or low state is called a depressive episode. Explosive and irritable moods can also be associated with bipolar disease. Sometimes symptoms can get so severe its hard for a person with bipolar disorder to function in school, work, or just their everyday lives. Just a few behavioral changes may include: sleeping little, being easily distracted, change in eating habits, and feeling very tired and distracted. This disorder isn't something that just goes away.
Bipolar disorder may last a life time. Doctors diagnose this disorder by using guidelines from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
According to the DSM there are four basic types of bipolar disorder.
Bipolar I Disorder is mainly defined by mixed and manic episodes that last at lease seven days, or by manic symptoms that are very severe that the person needs hospital care right away. The person can also have depressive episodes, usually lasting at least two weeks. The symptoms of mania or depression must be a major change from the person's normal behavior.
Bipolar II Disorder is defined by a pattern of depressive episodes shifting back and forth with hypomanic episodes.
Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified is diagnosed when a person has symptoms of the illness that do not meet diagnostic criteria for either bipolar I or II. The symptoms may not last long enough, or the person may have too few symptoms to be put in the category of bipolar I or II. However, the symptoms are clearly out of the person normal range of behavior or mood.
The last category is Cyclothymic disorder. Cyclothymic disorder is a mild form of bipolar disorder. People who suffer form this disorder may have episodes of hypomania that shift back and forth with mild depression for at least two years. Although, the symptoms do not meet the standards for bipolar disorder.
There are many risks that come with bipolar disorder. When you get the disorder it is not just because of one thing, it is often many thing that are happening in your life that causes this disorder to come about. This disorder manly runs in families. If someone in your family has this disorder you are four to six times more likely to get the disorder. If your are an alcoholic or substance abuser then you are also at great risk of developing the disorder.
There really is no cure for bipolar disorder, but many thing you can do to help the mood swings. There are many pills to treat bipolar disorder that doctors will proscribe for the patient. A few of the medications that are often proscribed for the disorder are Lithium and Valproic Acid. Lithium was the first mood stabilizing medication approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration in 1970. It is very effective in controlling symptoms of mania and helps keep the manic and depressive episodes down. Valproic is pretty much just like Lithuim but with a little less effectiveness and side effects. One of the more recent medication is anticonvulsant lamotrigine. This medication is the most popular of them all.
Bipolar disorder is a very serious and should not be taken lightly. If you know someone who you think might have this disorder talk to them and see if you can get them some help. Although this disorder is not curable there are many step that you can take to getting it under control so you can live a normal life.
Postpartum depression is moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later. Most of the time, it occurs within the first 4 weeks after delivery.
Postpartum Depression Symptoms
Symptoms usually appear any time from 24 hours to a few months after delivery.
• If you have these, it is important to see a health care provider, who will look for other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
o Sad mood, frequent crying
o Lack of pleasure or interest in activities that once gave pleasure
o Sleep disturbance
o Weight loss
o Loss of energy
o Agitation or anxiety
o Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
o Trouble concentrating or making decisions
o Thoughts of death or suicide
o Decreased interest in sex
o Feelings of rejection
• Physical symptoms such as frequent headaches, chest pain, rapid heart beat, numbness, shakiness or dizziness, and mild shortness of breath suggest anxiety. Postpartum anxiety disorder is a separate disorder from postpartum depression, but the two often occur together.
• See the introduction to this article for symptoms specific to each type of postpartum depression.
Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues
Are mood changes common after childbirth?
After having a baby, many women have mood swings. One minute they feel happy, the next minute they start to cry. They may feel a little depressed, have a hard time concentrating, lose their appetite or find that they can't sleep well even when the baby is asleep. These symptoms usually start about 3 to 4 days after delivery and may last several days.
If you're a new mother and have any of these symptoms, you have what are called the baby blues. The baby blues are considered a normal part of early motherhood and usually go away within 10 days after delivery. However, some women have more severe symptoms or symptoms that last longer than a few days. This is called postpartum depression.
The treatment for depression after birth often includes medication, therapy, or a combination of both. There are several types of antidepressant medications that may be given to breastfeeding mothers, ,MMincluding nortriptyline, paroxetine, and sertraline.
If you are thinking of harming yourself or your infant, seek immediate medical help. If depression is diagnosed, you may need to be followed closely for at least 6 months.
Postpartum Depression Causes
No specific cause of postpartum depression has been found.
• Hormone imbalance is thought to play a role.
o Levels of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol fall dramatically within 48 hours after delivery.
o Women who go on to develop postpartum depression may be more sensitive to these hormonal changes.
