Psychosis and lifespan development. Psychosis, or the state in which emotions and thoughts are severely disordered and need the help of a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist (Prinel, 2006, 449). Mental illnesses may affect a person as early as childhood (Taylor 1998). However, mental disorders, such as schizophrenia usually surface in a person's late adolescent period or in early adulthood (Kring et al., 2007, 350). Mental illnesses affect both males and females, equally, but may appear earlier for males (Kring et al., 2007, 350). A person who develops a serious mental illness as a child is deprived from experiencing normal maturation and cognitive development (Taylor, 1998, 316). Young patients with a psychosis like schizophrenia may not be impaired, intellectually, but since they do not fully develop their social cognitive skills, they often find it hard to express themselves and to socialize with others (Taylor, 1998, 316-317). Mental illness that manifest in adults can take the form of the following, as categorized by the DSM-IV (1994): Adults may suffer from schizophreniform disorder or schizoaffective disorder, which are mild forms of schizophrenia. However, patients with schizophreniform disorder are still able to function, socially and occupationally. As described by the DSM-IV, those with schizophreniform may show psychotic symptoms within 4 weeks when their usual functioning or behavior is altered and they will exhibit confusion or perplexity at the peak of their psychotic meltdown (American Psychiatric Assiociation, 1994). A person with schizoaffective disorder, on the other hand, also expresses symptoms of schizophrenia but will also experience periods of either deep depression or unipolar illness or bipolar illness, which is a mix of both mania and depression (Taylor, 1998). During this time, hallucinations or delusions are present for 2 weeks, minimum (American Psychiatric Assiociation, 1994). This paper shall now go on to describe schizophrenia, which is the more form of these disorders.
Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia may hit only about 1% of the population, the effects of this disorder is devastating not just to the patient but also to those around him or her (Kring et al., 2007). Schizophrenia is described by Kring et al. (2007) by "the scattering or disconnection of thoughts, lack of emotion, odd delusions and bewildering hallucinations" (Kring et al., 2007, 359). A schizophrenic is unable to express his emotions and will often articulate inappropriate emotions (e.g. laughing when told of a death in his family but getting frustrated or angry when asked simple questions) (Kring, et al., 2007). A schizophrenic also exhibits disordered thinking, wherein his "ideas are not logically connected; faulty perception and attention" (Kring et al., 2007, 350). Furthermore, a schizophrenic experiences a disturbance in his movement or his behavior (Ibid). He may drag his feet while he walks or may often look messy or untidy (Ibid).
A person need only suffer from one of following symptoms recurring in a span of 8 months to be diagnosed with schizophrenia (Prinel, 2006, 450). Symptoms of