PSYCHOLOGY STUDY GUIDE: by Jon Pelletier
A learning disability is not a sign that a child lacks intelligence. A person with a learning disability cannot increase focus, make a better effort or motivate themselves more own their own
volition. They require aid and need to learn how to do such things. This is caused by a variation in the brain that affects how education is received, attended to and recounted. People with
learning disabilities a hard pressed to process some kinds of information because they perceive and understand the world differently.
There have been great scientific strides regarding the workings of human brains, and a particular concept that holds hope
for those with learning disabilities is commonly referred to as neuroplasticity. This concept explains that the brain has a lifelong ability to naturally change and form new
connections. It can even generate new brain cells when it responds to education and experiences. Knowledge such as this has led to a breakthrough in treating learning disabilities, as we are trying
to utilize the neuroplasticity of the brain.
Discovering your child’s learning disability can be troubling, as it is believed that such an issue could stand between the
student and success. It is important to remember the role of parenting in a child’s success. The way the parent behaves and does is the most pressing matter regarding the eventual success of a
child. Although having a good outlook will not solve the problem, positive suggestion can give a child confidence that things will improve and explain that they are worthwhile.
Common learning disabilities can cause problems with motor function, math, language, reading, writing and auditory or visual
processing. Dyslexia causes problems with reading, writing, spelling and speaking. Dyscalculia causes problems with math, time and calculating the use of
money. Dysgraphia causes problems spelling, writing and organizing ideas. Dyspraxia causes problems with dexterity, coordination and balance.
Auditory processing disorder causes problems with reading, comprehension and language, as it is difficult to tell the differences between sounds. Visual processing
disorder causes problems with math, reading, maps, symbols, charts and other images.
Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder:
Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder is not considered a learning disability, but can disrupt education. People with
ADHD have trouble staying still, remaining focused, listening to or following instructions, keeping themselves organized and completing assignments that they have agreed to do.
Children are supposed to want to run around outside and play games while they should to be in school. It is normal for kids to not do their homework, pass time in class by daydreaming, act
impulsively, fidget or be a nuisance. These are also considered signs of ADD/ADHD. This disorder appears in the beginning stages of a child’s life. It makes it difficult for a child to discount
spontaneous urges, responses to authority figures that can involve anything from wanting to move, speaking of turn or an unwillingness to pay attention. These signs of ADD/ADHD usually appear
before the age of seven. However, it can be very difficult to define the difference between attention deficit disorder and common and natural child behavior. If the child shows the symptoms only
sometimes, it is most likely just the child being a kid. Although, if the child exhibits the signs at all times and no matter what the situation, it may be time to have him checked out by a doctor.
The three major signs of ADD/ADHD are inattention, hyperactive behavior and impulsive actions.
Inattention can be explained as a child that does not pay mind to details or makes simple, careless mistakes. This child may have trouble staying focused and will be easily distracted. The
child will appear to not be listening while being spoken to and will also have difficulty remembering things and following instructions. These may cause trouble at home as it will appear that the
child does not care. The child will also have trouble staying organized, planning things in advance and following through with projects. He will also frequently lose homework, toys, books and other
The most noticeable sign of ADD/ADHD is hyperactivity. A hyperactive child will fidget or squirm constantly. He will often leave his seat in school, especially in situations where sitting
quietly is requested or expected. The child will move around inappropriately, often running or climbing. One will also notice the child talking almost constantly, as if they cannot play quietly.
These children are always going at the fastest possible rate, often tapping their foot, shaking their leg or drumming their fingers.
Impulsivity can cause trouble with the child’s self control. They will censor themselves less than other children, often offending authority figures and getting into trouble. They interrupt
conversations carelessly and invade people’s space. They commonly ask irrelevant or personal questions and make tactless yet insightful observations regarding people that they should know not to
The troubles of ADD/ADHD can cause many problems if not treated with the necessary prescriptions. Children unable to focus or control their actions will often struggle with school, get into
trouble with authority and find it hard to make new friends. Treatment can make a tremendous difference in a child’s symptoms. The cure is said to be structure, communication and consistency.