• Other known risk factors
o Mental illness before pregnancy
o Mental illness, including postpartum depression, in the family
o Postpartum mental disorder after an earlier pregnancy
o Conflict in the marriage, loss of employment, or poor social support from friends and family
o Pregnancy loss such as miscarriage or stillbirth
The risk of major depression after miscarriage is high for women who are childless. It occurs even in women who were unhappy about being pregnant.
The risk for developing depression after miscarriage is highest within the first few months after the loss.
• Childbirth is a time of great change for a woman. The adjustment to these changes can contribute to depression.
o Physical changes after delivery
Many changes occur after delivery, including changes in muscletone and difficulty losing weight.
Many new mothers are very tired after giving birth and in the weeks afterwards.
Soreness and pain in your perineal area (area around the birth canal) makes many women uncomfortable. Physical recovery after cesarean delivery may take even longer than after vaginal delivery.
Changes in hormones can affect mood.
o Common emotional changes after delivery
Feelings of loss of an old identity, feeling trapped at home
Feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities of motherhood
Feeling stress from changes in routine
Feeling fatigue because of broken sleep patterns
Feeling less attractive physically and sexually
• A mother's age and the number of children she has had do not relate to her likelihood of getting postpartum depression.
What can I do to help myself?
If you have given birth recently and are feeling sad, blue, anxious, irritable, tired or have any of the other symptoms of postpartum depression, remember that many other women have had the same experience. You're not "losing your mind" or "going crazy" and you shouldn't feel that you just have to suffer through. Here are some things you can do that other mothers with postpartum depression have found helpful:
• Find someone to talk to and tell that person about your feelings.
• Get in touch with people who can help you with child care, household chores and errands. This social support network will help you find time for yourself so you can rest.
• Find time to do something for yourself, even if it's only 15 minutes a day. Try reading, exercising (walking is great for your health and is easy to do), taking a bath or meditating.
• Keep a diary. Every day, write down your emotions and feelings. This is a way to let out your thoughts and frustrations. Once you begin to feel better, you can go back and reread your diary. This will help you see how much better you are.
• Even if you can only get one thing done on any given day, remember that this is a step in the right direction. There may be days when you can't get anything done, but try not to get angry with yourself when this happens.
• It's okay to feel overwhelmed. Childbirth brings many changes and parenting is challenging. When you're not feeling like yourself, these changes can seem like too much to cope with.
• You're not expected to be a "supermom." Be honest about how much you can do, and ask other people to help you when you need it.
• Find a support group in your area or contact one of the organizations listed below. They can put you in touch with people near you who have experience with postpartum depression.
• Talk with your doctor about how you feel. He or she may offer counseling and/or medicines that can help.
Tests & diagnosis
There is no single test to diagnose postpartum depression. Your doctor may have you complete a questionnaire at your office visit to look for signs of depression or risks for depression.
Sometimes depression following pregnancy can be related to other medical conditions. Hypothyroidism, for example, causes symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, and depression. Women with postpartum depression should have a blood test to screen for low thyroid hormones.
Medication and professional counseling are often successful in reducing or eliminating symptoms.
Having good social support from family, friends, and coworkers may help to reduce the seriousness of postpartum depression, but may not prevent it.
Screening questionnaires may help with early detection of depression or risks for depression.
If left untreated, postpartum depression can last for months or years, and you may be at risk of harming yourself or your baby.
The potential long-term complications are the same as in major depression.
When to contact a doctor
Notify your doctor or pediatrician if you experience depression after pregnancy. Do not be afraid to seek help immediately if you feel overwhelmed and are afraid that you may hurt your baby.
Antisocial Personality Disorder vs. Psychopathy
By: Jay Wessel
When we think of antisocial personality disorder (APD) we often think of criminals and serial killers and psychopaths, but they are not the same. However, most people with antisocial personality disorder are not psychopaths, but some are criminals. Both of these are characterized as personality disorders, with the DSM categorizing pyschopathy under antisocial personality disorder.
First we need to establish what antisocial personality disorder is and what classifies as having this disorder. APD is a condition characterized by persistent disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood. Deceit and manipulation are central features of this disorder. The DSM-IV defines antisocial personality disorder as a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
• failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
• deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
• impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
• irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
• reckless disregard for safety of self or others
• consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain steady work or honor financial obligations
• lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another
The manual lists the following additional necessary criteria:
• The individual is at least age 18 years.
