Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness characterized by a variety of symptoms, including loss of contact with reality, bizarre behavior, disorganized thinking and speech, decreased emotional expressiveness, and social withdrawal. This illness affects those parts of the mind that are fundamental to a person’s sense of self. It changes a person’s perception of reality, through hallucinations and delusions. This mental illness is diagnosed in about one person in every 100. Schizophrenia has been categorized into two specific classes and has possible causes for each class. We will also focus on the roles of the nurse and the family and the importance of medication. (Anonymous, 1996a, 1996b, Fontaine & Fletcher, 1999). A psychiatrist’s classical categories of schizophrenia once included undifferentiated, catatonic, paranoid, and disorganized subtypes. A new classifying system which is widely used has replaced the former categories. This system includes two categories which are positive characteristics and negative characteristics. There are five sub-characteristics which can be described as positive and negative. These are behavioral, affective, perceptual, cognitive and social (Fontaine & Fletcher, 1999). Positive characteristics are additional behaviors which are not usually found in normal adults. These patients experience delusions, hear voices, and have inappropriate emotional responses. These clients feel as if people are harassing them and they cannot do anything about it. They experience feelings of guilt and try to punish themselves and others with aggression (Fontaine & Fletcher, 1999). Negative characteristics can be described as the lack of behaviors, or “flat effect.” Symptoms include anhedonia and attention deficits. Most of these clients forget about self-care and their appearance can be a signal of negative Schizophrenia. These patients often have feelings of worthlessness and…
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