Treatment includes behavioral therapy, helping the parent learn about the ailment, proper diet, good exercise regimen, social support and teacher assistance during school hours.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder:
When a child participates in openly uncooperative or hostile behavior in such a high frequency that is distinctly setting
the child apart from others when he or she is compared to other people of the same age and developmental level it is called Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
This can drastically affect the child’s social, familial and academic life as the person will carry with them a constant pattern and history or being uncooperative to the point of defiance
and hostile towards authority in such a severe way that it can seriously interfere with day to day functioning. Some basic symptoms of ODD can include temper tantrums, excessive arguing,
questioning rules, defiant behavior, refusal to comply with reasonable requests and rules, deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people, passing the blame for their bad behavior to others, frequent
anger, mean or hateful phrases used while upset, a thirst for revenge and a spiteful attitude towards others.
One to sixteen percent of children and adolescents are afflicted with oppositional defiant disorder. The causes of ODD are not officially known, although social, biological and psychological
factors may result in this sort of behavior. Many behaviors of children are mimicry of their parents, guardians or other role models. It is possible that students diagnosed with this disorder have
uncooperative parents who would lie about their home life for fear of retribution. Many children hit other children because they see their father hit people and think that is what is common and
right. ODD is a common affliction of inmates in the correctional facilities. It is important to note that neither of the last two points is true across the board. Some people are this way
The treatments of oppositional defiant disorder may include training programs for parents, individual psychotherapy, family psychotherapy, cognitive skills training, social skills training
and medication. ODD may exist in collaboration with conditions such as anxiety, ADHD and mood disorders.
Dementia and Delirium:
Delirium is a common effect of many disorders. It is a sudden, differing and usually reclaimable interference
of mental function. It is commonly notable by difficulty paying attention, loss of clear thought and wavering levels of awareness. Many drugs can cause temporary delirium. Because of this, doctors
often use urine, blood and imaging tests to find the cause. Quickly treating the condition that causes the delirium usually cures the affliction.
Delirium is an abnormal mental state, but not a disease in itself. The term has a specified medical definition, but it is
often used to explain many kinds of bewilderment. It often indicates a serious and newly developed issue, primarily in older people. While in a state of delirium people most often need immediate
Delirium is a temporary condition so it is hard to calibrate a number explaining how many people have it. It can happen to
anyone at any age, but 15 to 50% of people hospitalized over the age of 70 suffer from it. When delirium arises in younger people it is usually caused by drug use or a life-threatening
Admission to a hospital, especially intensive care units, can cause delirium, as drugs are often prescribed to ease pain, it
is hard to sleep because there are beeping machines, people talking in the hallways and nurses monitoring patients constantly. Sensory deprivations such as loss of a hearing aid or lack of a clock
are also common issues that arise in cases of delirium. It is very common after surgery, possibly because of the stress on the body, the anesthetics and pain relievers.
Drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine, opioids, sedatives, antipsychotics, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, over the counter
antihistamines and alcohol are the most common causes of delirium in younger people. Delirium can also be caused by the sudden cessation of drugs that have been taken for a long time. This includes
withdrawal from sedatives, alcohol or heroin.
Many things that interfere with the nerve cells of the brain commonly cause this affliction. This includes infection of the brain, such as meningitis or encephalitis. Older people can be
affected by infections in other parts of the body. Many find themselves suffering from delirium due to pneumonia or influenza.
The symptoms of delirium can be terrifying to those experiencing it and their loved ones. It usually begins without warning and advances over the mind of a person over the next few hours or
days. Delirium may appear to an outsider as the actions of someone who is progressively become more intoxicated. The most prevalent is the delirious person’s inability to concentrate. They commonly
have trouble making sense of new information and cannot remember recently passed events. They do not understand the things that are occurring around them. Suddenly becoming confused about time to
the extent that they are unsure what year it is a common sign of the onset of delirium. They also may not know where they are or think they are somewhere else. Thoughts become confused and the
person may begin to ramble, becoming incoherent at times. They can be overly alert one moment and then absurdly sleepy soon after. People suffering from delirium suffer from insomnia or restless
sleep and may even reverse their sleep-wake cycle. If they stay up during the day and sleep at night, they will begin to sleep all day and be awake all night.
