Schizophrenia is a mental disease that effects over 1 percent of the population. It can occur at any age but most commonly happens between 16-30. It leaves the patient confused in a chaotic state of mind with multiple debilitating mental confusion. The first of them being delusions, the patient is convinced that people around them can read their minds, and that they can read other peoples (British Journal of Psychology, 625). The patient then begins to believe that the people around them are plotting against them and are out to get them. Not only does the disease effect the patient mentally though, but also it starts to effect their physical sensations. The patients can’t interpret incoming sensations and can’t control their physical emotions, this effects the patients common sense of what to do in every day situations. For example when a person with normal mental health receives a gift their natural reaction would be to thank the person who gave it to them. A schizophrenic person would become confused and be unable to react and cope with the situation. The patient begins to get an altered sense of themselves and have an extremely hard time functioning in every day life. They start to believe they can control other people’s thoughts. They usually start to become violent because they get so confused with the thoughts of plots against them they believe they are defending themselves. A person who is diagnosed with a schizoid personality is basically on the way to having schizophrenia. It is considered a stage to the disease. The causes of each of the diseases are the same, and most of them are physical abnormalities of the brain.
In over hundreds of studies on schizophrenia and similar mental conditions doctors have found some similar abnormalities in the brains of the patients. The first being enlarged ventricles in the brain (British Journal of Psychology, 697). The second being a reduced volume of gray matter in the brain, mainly in the temporal and frontal lobes (British Journal of Psychology, 110). The third is an enlarged amygdala and an increased number of white matter hypertesites (British Journal of Psychology, 260). Finally a set of neuropsychological abnorms such as cognitive functions, information processing, and verbal memory (Fourth Generation of Progress, 1245). In some other studies doctors have found a reduced prefrontal area.
A doctor will not diagnose a person with schizoid personality or schizophrenia based off physical abnormalities though. The patient must experience a loss of reality, and that loss must maintain for at least six months. Doctors also have to rule out drug use, which can produce similar behavior as schizophrenia. Doctors must also rule out depression, delusional disorders, and paranoid personality disorder. The doctor must observe that the person is socially distant too. The doctor can look at a number of symptoms of schizoid personality. The first being emotional coldness, the patient will not desire nor enjoy close relationships including being part of a family. The patient will almost always choose solitary activities. The patient will have no desire for sexual experiences. The patient will take place in few if any activities. The patient lacks friends other than first-degree relatives and finally the patient will be indifferent to praise or criticism (www.mentalhealth.com).
In the treating of schizoid personality medicine is not an option. Medications almost always don’t work. There are three different therapies’ that generally work the best. Psychosocial therapy which is for less sever cases of the disease. This is considered sort of an outpatient program. The physician appreciates the privacy and maintains a low-key approach toward the patient. The doctor becomes involved in the patient’s life, but not as far as to push comfortable limits. The patient is encouraged to go on with everyday life and learns to adapt back to society (www.mentalhealth.com). The next treatment most commonly used is individual therapy. This is usually a long-term therapy in which the doctor becomes very involved with the patient’s life. This therapy involves a long gradual development of trust. The patient is provided with a sense of optimism, but the doctor is careful not to overwhelm the patient. The most successful therapy involves interaction that is constant and supportive, and yet allows the patient to set a distance of comfortability. After a period of time the patient will begin to reveal their fears, imaginary friends, and other attributes of the disease on the way to recovery (Harvard Medical Letter, Oct.1997). Finally group therapy is used to help the disease. This is generally for sever cases, people who have completely detached themselves from society and often mentally can’t handle a simple thing such as a conversation. The patient may not even speak in the group for over a year, but it is important that the doctor protect the patient from criticism of the other patients whom are willing to talk. But it is proven that the patient will eventually talk in the group. Group therapy provides a social network in which the patient has the opportunity to overcome their fears of closeness and feelings of isolation (Harvard Medical Letter, Oct. 1997)
In conclusion schizoid personality is a very tough disease to deal with both for the patient and friends and family of the patient. The disease is very serious and confusing to both the doctors and patients. Unfortunately medications are not an option as of today and it sometimes takes years of therapy to just have the person be able to function normally in today’s society. Although we have come a long way with the different therapies available we still have a long way to go. It is sad that most schizoids are threated as lesser humans for something that they cannot control, and even more of a tragedy is that if it goes undiagnosed the patient will usually end it with suicide. Next year over 2.5 million people will be diagnosed with a schizophrenic condition, hopefully science will be able to soon help the victims of this humiliating and debilitating disease.
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