• There is evidence of Conduct Disorder with onset before age 15 years.
• The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia or a Manic Episode.
These individuals with APD tend to have a lack of conformity or respect for lawful behavior. They repeatedly carry out acts that are grounds for their arrest, and there is an extremely high tendency for such on individual to be deceitful. They often use aliases, repeatedly lie, and con people for either profit or even pleasure alone. They tend to be irritable, aggressive, participate repeatedly in physical fights or assaults, and display a consistently reckless disregard for the safety of themselves or others. They also lack remorse as displayed by their indifference for harming others. Research has shown that individuals with APD are indifferent to the possibility of physical pain or many punishments, and show no indication that they experience fear when threatened; this could explain their apparent disregard for the consequences of their actions, and their lack of empathy when others are suffering. In spite of their run-ins with the law, they usually present a very charming, personable, and normal façade. Currently there is no widely accepted effective method for treating APD. But therapy is most used to try and treat this. The therapy should be focused on helping the individual develop a trusting relationship with other significant people in their lives, and to help them learn healthy ways to deal with anxiety and to learn a more positive and mature way of interacting with others.
The DSM says that psychopaths, sociopaths, and someone with antisocial personality disorder are one in the same. However, Dr. Robert Hare and Theodore Million would beg to differ. Psychopaths do have antisocial traits but they are coupled with and enhanced by callousness, ruthlessness, extreme lack of empathy, deficient impulse control, deceitfulness, and sadism. About 80-85% of incarcerated criminals have antisocial personality disorder, but only about 20% of those would qualify as being a psychopath. Psychopaths account for 50% of all the most serious crimes committed, including half of all serial killers and repeat rapists. Dr. Robert Hare developed a checklist, the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), as the psycho-diagnostic tool most commonly used to diagnosis psychopaths. Psychopaths have the majority of the following traits:
Factor 1: Aggressive narcissism
• Glibness/superficial charm
• Grandiose sense of self-worth
• Pathological lying
• Lack of remorse or guilt
• Shallow affect
• Callous/lack of empathy
• Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Factor 2: Socially deviant lifestyle
• Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
• Parasitic lifestyle
• Poor behavioral controls
• Early behavioral problems
• Lack of realistic, long-term goals
• Juvenile delinquency
• Revocation of conditional release
• Continual acceptance antisocial behavior
• Traits not correlated with either factor
• Promiscuous sexual behavior
• Many short-term marital relationships
• Criminal versatility
Score 0 if the trait is absent, 1 if it is possibly or partially present and 2 if it is present. The item scores are summed to yield a total score ranging from 0 to 40 which is then considered to reflect the degree to which they resemble the prototypical psychopath. A score higher than 30 supports a diagnosis of psychopathy. Forensic studies of prison populations have reported average scores of around 22 on PCL-R; control "normal" populations show an average score of around 5. (This test must be administered by a trained health practitioner under controlled conditions.)
Psychopaths lack empathy and regard other people as mere instruments of gratification or as objections to be manipulated. These individuals have no problem to grasp ideas and to formulate choices, needs, preferences, courses of action, and priorities, but are shocked when others do the same. They hold themselves above conventional morality and the law, and think that might is right and people have no rights. This individual’s whims, urges, catering to his needs, and the satisfaction of his drives take precedence over the needs of even his “loved” ones. Psychopaths feel no remorse when they hurt or defraud others, instead they rational their behavior and intellectualize it. Since they cannot experience emotion associated with empathy, risk-seeking behavior and substance abuse may be attempts to fill the emotional void.
With this description of these two disorders you can see how they could be categorized as the same thing, but really they are not. Antisocial personality disorder is more of not fitting in socially, being impulsive, and some lack of remorse, while psychopathy is aggressive narcissism (glibness, pathological lying, callous, manipulative) and socially deviant lifestyle (impulsive, irresponsibility, criminal versatility.) These two disorders can be related and fall under the same category, but should not be lumped together as one, because they are different. Nor should these disorders, especially antisocial personality disorder, be associated with criminality. Criminal activity is not a necessary requirement for the diagnosis of either these disorders. Just because someone has APD does not mean they are a criminal, and vice versa.
Long, Philip W, M.D., “Antisocial Personality Disorder.” Internet Mental Health. 2009. Web. 11 May 2010.
“Anti-social Personality Disorder DSM IV 301.70.” accg.net. 2008. Web. 11 May 2010.