They will often have bizarre and frightening hallucinations, referring to and claiming to see people that are not apparent to the other person. Some can develop paranoid thinking and
delusions. Their personality may change. They may become very quiet, which is dangerous because nobody will notice that they are delirious. Others tend to become troubled, irate, irritable and
restless, commonly pacing around rambling nonsense regarding things that a sober or sane person would not realize.
This can last a long time but it depends of the severity and cause. If the cause is not quickly found and the delirium treated properly, the person may slowly become unresponsive. This is a
condition called stupor and it may lead to a coma or death.
Most people with delirium are hospitalized in order to save them from harming themselves or others. The diagnostic procedures can be done there and disorders can be detected and treated.
Delirium is a serious disorder than can quickly become fatal, so doctors must quickly identify the cause by distinguishing it from other disorders that could complicate the patient’s mental
functions. This is done by checking the medical history, asking friends and family a series of questions, physical examination, and testing.
If the case is accompanied with hallucinations, paranoia, delusions or agitation it must be set apart from a psychosis due to a psychiatric disorder. People suffering from manic-depressive
illness or schizophrenia do not have confusion or memory loss and their consciousness does not shift from the overly awake to groggy and uncertain. Psychosis that begins at an old age can be the
onset of dementia, but must be checked in case it is delirium.
Etiology is the study of causes. Many branches of knowledge employ etiology but it is most commonly linked with the medical
world. In medical research, the emergence and foundation of medical conditions is very important, because this practice can be used to give hints to the types of remedies that could be
The etymology of the word is from the Greek aitia, which means, “cause.” Outside the United States it is
commonly spelled as “aetiology” or “aitiology.” These other spellings are mostly a matter of personal preference as it is easy to read any spelling of the word, especially in context.
Understanding etiology can provide an essential part of the treatment of a condition. When a cause for an affliction cannot
be found, it is said that the disease is “idiopathic,” which suggests that it has no known etiology. These conditions can be exasperating as it makes it very hard to find the specific nature of the
Medical researchers rely of etiology heavily. When an epidemic occurs, the more quickly the cause of the outbreak is found,
the more quickly it can be snuffed out or controlled. For example, if there were a large number of food-borne illness cases reported, researchers would create a database to compare patients to find
a common thread linking the cases together. This helps locate the tainted food so it can be recalled.
Substance Related Disorders:
The two disorders in this category refer to either the abuse or dependence on a substance. The substance in
question is anything ingested to make one high. They alter one’s senses and affect peoples reasoning and functioning. The most common substance is alcohol. Other drugs include cocaine, heroin,
ecstasy and ketamine. The most abused substances in this category are caffeine and nicotine but are rarely thought of in this manner by the layman.
There is evidence that genetic factors contribute to both addiction and abuse. Some theories discuss people partaking in
substances are trying to cover up or attain relief from their problems. Others suggest that it is self-medication to hide and relieve psychosis, in turn making the dependence more of a symptom than
Substance abuse as a psychiatric disorder starts with a pattern of substance use that creates significant functional
impairment. To qualify one of the following must be present in a 12-month period: (1) Repeated use creating a failure to fulfill occupational, educational or familial obligations; (2) Repeated use
in situations which are dangerous (3) Significant legal issues resulting for substance use; or (4) Continued use of substances despite major problems with friends and family. The issues do not
support the criteria for substance dependence, as abuse is only one part of the disorder. Substance abuse is continued use of a substance even though the user knows that it is harmful. Substance
dependence adds withdrawal symptoms and tolerance.
Substance abuse and dependence is hard to treat because it involves abstaining from the substance and will power to change.
Some people get over it, but it is up to them for the most part. Most long-term addicts didn’t really want to change or have died.
