Schizophrenia Affects Development & Aging Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

An initial psychotic episode is often the result, with immediate in-hospital treatment recommended for testing and observation. Treatment includes anti-psychotic medication and patients often respond well, particularly in milder cases of the illness. (Csernansky, 2001) However, a general inability to adapt socially will persist and prevent a "normal" existence for these individuals. In one case, a female patient described her general personality despite medication as characterized by "low self-esteem, hypersensitivity to criticism, hyperempathy, excessive generosity, susceptibility to manipulation, and social awkwardness" (Reichenberg-Ullman, 2010). In addition, substance abuse, inability to hold a job, risk of suicide, and unwanted pregnancy are typical themes in these patients' lives. (Csernansky, 2001) in the case of pregnancy, females often suffer complications beyond their mental illness, such as poor prenatal care, risk of violence during pregnancy, and reduced likelihood of having a male supportive figure (staff, 2007)

In the middle phase of schizophrenia, or the first several years after onset, the severity of the disease can be determined. How well a patient will respond to different forms of treatment (psychotropic medication, psychotherapy, or supportive group therapy, to name a few) becomes apparent, and appropriate plans can be made for coping with the illness on a daily basis. This leads to a stabilization of symptoms that can be expected to last until the patient enters their fifties. However, during the middle stages, successful employment and fulfilling relationships continue to be nearly impossible for schizophrenic patients (Csernansky, 2001). In addition, while positive and outward symptoms may become more subtle, there is often a worsening at this point of more inward symptoms. These can include a further reduction in ambition or initiative, occupational skill level, emotional responsiveness, and ability to maintain a proper appearance (Csernansky, 2001). It is these deteriorating symptoms that may lead to the "burned out," apathetic appearance characteristic of schizophrenic patients as they continue to age (Collier, 2007).

The final phase, the late stage, refers to schizophrenia among the elderly. Unfortunately, research for the benefit of older patients is scarce, even though over the next twenty years the number of elderly schizophrenic patients is expected to double. However, it is known that positive factors such as lack of physical disability, good physical functioning, exercise, cessation of smoking, and even caloric restriction are associated with better outcomes for elderly schizophrenics. (Vahia, 2007) Despite this knowledge, older patients are often dismissed as "burned out," and do not receive the care and attention they deserve. This results in a higher risk for decline in daily functioning, more severe cognitive impairments, and even death. (Collier, 2007)

Clearly, schizophrenia is a devastating illness with debiliating effects lasting from as early as childhood through the process of death and dying. Much research is taking place regarding the role of schizophrenic symptoms in infancy, childhood, and adolesence; more research must be done on the rapidly increasing population of older schizophrenic patients who still deserve our attention and respect.

References

Collier, E. (2007). Challenging the concept of "burned out" schizophrenia. Mental Health Nursing, 14.

Csernansky, J.G. (2001). Schizophrenia: A New Guide for Clinicians. New York: Marcel Dekker.

Heinrichs, R.W. (2001). In Search of Madness: Schizophrenia and Neuroscience. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nicole, V. (2007, 11-21). Schizophrenia and Pregnancy: Genetic Links and Effects. Retrieved 11-24, 2010, from www.associatedcontent.com: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/454786/schizophrenia_and_pregnancy_genetic_pg2.html?cat=70

Reichenberg-Ullman, J. (2010). Healing Through Homeopathy: Schizophrenia. Retrieved 11-24, 2010, from www.healthy.net: http://www.healthy.net/scr/Article.aspx?Id=648&xcntr=1

staff, C.P. (2007, 06-11). Treating Schizophrenia during pregnancy. Retrieved 11-24, 2010, from www.schizophrenia.com: http://www.schizophrenia.com/sznews/archives/005192.html

Vahia, I. a. (2007). Psychosocial Interventions and Successful Aging: Older Schizophrenia Patients. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 987.

Sources Used in Document:

References

Collier, E. (2007). Challenging the concept of "burned out" schizophrenia. Mental Health Nursing, 14.

Csernansky, J.G. (2001). Schizophrenia: A New Guide for Clinicians. New York: Marcel Dekker.

Heinrichs, R.W. (2001). In Search of Madness: Schizophrenia and Neuroscience. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nicole, V. (2007, 11-21). Schizophrenia and Pregnancy: Genetic Links and Effects. Retrieved 11-24, 2010, from www.associatedcontent.com: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/454786/schizophrenia_and_pregnancy_genetic_pg2.html?cat=70

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