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The greatest single risk factor for developing schizophrenia is having a first-degree relative with the disease (risk is 6.5%); more than 40% of monozygotic twins of those with schizophrenia are also affected.
Social withdrawal, sloppiness of dress and hygiene, and loss of motivation and judgment are all common in schizophrenia.
Distortions of self-experience such as feeling as if one's thoughts or feelings are not really one's own to believing thoughts are being inserted into one's mind, sometimes termed passivity phenomena, are also common.
Verbal memory impairment has been linked to a decreased ability in those with schizophrenia to semantically encode (process information relating to meaning), which is cited as a cause for another known deficit in long-term memory.
When given a list of words, healthy people remember positive words more frequently (known as the Pollyanna principle), but people with schizophrenia tend to remember all words equally regardless of their connotations, suggesting that the experience of anhedonia impairs the semantic encoding of the words.
Efforts to improve learning ability in people with schizophrenia using a high- versus low-reward condition and an instruction-absent or instruction-present condition revealed that increasing reward leads to poorer performance while providing instruction leads to improved performance, highlighting that some treatments may exist to increase cognitive performance.
Training people with schizophrenia to alter their thinking, attention, and language behaviors by verbalizing tasks, engaging in cognitive rehearsal, giving self-instructions, giving coping statements to the self to handle failure, and providing self-reinforcement for success, significantly improves performance on recall tasks.A subgroup of persons with schizophrenia present an immune response to gluten different from that found in people with celiac, with elevated levels of certain serum biomarkers of gluten sensitivity such as anti-gliadin Ig G or anti-gliadin Ig A antibodies.Abnormal dopamine signalling has been implicated in schizophrenia based on the usefulness of medications that effect the dopamine receptor and the observation that dopamine levels are increased during acute psychosis.Positive symptoms are those that most people do not normally experience, but are present in people with schizophrenia.They can include delusions, disordered thoughts and speech, and tactile, auditory, visual, olfactory and gustatory hallucinations, typically regarded as manifestations of psychosis.To minimize the developmental disruption associated with schizophrenia, much work has recently been done to identify and treat the prodromal (pre-onset) phase of the disorder, which has been detected up to 30 months before the onset of symptoms.Children who go on to develop schizophrenia may also demonstrate decreased intelligence, decreased motor development (reaching milestones such as walking slowly), isolated play preference, social anxiety, and poor school performance.Both working memory tasks and gamma oscillations are impaired in schizophrenia, which may reflect abnormal interneuron functionality.Deficits in executive functions, such as planning, inhibition, and working memory, are pervasive in schizophrenia.The validity of the positive and negative construct has been challenged by factor analysis studies observing a three dimension grouping of symptoms.Different terminology is used, but a dimension for hallucinations, a dimension for disorganization, and a dimension for negative symptoms are usually described.