Polysubstance dependence is listed as a substance dependence disorder in which an addicted person uses a minimum of three
different classes of substances whenever available for more than a year and cannot choose any “favorite drug” that qualifies for a dependence on its own.
Tolerance is described as an individual either needing to take increasingly higher doses of a substance in order to receive
the same effect or states that someone is finding much less of an effect upon taking the drug over time. It is common for an individual who uses several drugs regularly to find he or she needs to
use 50% more to gain the same effect.
Withdrawal explains that an individual will experience symptoms when he or she stops using the drug or will use the drug in
order to relieve themselves from withdrawal symptoms. People suffering from polysubstance dependence can also use more of the substance than they had initially planned or use over a longer
period of time than they had planned. An addict may begin to use on weekdays as well as weekends.
With these symptoms the individual will sometimes try to cut down on the amount of drug they are using. This is sometimes
unsuccessful. An individual could spend much of their time obtaining drugs. Using the substance, being intoxicated and recovering from the trip can sometimes take all the users time. This can
interfere with their regularly schedule activities and they can lose touch with their hobbies, friends or occupation.
Young adults between age 18 and 24 have the highest rates for use of any substances. Males are more often diagnosed with
substance use disorders.
Alcohol is the bane of western man. It is the most common intoxicant as it can be easily found in many stores. Alcohol
depresses the central nervous system. The initial reaction may be stimulation but if more alcohol is consumed the effect can be one of sedation. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, makes the drinker
laugh and act with altered thoughts, emotions and judgments, Too much alcohol can affect speech patterns and coordination as it alters vital centers of the brain. A heavy binge on alcohol can
result in a life-threatening state, such as coma or overdose.
Opiates are commonly distributed and developed as painkillers and have been used in medicine for a very long time. They are
highly addictive and often people that have been initially prescribed opiates from a doctor will develop a habit that entails heavy painkiller use to get rid of the pains of withdrawal. Opium is
the root of natural opiates and is a kind of poppy that can is grown in many gardens worldwide. Synthetic opiates have been created to find an alternative to the addictive qualities of natural
opiates but generally have the same experience so are also highly addictive and used by opiate addicts as their highs or an alternative to the natural drug.
Cannabis is noted as the first agricultural crop of China and was used worldwide as paper, tough fabric and rope until the
early 20th century when it became prohibited to posses. The intoxicating effects are glamorized and acclaimed in the media as an important niche in modern culture and as a result young
people often experiment with marijuana. In ancient medicine cannabis was used for many purposes, including pain relief and sedation. There is much mysticism about cannabis use, such as Siddhartha
subsisting on one hemp-seed a day for six years before stating “The Six Truths” and becoming the Buddha.
Inhalants are a diverse group volatile substances of which the vapors can be inhaled to produce intoxicating effects. This
term is used to describe substances that are rarely ingested in another way. Many of these are not generally considered drugs, as they are not usually manufactured to be inhaled. They include
computer duster, spray paint, aerosol spray, glue and lighter fluid. Young children and adolescents are the most common abusers of these substances.
PCP is a synthetic drug that is sold as tablets, capsules or powder. It can be insufflated, smoked or eaten. It was
initially created as IV anesthetic but was never approved for use by humans, mostly because of intensely negative psychological side effects. PCP is a disassociative that changes the way a person
sees and hears and allowing the user to feel a detachment to the world and its meaning. Users sometimes have feelings that mimic schizophrenia such as delusions, hallucinations and distorted
thoughts. PCP use is the drug with the most common incidents of violence while intoxicated by it.
Nicotine is one of the most heavily used addictive drugs and can be found through the use of tobacco. These are extremely
harmful to ones health, increasing the chance of many cancers, emphysema, tumors, and bronchial infection. Nicotine can be harder to quit than heroin or cocaine. The carbon monoxide in smoke
increases the users chance of cardiovascular diseases.
Cocaine is a very powerful central nervous system stimulant that comes from the coca leaves. It increases the users energy
and awareness but may result in paranoia or crazed actions and thoughts. People under the weight of this drug do not always have control of their actions and often spend their entire worth chasing
the high. Cocaine is very expensive and many find themselves stealing to support their habit after their cash reserves dry up.
