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Schizophrenia is a disease of the brain, it is one of the most traumatic disease possible which the brain can be affected by. Schizophrenia is not very well understood, and it sometimes confused with MPD by some people. Schizophrenia has not gotten a lot of attention or funds for research like many other disease have. Schizophrenia needs to get more attention research, and the public needs to be better educated about this disease. (The Schizophrenia Homepage, Schizophrenia is not as rare as many people may believe, or want to believe. Schizophrenia affects around one and one and a half percent of all Americans. Schizophrenia can happen to anybody, nobody is immune from it. Schizophernia can happen to anybody at any time in their lives. This makes Schizophrenia very scary to a lot of people. Schizophrenia can affect the brain of the patient in several ways. One way is the ventricles of the person suffering from schizophrenia become larger. The enlarged ventricles cause the brain structure to undergo changes that are associated with the illness. This can be shown in a picture at the end of this paper from The National Institute of Mental Health, showing the brains of two identical twins. In this picture one of the two twins has schizophrenia and the other one is healthy. This is the picture labeled as Image 1. (The National Institute of Mental Health , Another way in which schizophrenia can affect the brain is by reducing the brain activity in the frontal lobes of the brain. At the end of this paper is another picture from The National Institute of Mental Health, demonstrating this concept, labeled as image 2. (The National Institute of Mental Health, It has also been shown that those affected by Schizophrenia have less gray matter in their brains. This gray matter isn't just "gray matter," it's very important to a person being able to function properly. The gray matter contains all of the brain's the nerve cell bodies, with out this a person cannot function. This would explain many of the symptoms of a patient with schizophrenia, and how they have trouble functioning in society and dealing with everyday tasks. (American Journal of Psychiatry, 1548) The symptoms of schizophrenia are mainly caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. The two chemicals which it affects is dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals are responsible for the thought process, this explains why the patient is disorganized and unable to function correctly. It also can account for the delusions which the person experiences. (Maugh II, 3) There are two causes of schizophrenia, one is genetic, the other is it may just set in later in life, with out cause or explanation. The gene believed to cause schizophrenia is a fairly rare recessive gene. When one of the parents has schizophrenia, the chances of the child of these parents having schizophrenia is 13% When neither of the two parents has schizophrenia the odds are reduced all the way down to less than 1%. In the rare case that both parents are affected by schizophrenia, it is not guaranteed that the child will have it, the chances are only 35%. However, most schizophrenics don't have children, since they have trouble just functioning, but those who get it later in life may have had children before the disease set it. For those who it develops in later in life there is no genetic background and it has nothing to do with their parents genes, there is no known reason why, but it does affect different types of people more than others. (The Schizophrenia Homepage, There have been and still are a lot of studies in search of a "schizophrenia gene." Many researchers believe there is a gene which is responsible for this disease. These researchers have received a lot of funding to search for this gene. Eric Lander, a genetics expert from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass., said, "the evidence persuaded me that there is a gene in that region.'' However, it's not clear what proportion of schizophrenia cases is related to the gene, or what other factors must be present to cause the disease." Many researches have found at least a little evidence that schizophrenia has something to do with genetics. If scientists are able to locate this gene, and find out where it affects the brain exactly and how, most feel it would lead to better treatment and understanding of schizophrenia. (USA Today, November 10, 1995) When schizophrenia is developed later in life, it is most common in people between the ages of 16 and 25. After the age of 30 it is uncommon and once a person passes age 40 it is extremely rare that they will develop schizophrenia. In the age range of 16 to 25 year old persons who develop schizophrenia are more commonly male than female. For those over the age of 25 who get schizophrenia, there are more females than males. (Ability Magazine, 24) There is no cure for schizophrenia at the time, and there is none in sight for the near future. Despite there being no cure, some people can make a recovery, but there is no medication or operation that will cure everyone. Others are able to recover to the point where the can function on their own. The main treatment of schizophrenia is to put the person affected by it on medication and admit them into a mental institution. However not all patients undergo these treatments. Hospitalization is very common since it helps to keep the person affected and the people around that person safe. Hospitalizing the patient also allows doctors to observe the patient and make sure that it is in fact schizophrenia that the person has, and not some other mental illness. The amount of time they spend there is dependent on the severity of the disease. Some patients are in mental institutions all their lives, others may come in for day programs, rehabilitation sessions, and some are even able to be treated as outpatients. (The Schizophrenia Homepage, The best way to improve the symptoms experienced by a schizophrenic patient is to put them on Antipsychotic drugs, which are also called neuroleptics. These drugs have been used in some forms since the 1950's. (The Schizophrenia Homepage, Another way to help a person suffering from schizophrenia is to give them support. Being a person's friend and encouraging them may help them to function better in society. Talking to a schizophrenic and being their friend can help to rebuilt a person's social skills, however this many not be effective in all patients. (The Schizophrenia Homepage, There are two areas of schizophrenic symptoms, Positive and Negative. The Positive category has a slightly misleading name, these symptoms are not beneficial to the patient as the word "Positive" my lead someone to believe. The Positive symptoms include an overabundance of normal functions, which leads to Hallucinations, Delusions, thought disorder, and other similar effects. They might not be able to talk in a rational order, meaning their conversations will jump from one item to a second totally different topic which makes no sense. They also use words that make on sense in the current situation and sometimes even make up new words which don't even exist. Also included in the Positive symptoms category is disorganized behavior. Disorganized behavior includes having problems with daily living. The person may wear winter coats in the summer, use an umbrella inside, wear shorts when it is snowing outside, and other actions which would make on sense to one who isn't suffering from schizophrenia. The patient may also have extremely poor personal hygiene. (Drake University School of Education Webpage, The other side of the schizophrenic symptoms is the Negative category. This is the opposite of the Positive category, instead of having an abundance normal functions, the patient has a reduction in normal functions. A person suffering from schizophrenia in the Negative category would suffer from one or more of the following symptoms: Alogia, Affective Flattening, Anhedonia, Apathy, lack of attention, and catatonic symptoms. The person may basically have no emotions at all. (Drake University School of Education Webpage, There was recently a study attempting to find the cause of the hallucinations of schizophrenics. They studied six schizophrenics who were having hallucinations. They used a device known as a PET scan, and had the patien

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