Decaire, Michael. “Mental Disorders and Crime: Personality Disorder.” Suite101.com. 2000. Web. 11 May 2010.
Vaknin, Sam. “The Psychopath Antisocial.” Suite101.com. 2006. Web. 11 May 2010.
“Antisocial Personality Disorder.” CenterSite, LLC. 2010. Web. 11 May 2010
Schizophrenia is a severe and disabling brain disorder characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality. The disorder can terrify people with the illness and make them withdrawn or extremely agitated. People with the Schizophrenia may hear voices other people don't hear. They can also believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. They may not make sense when they talk and sit for hours without moving or talking. Sometimes people with schizophrenia seem perfectly fine until they talk about what they are really thinking.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia can have positive or negative symptoms. Positive symptoms are psychotic behaviors not seen in healthy people. Negative symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. Another type of symptom can be cognitive, which are like negative, but can be difficult to recognize.
Symptoms involved in the positive side are things like hallucinations and delusions. Both of these can cause schizophrenics to see or hear things that aren’t there. They may also have thought disorder which is unusual ways of thinking. Movement disorder could be agitated body movements. It could also be a catatonic state.
Symptoms of the negative side include more emotions. The ‘flat affect’ is something that often occurs. It includes no movement in the face and a monotone. Other symptoms may be lack of pleasure, lack of ability to begin activities, and/or speaking little.
The less common of the three, Cognitive, includes trouble focusing, problems with the working memory and the ability to understand and use information.
Who does Schizophrenia affect?
About one percent of the general populations have Schizophrenia. It affects men and women the same. It also is not more common in any specific ethnicity. Some of the symptoms, as in hallucinations and delusions, can start as early as 16 and go until 30 years of age. This disorder is not common to occur after age 45. Men usually encounter symptoms earlier and children rarely develop schizophrenia.
What causes Schizophrenia?
There are many things that can contribute to this disorder. Genes can have a big part to do with schizophrenia. The disorder is known to run in families. Ten percent of people with a parent or sibling develop schizophrenia. It is also more likely for someone to develop the disease if an aunt, uncle, cousin or even grandparent has the disease. Identical twins are the most at risk of having the disease if the other has developed it. Schizophrenia may be passes through genes, but scientists do not think a single gene is responsible for the disease.
Another factor that contributes to schizophrenia is differences in the brain. It is believed there is an imbalance in the chemical reactions of the brain involving neurotransmitters, dopamine, and glutamate. Scientists have seen cavities in the brain larger in some people with schizophrenia. People with the disease also have less gray matter and differences in activity in the brain.
How is Schizophrenia treated?
Although schizophrenia is not curable, they have found treatments to help with symptoms. One treatment available for schizophrenics is antipsychotic medications, which are usually pill or liquid form. They may also come in shots given 1-2 times a month.
Another available treatment is Psychosocial, which is to help schizophrenics who are already stable on antipsychotic medication. This treatment can help patients deal with the everyday challenges of the illness, such as difficulty with communication, self-care, work, and forming and keeping relationships.
There are many other treatments that could help schizophrenics deal with their illness such as rehabilitation, behavior therapy, family education, etc.
Schizophrenia is the worst type of psychological disorder, it is known as the cancer. Schizophrenia is translated to a split mind. They say that people with schizophrenia are split from reality. They don’t think straight, they have crazy thoughts, and unsuitable actions and emotions. Schizophrenia is a never ending condition and is requiring a lifelong treatment.
When a person is being diagnosed with schizophrenia they may have positive or negative symptoms. Positive symptoms are when their unsuitable actions are present. Negative symptoms are when the suitable actions are absent. The positive symptoms you may find are hallucinations, talking in disorderly ways, laughing, crying or fuming at random times. The negative symptoms may include a monotone voice, no expressions on his face, speechless and stiff bodied. The hallucinations that schizophrenic patients have are hearing voices, smelling things that aren’t there, feeling something when nothings touching, and seeing things. When schizophrenic patients hear voices the voices are normally insulting or telling them to do bad things such as cut themselves or just saying to hurt themselves someway. The way the patients feel would be like being awake when you’re dreaming still, and you’re trying to go about a normal day in a dream. Schizophrenia causes a large number of problems. For example it may cause
• Suicidal thoughts
• Alcohol abuse
• Drug abuse
• Combination of drug and alcohol abuse
• Shortage of money
• Jail time
• Trouble finding a job
• Family conflicts
• Heart or lung disease related to smoking
Schizophrenic patients hear the voices telling them to harm themselves in one way or another, and they feel as if they have no control and they have to do what the voices are telling them.