Hallucinogens are a group of drugs that affect the mentality and visual cortex of the user. People may find that the world
looks very different after they have taken magic mushrooms, LSD or peyote. Some describe life altering thoughts and experiences and gain insight into other dimensions or spirituality. Many that use
hallucinogens often will find themselves delusional as they believe the views and notions developed while in their altered states. Many great minds have heralded the positive portions of such
experiences but there are as many arguments against these trips.
Amphetamines were developed as a strong stimulant that could fuel soldiers fighting in World War Two. They commonly result
in restlessness, insomnia and delusions of grandeur. With prolonged use they can cause symptoms much like mental illness. Due to the similarity between amphetamines and medication for ADD/ADHD many
adolescents that were prescribed medicine in elementary school with try the illicit drug and become addicted to it quickly. These are those that can function better on amphetamines. Delusions and
insomnia can create a viewpoint that sleeping less is more productive. This drug can easily turn a calm person violent.
Many hospital visits are a result of the abuse of prescription sedatives, hypnotics and anxiolytics. They are used in
therapy to combat the effects of stress, psychosis and insomnia. They slow the central nervous system functioning and can be very dangerous if taken without care.
Caffeine is a very common stimulant found in soda, coffee, tea and some foods. It is not commonly considered a problem
substance, but in prolonged use and high doses it can create delirium, insomnia and body aches. There is much research suggesting that caffeine is good for the human body and is natural enough not
to be feared.
Complications of Alcoholism:
Excessive drinking can cause reduced judgment and lowered inhibitions, so it seems like a fun thing to do on a
Saturday night. It is very commonly abused. It causes many motor vehicle accidents, domestic problems, poor performance at school or work and a higher likelihood of committing violent
It can also cause vicious health problems. Liver disease such as alcoholic hepatitis, an increase in size of the liver that
can be very painful is common. After many years this can develop into irreversible scarring of the liver tissue called cirrhosis. Alcohol can cause an inflammation of the stomach lining that can
interfere with the absorption of nutrients. It can also damage the pancreas and heart. It can lead to heart failure and stroke. Alcohol can complicate diabetes because it interferes with the
release of glucose from your liver, increasing the risk of hypoglycemia.
Alcoholism can cause weakness and paralysis of eye muscles, birth defects, bone loss and neurological complications such as
numbness in hands and feet, distorted thinking, dementia and short-term memory loss. There is also an increased risk of cancer with heavy alcohol use.
Addiction is known as physical and psychological dependence on psychoactive substances that temporarily alter
the healthy mix of chemicals in ones brain. Addiction is also considered as a continued involvement with a drug or experience even though there are negative consequences associated with it.
Pleasure may have been what the addict was originally seeking but over time the use of the substance or activity is needed just to feel normal. Addiction can mean a dependency on drugs but can also
include such activities including but not exclusive to gambling, sex, pornography, food, work, exercise, spiritual obsession, cutting and shopping.
Drug addiction is a primary and chronic disease of the brain’s reward mechanisms. This dysfunction leads to leads to
impairment in behavioral control, craving, inability to abstain from the substance and diminished recognition of the noteworthy negative problems within ones personal and professional life. This
disease involves cycles of relapse and remission.
Addiction can progress to the point of disability or death.
Theories of Drug Use and Abuse:
It is argued that drug addiction or dependency is a sign of weakness in a person who has no self-control. These people argue that with will power and determination a person can overcome these
vices. Others state that when it comes to alcohol and drugs they just could not say “no.” They explain that an addict has compulsive behavior towards substance abuse and that this urge is so strong
that it is impossible for them to refuse. Some feel this compulsion is theoretically a disease and should be treated as such.
The gateway theory explains that a young person will progress from a “softer” drug such as marijuana to the use of harder drugs as the person gets involved in the society surrounding drug
use. This is possible in theory, but it is argued that that because marijuana is the most widely used drug, users of the heavier drugs have tried it. It is referred to as a “strainer” that catches
most users before they turn to “harder” drugs.
