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Mental Illness Essay

3768 words - 16 pages

Mental Illness and Schizophrenia

Mental Illness and Schizophrenia

Joyce Dalton

PSY350: Physiological Psychology

Instructor: Brandy Goldston

February 5, 2012

Mental Illness and Schizophrenia
Mental illness has been acknowledged for thousands of years. Those who were different, or acted different from what main stream society felt was the norm; those who committed adultery, those pregnant out of wedlock, or even those who were mentally different, were all singled out, treated the same, and considered abnormal. Abnormal behavior cannot simply be defined into a single definition, with no definite line that can be crossed which separates whether someone on one side of the line ...view middle of the document...

It is when symptoms occur often, and they interfere in a person's everyday life, allows for a diagnosis of a mental illness. In fact, 43 percent of the entire population of the United States has been diagnosed with a mental illness, with only 3 percent of these being classified as serious. It is this small percentage that will require treatment to either relieve or cure them of their mental illness.
Treatments for mental illness has improved dramatically since the 1950's, which has made recovery that much faster, and has helped the majority of sufferer’s who seek treatment return to their normal lives faster. Mental illness can be described in two basic terms, based on the seriousness of the mental illness that the person has, which is neurosis and psychosis. Neurosis is the term used to describe a mild disorder that may cause a small amount of emotional stress, but does not cause a great deal of interference in the sufferer’s everyday life. Psychosis is used to describe a severe mental illness that is strong enough that it prevents the sufferer from performing as they normally would. Insanity is a generalized term to describe someone who suffers from a mental illness, which is not an actual medical term, but a term used in court to prove a person is not legally responsible for their actions.
There are more than one hundred different types of mental illnesses, which are divided into ten categories; delirium, dementia, schizophrenia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, somatoform disorders, personality disorders, eating, and finally substance disorders. The focus of this paper, however, is schizophrenia, which is a disorder that affects a person's way of thinking, their emotions, perceptions, and their behavior. The determination for schizophrenia is a display of one or more characteristics; such as hearing voices when completely alone, feel persecuted for no apparent reason, or a decrease in the person's ability to work, maintain personal relationships, and their inability to perform well in school. A type of psychosis, schizophrenia is one of the most debilitating and chronic of the severe mental illnesses. Schizophrenia ranges from the most extreme cases, where the person must be institutionalized, to milder cases, where the person can be treated with medication, with the ability to function perfectly. The milder symptoms are harmless on their own, but when these milder symptoms are combined, it can be a sign of something more serious.
For the longest time, schizophrenia was seen as a “functional disorder,” with some doctors calling it a sociological phenomenon, meaning that patients with the disease are normal people driven insane by the insane world (Gelder, 1989). However, with the efficiency of anti-psychotic drugs, and the recent advances in biological research, has changed this view. The scientific advances in neuroscience, molecular biology, genetics, and brain imaging throughout the years have provided the...

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