When I arrived home for break I found that my sister, who is taking Abnormal Psychology at her school, is currently studying Schizophrenia. For me it was interesting to read her classes’ powerpoint presentation on Schizophrenia and learn a little more about the basics that I never learned in the beginning. I know all about the biological aspect of schizophrenia and we’ve discussed the medication, but I never really got the low down on the disease. Here are a few things that I learned from the notes that I didn’t know before.
Bleuler described and coined the name Schizophrenia. There are four fundamental features which are referred to as Bleuler’s Four A’s. These are: association (thought disorder), affect (emotional disturbance), ambivalence (inability to make or follow through on decisions), and autism (idiosyncratic style of egocentric thought and behavior). Schizophrenia also has three distinct stages: Prodroma, Active, and Residual. During the prodroma stage there are no active symptoms but there is a deterioration in social and interpersonal functioning. The active stage is when the psychotic symptoms are present. Finally, the residual phase is similar to the prodroma stage where disurbances are still evident but this period occurs after the active stage.
The class also describes the five different classifications of Schizophrenia: catatonic, disorganized, paranoid, undifferentiated, and residual. Catatonic type Schizophrenia is characterized by at least two bodily movement abnormalities, disorganized Schizophrenia involves a combination of symptoms such as disorganized speech/behavior or flat affect, paranoid Schizophrenia is commonly called simply Schizophrenia and describes a person who is preoccupied with bizarre delusions and/or auditory hallucinations, undifferentiated Schizophrenia doesn’t fit the symptoms of the other types of Schizophrenia, and residual type of Schizophrenia are in the residual stage of the disease.
I also learned about different, but related types of disorders such as brief psychotic disorder, schizophreniform disorder, and schizoaffective disorder. Brief psychotic disorder is characterized by a sudden onset of psychotic symptoms that last less than a month. Schizophreniform disorder has basically the same symptoms as Schizophrenia but lasts between one and six months. Schizoaffective disorder is Schizophrenia co-occurring with a mood disorder.
There, I’ve laid it all out for you. I hope this enlightens you as much as it has enlightened me. I really knew only the basics of Schizophrenia previous to this discussion. For me, learning about a disorder really helps me understand and relieves some of the stereotypes that I’ve heard over the years.
All the different types of Schizophrenia make me wonder what determines the type of Schizophrenia an individual develops. Unlike a “simple” biological disease there is so much more diversity in the symptoms of Schizophrenia. These is so much left to solve when it comes to diseases, psychological in particular. All these unknowns are killing me!