Social theories regarding drug use describe that the features of ones external social structure, like friends, family life, occupation, and stress-level, can contribute to observable patterns
of drug use. This explains that a child with a heroin addicted mother is much more likely to fall to the ills of heroin addiction and that an adolescent prescribed medication for psychological
issues is much more likely to begin using drugs.
Cumulative positive or negative reinforcement from exposure to drugs and other activities can create a mental state in which the addict either feels that it is important to continue to use
the drug or that the drug is teaching them something important about the mysteries of the world and this is the subject of psychological theories regarding drug use and addictions. Certain
personality types can be experimental, into having the fun of intoxication or interested in the spiritual and societal implications of their addictions.
Some scholars suggest that politics has no place in what a person ingests and what effects they are seeking in their food. These people stand for an end to prohibition, safe injection needle
sites and other liberal policies against the drug war.
The psychosocial theories suggest that a person’s disposition, environment and actions are inter-related to develop their proneness to problem behaviors. It has been learned that drug use in
universal and there is an innate drive to act in these ways. Humans are born with this drive and it haunts them until they act upon it, and they act upon it until they decide that it is over. We
experiment early in life, receiving rewards and punishments for trying in various ways, much like any learning experience. This is why preferred methods are developed and why there is persistence
in attempts of that method. The psychosocial processes such as norms and desires shape this.
In general, young users begin in groups that share unique and identifiable characteristics. In these cases drugs are linked to unrelated activities and play an important role describing the
group in social situations and within the confines of their friendship. Involvement in a group provides role models and reasons for persistent and escalating use. The group setting reinforces drug
use. These small peer clusters define when, where and how the drug will be used.
Schizophrenia is a very debilitating mental illness that can be a sign of genius or troubled mind, but is not
usually linked to childhood trauma. In explains a drastic impairment in functioning, including the very serious loss of reality. People suffering a schizophrenic break may think they have been
drafted by the NBA, are visiting the queen in her palace, know some sort of information that is dangerous, have authorities searching for them because of assumed situations, think they are a famous
member of the media or speak to invisible people out of fear of the visible, amongst many other things.
Delusions are idiosyncratic beliefs or impressions that are maintained despite clear and reasonable arguments against these
beliefs by other people. Most times these beliefs are proven untrue and the sufferer will accept that he was misinformed by the consciousness that explained to him the situation he was going
through while delusional. Sometimes these are hard to let go of and the sufferer will quietly hold on to them for long periods of time, even years, without note being made of their strange nature.
Many times these beliefs are due to a lack of self worth, such as delusions of grandeur of spiritual fame due to the sufferer feeling they are not worthwhile nor have they accomplished anything or
feeling they have wronged themselves of others, respectively.
Schizophrenia is a brain disease that is the result of physical and biochemical changes in the brain. It is youth’s greatest disabler as the usual onset is between 15 and 24 years of age. It
is treatable with therapy, cooperation and medication. It is common, afflicting one in 100 people worldwide. Schizophrenia is not a split personality. Childhood trauma, bad parenting or poverty
does not cause schizophrenia. It is not a result of actions or personal failings of the afflicted individual.
Though common symptoms are disordered thinking, changes in emotions, bizarre behavior, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations and damage to cognitive functions such as short-term memory and
executive functioning. It can be difficult for schizophrenics to organize themselves, categorize, prioritize or make decisions. Schizophrenia can be harmful to the sufferers self worth, sometimes
with devastating results. 40 to 50% of people with schizophrenia attempt suicide, between 12 and 15% succeed. Because of this, early intervention and immediate treatment for the illness is
critical. Evidence now shows that the sooner someone is returned to soundness of mind, the better the prognosis of the illness. Patients with schizophrenia currently occupy 8% of hospital beds,
more than any other disorder or medical condition.
There is not yet a cure for schizophrenia. There is only minor treatments and hope. By the help of discoveries in brain research we are finally on the threshold of an entirely new era of
understanding. Treatment is much better than it was one hundred years ago, when patients were treated as criminal inmates, castrated, tortured by various methods such as electroshock therapy or
sensory deprivation and generally contained from regular society. This is because of the lack of understanding regarded the gifts that schizophrenia can be.
