Personality Disorders and Other Mental Research Paper

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523). The voices that schizophrenics hear might indeed persuade them to commit criminal and even violent acts, and the delusions of persecution might also lead to such behaviors when schizophrenics encounter individuals that they believe to be "enemies" within their framework of delusion (Hirsch & Weinberger 2003, pp. 25-7).

In addition to these rather extreme symptoms of schizophrenia, other milder signs often accompany the disorder and can appear as precursors to the full blown development of the disorder. An emotional "flatness" or lack of response to normal emotional stimuli is a typical aspect of schizophrenia in many of its stages, which contrasts sharply to the depths of fear, rage, and paranoia that schizophrenics can exhibit at the extremes of their delusions (Hirsch & Weinberger 2003, pp. 26-30). This is mirrored by a semi-catatonic physical state, where body movements become lessened, there is again reduced physical response to external stimuli, and even a marked reduction in sensitivity to pain (Hirsch & Weinberger 2003, pp. 25). Schizophrenics, simply put, no longer fully inhabit the same reality as do those not suffering from the disorder, but respond more to stimuli that is the creation of their own minds, rather than the simple and direct stimuli that truly exists in their lives.

Comparing Disorders

Borderline personality disorders, like all personality disorders, is primarily if not entirely an issue of perspective -- those with the disorder refuse to see themselves responsible for the circumstances of their lives, and have massive mood swings that they justify by seeing the world in extremes of black and white, good and bad, etc. (Paris 2007, pp. 460-1). Schizophrenics, on the other hand, truly see a different reality -- it is not merely the relationships between events, other people, and their own person that is subjectively skewed, but what their brain actually perceives in these persons and events is different (Firth & Corcoran 1996).

The differences in these disorders are not merely symptomatic, but are indicative of the different underlying causes of these disorders. Personality disorders are generally seen as experiential issues -- they have more to do with how an individual has learned to relate to the world than they do with the actual physiology of the individual suffering from a disorder such as borderline personality disorder (Barlow 2008). Schizophrenia, on the other hand, is definitely caused by physiological and chemical disturbances; though the precise mechanisms by which the disorder is brought about are still not fully understood, research has shown that chemical treatments are often necessary to reduce symptoms (Hirsch & Weinberger 2003, pp. 421-3). The side effects of these medications often leave patients feeling depressed and non-functional, however, meaning treatment regimens are often abandoned and leaving these individuals with the same problems (Hirsch & Weinberger 2003, pp. 423). Borderline personality disorder can be treated with effective (though arduous) therapy; schizophrenia is simpler yet more insidious and without a true "cure."

Conclusion

There are many other obvious and subtle differences between borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia that are not detailed here. Both disorders lead the patient to feel somewhat persecuted and out of control, but they are very different in their root causes and ultimate effects. As each becomes better understood, treatments will become more effective, and though these too will be different they will certainly be appreciated equally by many.

References

Antony, M. & Barlow, D. (2002). Handbook of assessment and treatment planning for psychological disorders. New York: Guilford.

Barlow, D. (2008). Clinical handbook of psychological disorders. New York: Guilford.

Frith, C. & Corcoran, R. (1996). "Exploring 'theory of mind" in…

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References

Antony, M. & Barlow, D. (2002). Handbook of assessment and treatment planning for psychological disorders. New York: Guilford.

Barlow, D. (2008). Clinical handbook of psychological disorders. New York: Guilford.

Frith, C. & Corcoran, R. (1996). "Exploring 'theory of mind" in people with schizophrenia." Psychological Medicine 26, pp. 521-30.

Hirsch, S. & Weinberger, D. (2003). Schizophrenia. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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