Victims of this disorder are typically in their late teens or early twenties. This strikes men and women alike, however men typically suffer more severe symptoms than women. Studies have shown that patients whose illness appears to come on rapidly are more apt to recover. However, patients whose illness progresses more gradually are more likely to remain schizophrenic. Nearly 1 in 100 people will acquire schizophrenia in one year. There is an estimate that 24 million people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia per year.
Schizophrenia is still being studied very intensely, they are now connecting schizophrenia with the brain and researchers think that it may also be genetic. Researchers also suggest that schizophrenia may be a factor from the type of environment that you are raised in. it is not completely diagnosed for the cause but researchers also suggest that stress life situations, family history of schizophrenia, and contact with toxins when in the womb, and being experimental with psychoactive drugs as a child or teen. Researchers revealed that when they research dead schizophrenic patients brains they find an overload of dopamine in the brain, they are questionable that maybe the dopamine overload may be creating the positive symptoms such as paranoia and hallucinations.
Test to Diagnose
When you suspect that you have encountered somebody with schizophrenia or you think you may be schizophrenic you should go and get help. If you choose to go get help you will come across some test that the doctors will take you through. Some of the tests are very basic like a physical exam when they just check your weight, height, vitals, blood pressure, and your stomach. The laboratory test is when they test for drugs or alcohol, and they check your blood count. The more technical test would be the psychological evaluation. When in a psychological evaluation they will ask questions like when your symptoms started to show, if they are severe or not, if they affect your day by day life, and they will talk to you about suicide or if you have had thoughts about harming others. They may even want to speak with close friends and family to see if they have any opinions about the way they have been acting, or if anything has been different.
Drugs and Treatments
After going through the test the doctors will come to conclusion and decide if the symptoms and test all match up to schizophrenia. If they do they will then prescribe certain medicines to help maintain a somewhat normal life style for the patient. The medicines that they prescribe for schizophrenia are antipsychotic drugs. They have antipsychotic drugs from two different generations. They may also prescribe antidepressants or mood-stabilizing drugs. It all depends on the severity of the schizophrenia. With or without they drugs they also have all types of programs for schizophrenic patients to go to. One program they do is have a treatment team that may consist of
• Case workers
• Family or primary care doctor
• Social workers
• Psychiatric nurses
Some other main treatment options are hospitalization, medications, psychotherapy and, electroconvulsive therapy.
In March 2010 we went on a field trip for psychology to Larned State Hospital. We had the chance to speak with some of the patients that are admitted in the hospital and one of the guys was a schizophrenic. He was a larger guy and he had a very blank stare and expressionless face. When he spoke to us he kind of looked spaced out and he was very mono-tone. When he passed around his pictures that he drew you could tell he was paranoid just from the drawings. He drew pictures of people with their skull open and computer chips being put into their head. To me it seems like he thinks people are trying to program him to please other everybody. As we passed the pictures around he watched as everybody was touching the pictures. We weren’t sure if he was watching to see how we react or to make sure we don’t ruin them, maybe a combination of both. In the end of the trip I thought it was a very interesting experience and it made me lean more towards social work as my major.
