Archive for the ‘Schizophrenia Articles’ Category

Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder with relatively few learning considering the advancement of medical science in modern age. However, we have come to a stage where we understand the four main mechanisms surrounding Schizophrenia and we shall look at them in details below.

Dopamine

Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter, found in humans and animals and is responsible for the activation of different dopamine receptors. There is a prominent level of dopamine in the brain of a person suffering from Schizophrenia. In the past, post mortem analysis of Schizophrenic patients has shown an increase in the dopamine receptor – D2 in the inner region of the forebrain known as the striatum. These increased levels of D2 receptor increase the intensity of signals in the brain and is responsible for the symptoms of hallucination, illusion, paranoia and obsession.

Neurotrophins

Neurotrophins are proteins which help in the repair, continued existence and development of neurons. They are actually growth factors which are released by a stimulated, active neuron and help neurons in establishing connections with surrounding neurons. As we age, our brain executes a maintenance mechanism according to which neurons are not useful i.e. the ones which do not have connection with surrounding neurons are eliminated through the process of programmed cell death.

The secretion of neurotrophins is essential for the prevention of the cell apoptosis or programmed cell death of its target neuron. In a Schizophrenic patient, neurotrophins are in much reduced amount as a result when the maintenance mechanism of the brain is executed most of the neurons undergo programmed cell death and there is neuronal degeneration. Studies have also demonstrated that a reduction in the computational capability is associated with reduced neutrophin level in the brain. Experimental results have shown a reduction of 5% in the gray matter volume in the cortex region of the brain of Schizophrenic patients.

Glutamate

Glutamate also known as Glutamic acid is a common neurotransmitter found in the brain. A postmortem study of Schizophrenic patient has shown a reduction in the density of glutamate receptor in the brain of the patient. Such an activity of glutamate holds up to the finding of increased levels of dopamine receptors in Schizophrenic patients, because dopamine receptors have an inherent property of restraining glutamate.

Hypoxia

Hypoxia is a term used to define a lack of oxygen supply either to one part of the body or to all the parts. The human brain stands apart for its major consumption of oxygen. Studies have elucidated the reason behind the sensitivity of the brain for its level of oxygen. Studies have shown that even though the weight of brain is only 2% of the entire body weight but the amount of oxygen the brain consumes is as much as 20% of the oxygen consumed by the entire human body.

Hypoxia in the brain also known as cerebral ischemia and can be either due to accidental head injury or due to depreciated activity of nerve cells as a result of excessive addictive drug consumption. Under hypoxia there is an entry of excessive amounts of calcium, which is responsible for intracellular excitation waves, into the neurons, these cause severe harms to the neurons and the connections of the neurons and in some cases can result in the death of the neuron.

Schizophrenic patients who are under great stress due to sarcasm, hallucinations, delusions, nebulous thinking, mood swings and experience traumas in their lives are more likely to experience cerebral ischemia and as a result of which there can be an increased level of intracellular excitation. An elevated intracellular excitation leads to destruction of the complex neural circuitry and this hampers the cognitive functions of the brain.

Schizophrenia is a terrible mental disorder that affects 1 percent of the US population. You can learn more about this condition, including schizophrenia test and schizophrenia definition on Clivir – the free learning community.

People suffering from Schizophrenia will experience both positive and negative symptoms, typical characteristics of the mental disorder. This article seeks to discuss both symptoms in more detail.

Positive Symptoms

Positive symptoms define all symptoms which are more specific to Schizophrenic patients and are not normally experienced by healthy individuals. These signs point to losing touch with the real world. Positive symptoms can be either severe or mild which are unnoticeable by people around. Positive systems include delusions, illusions, hallucinations and having nebulous thinking.

Negative Symptoms

Negative symptoms define all symptoms that can occur in any healthy individual in response to certain emotional or physical setback. Negative symptoms are not blatantly noticeable and are hard to identify. Here is a list of the different negative Schizophrenia symptoms:

1. Dullness in the mood and voice of a person: The person may speak in a monotonous fashion without any expressions on the face or any movement of the face.

2. Depression and loss of pleasure in day to day life: The person loses interest in any activity, feels hopeless, helpless, miserable and pathetic, experiences guilt, and has constant self depreciation thoughts in his mind. Such a person does not feel enthusiastic or interested in anything in spite of rewards, recognitions or encouragement.

3. Lack concentration during the day to day activities: The person is not motivated, undergoes loss of enthusiasm and loses concentration in many activities.

4. Emotional imbalance and social withdrawal: The person experiences lack of emotion and loses connection with his loved ones. The person is unable to respond to any external emotional stimuli. He is likely to show emotions at the wrong time, for example, crying at a wedding and laughing at a funeral. He likes to spend time alone and will choose not to talk to anyone even when he is encouraged to do so.

5. Failure to articulate: When the frontal lobe of the brain is damaged, a Schizophrenia patient will not be able to communicate and process thoughts properly.

6. Incompetence in planning, organizing and following instructions: The person is unable to perform planning or organize things in an orderly manner. He will find it challenging to organize and express his thoughts when communicating to people. Hence it becomes very difficult for a normal individual to understand a Schizophrenic patient who sounds very confusing, illogical and unclear in certain situations. Schizophrenic patients can also face difficulty in following instructions to perform straightforward tasks.

7. Loss of appetite: The person has loss of appetite and does not feel like eating even if he has not had any food for long and his body requires it.

8. Lack of personal hygiene: The person becomes very lazy and seems like he cannot take care of himself. He even neglects his day to day tasks like bathing and maintaining personal hygiene.

9. Violent behaviors: Generally, this symptom is observed only in Schizophrenic patients who have been short tempered or who have committed crimes in the past. In cases of Schizophrenia patients, these violent behaviors worsen.

10. Talking about self destruction: The person might talk about committing suicide. When such incident happens, the patient must be taken seriously and medical attention is needed immediately.

Schizophrenia is a disabling mental condition that is extremely complicated and hard to understand. This disorder is affecting up to 2 million people in USA today. You can visit Clivir.com to find out more schizophrenia diagnosis and paranoid schizophrenia symptoms.

When she’s experiencing hallucinations, artist Sue Morgan feels compelled to draw; to ‘get it out of her head’. Sue was diagnosed with schizophrenia about 20 years ago. The drawing is therapeutic, but it’s also Sue’s way of expressing the complex and sometimes frightening secret world in her head. In this film Sue meets Sukhi Shergill, a clinician and researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. He’s also making pictures, but using MRI to peer inside the brains of schizophrenia patients.

Read more about schizophrenia: http://www.nature.com/nature/outlook/schizophrenia/index.html

We asked Sue to design the cover for our collection of articles about schizophrenia. Sue talks about the design in this short video: http://youtu.be/tIy_8VLf0Lo
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