Schizophrenia is a serious, chronic mental disorder characterized by loss of contact with reality and disturbances of thought, mood, and perception. Schizophrenia is the most common and the most potentially sever and disabling of the psychosis, a term encompassing several severe mental disorders that result in the loss of contact with reality along with major personality derangements. Schizophrenia patients experience delusions, hallucinations and often lose thought process. Schizophrenia affects an estimated one percent of the population in every country of the world. Victims share a range of symptoms that can be devastating to themselves as well as to families and friends. They may have trouble dealing with the most minor everyday stresses and insignificant changes in their surroundings. They may avoid social contact, ignore personal hygiene and behave oddly (Kass, 194). Many people outside the mental health profession believe that schizophrenia refers to a “split personality”. The word “schizophrenia” comes from the Greek schizo, meaning split and phrenia refers to the diaphragm once thought to be the location of a person’s mind and soul. When the word “schizophrenia” was established by European psychiatrists, they meant to describe a shattering, or breakdown, of basic psychological functions. Eugene Bleuler is one of the most influential psychiatrists of his time. He is best known today for his introduction of the term “schizophrenia” to describe the disorder previously known as dementia praecox and for his studies of schizophrenics. The illness can best be described as a collection of particular symptoms that usually fall into four basic categories: formal thought disorder, perception disorder, feeling/emotional disturbance, and behavior disorders (Young, 23). People with schizophrenia describe strange of unrealistic thoughts. Their speech is sometimes hard to follow because of disordered thinking. Phrases seem disconnected, and ideas move from topic to topic with no logical pattern in what is being said. In some cases, individuals with schizophrenia say that they have no idea at all or that their heads seem “empty”. Many schizophrenic patients think they possess extraordinary powers such as x-ray vision or super strength. They may believe that their thoughts are being controlled by others or that everyone knows what they are thinking. These beliefs are caused by delusions. Most specialists agree that symptoms are provoked by chemical disturbances of the brain, but no exact mechanism is known (Mueser, 102). Those with schizophrenia regularly report unusual sensory experiences, especially when the illness is in an acute stage. Often these experiences are in the form of hearing voices. Persons may hear one or two voices making comments on their behavior. They may not know the voice, or they may believe it is the voice of God, the Devil, or a friend. When the voice issues orders to behave in a particular way, the experience is known as a command hallucination. These hallucinations can be very dangerous to the sufferer and others. When the voice commands the person to do something, the schizophrenic person will perform that task as instructed (Kass, 188). Particular, repetitive movements sometimes are seen in schizophrenics. Victims might swing one leg back and forth all day, or constantly shake their heads. Catatonic behavior is another symptom; a victim might keep the same position for hours, unable to talk or eat. Catatonic schizophrenia is marked by striking motor behavior. Some victims may be overly intrusive, constantly prying into the affairs of those around them (Gingerich, 64). When compared to other people in general, those with schizophrenia are less likely to marry or remain married; more likely to have school problems; often unable to keep their jobs; more prone to suicide attempts. People with schizophrenia also tend to fall into other groupings that can help in diagnosis. The majority range in age from adolescence to the mid twenties at the time the psychosis begins. No single patient is likely to show all the symptoms associated with the illness or fall into all of the categories listed. One person may experience only auditory hallucinations and exhibit only inappropriate emotions. Another might become reclusive and suffer from delusions (Arasse, 210). The modern era of medical treatment for schizophrenia began in 1952 with the use of the tranquilizer chlorpromazine. This drug, for the first time, controlled acute systems, reduced hospitalization from years to days, and lowered the rate of relapse by more than fifty percent. Not everyone responds to these drugs. Long term control is less successful than short term alleviation. Prolonged medication may bring harmful side effects, especially the neurological muscle disorder known as tar dive dyskinesia (TD), which causes involuntary facial movements. Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter that appears to be involved in this disorder, and most medications used to treat schizophrenia target this neurotransmitter and its receptors in the brain. Schizophrenia seems to be a syndrome of multiple causes and types. Genetics seem to play a role, but there is no single “schizophrenia gene”. While it is clear that a supportive family can be helpful in preventing relapse, it is also agreed that family strife does not cause schizophrenia (Young, 35). One of the most recent advances in treating schizophrenia is the drug clozapine. This drug has been used in Europe and China for a number of years and now has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1990 for use in the United States. Clozapine is sometimes effective in cases where other drugs have failed to blunt systems. This drug appears to have fewer side effects than some of the anti-psychotic drugs. A major drawback to its use is that it can dangerously lower the count of white blood cells. Other new medications that have beneficial effect similar to clozapine but that appear to be safer are now undergoing testing and may be available in the near future. Various medications are handled by the body in different ways, so one drug may be selected over another because it has less chance of damaging a diseased liver, worsening a heart condition, or affecting a patient’s high blood pressure. For all the benefits that anti-psychotic drugs provide, clearly they are far from ideal. Some patients will show marked improvement with drugs, while others might be helped only a little, if at all. Ideally, drugs soon will be developed to treat successfully the whole range of schizophrenia symptoms. Roughly one third of schizophrenic patients make a complete recovery and have no further recurrence, one third have recurrent episodes of the illness, and one third deteriorate into chronic schizophrenia with severe disability (Kass, 206).
Arasse, Daniel. Complete Guide to Mental Health. Allen Lane Press, New York, 1989. Gingerich, Susan. Coping With Schizophrenia. New Harbinger Publications, Inc. Oakland, 1994. Kass, Stephen. Schizophrenia: The Facts. Oxford University Press. New York, 1997.
Muesen, Kim. “Schizophrenia”. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation, 1998. Young, Patrick. The Encyclopedia of Health, Psychological Disorders and Their Treatment. Herrington Publications. New York, 1991.