“Compassion follows understanding. It is therefore incumbent on us to understand as best we can… The burden of disease will then become lighter for all.”
-Dr. E. Fuller Torrey
The positive symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and grandiosity. People may hear, see, taste, smell or feel things that are not there. Delusional ideas that
are odd and not with what is commonly considered reality are a common symptom. This includes a belief that others can hear their inner thoughts, that people are planning against them or that their
activities are being secretly monitored. Schizophrenics can also believe that they can control other people’s minds or that they are a well known historical or media figure. It is common to have to
assure someone they are not an important or influential writer, artist, musician, inventor, politician or religious figure. It is also common to feel they are police or military personnel.
The negative symptoms include an affective flattening, marked by diminished psychological responsiveness. This includes fewer expressive indications, changes in facial expression, less eye
contact, less vocal inflection and fewer spontaneous gestures. Aloglia is a poorness of speech and topics, a lack of proper flow or spontaneity of exchange or an entire inability to communicate.
Avolition is common referred to as apathy and can be associated with social withdrawal. This symptom can come with less care to personal grooming and hygiene and a lack of persistence when
finishing activities. Anhedonia explains that an afflicted can begin to have few recreational interests, impairment in personal and sexual relationships and the patient becoming detached and
distant from family and friends.
It is also common for a person suffering from schizophrenia to lack motivation. This could be from the delusion aspects of the disease, as they will feel that they have all that they need and
have already accomplished great things. They are allowed to take a vacation, as the have invented the clock and they deserve it. It is also common to lack any need for achievement, because of
reasons as diverse as the patients themselves. These include religious mandate and lack of self worth.
There are some cognitive symptoms that people diagnosed with schizophrenia suffer from. Disorganized perceptions often make the sufferer have a hard time making sense of everyday sights,
sounds and feelings. Perceptions can become distorted in such a way that ordinary things can become distracting of scary. There is extra angst from background noises, colors and shapes.
Schizophrenia may also cause people to move slowly, repeat rhythmic movements and make ritualistic gestures. In severe cases the person can become catatonic – to stop speaking or moving
completely and hold a fixed position for long periods of time. Trouble understanding language or communicating back in coherent sentences can result in “word salad,” or odd word associations. There
is also common disorganized behavior like short-term memory loss and lack of organizational skills that make planning and decision-making takes very difficult.
There are four subtypes of schizophrenia. Paranoid schizophrenia explains an organized system of delusions that stand for something for the sufferer. They are thoroughly discovered and
explained, sometimes in mind-numbing detail. This will include theories that they are being persecuted for something or that the end times are coming. Disorganized schizophrenia explains that the
primary disturbance is of hygiene or other self care habits and the ability to communicate using language. Catatonic schizophrenia explains a primary malfunction of motor skills, either to
excessive and agitated movement or towards the sufferer becoming paralyzed. Undifferentiated schizophrenia is the sub-type in which the doctor or authority is unable to classify the sort of illness
into the other sub-type groups.
Schizophrenia Related Disorders:
A brief psychotic disorder is defined as a short psychotic episode lasting between one day and one month, with
an eventual return to normal functioning. Some data states that there is an increased incidence of mood disorders in families of patients who have at some point suffered from brief psychotic
disorder. It is possible that these psychotic disorders occur due to deficient coping mechanisms. It could be a defense against a fantasy that has been prohibited by the sufferer. It could also be
an escape from a specific uncomfortable situation or overwhelming circumstances. Neither biological nor psychological theories have been confirmed by controlled clinical studies.
In the United States a brief psychotic disorder is not common. Only 9% of first-admission patients with psychoses
experienced this disorder. Only 7% experienced acute brief psychoses. Internationally, incidences of brief psychotic disorder increase 10 times higher in developing countries when compared to
industrialized ones. Some clinicians state that this disorder occurs most frequently in people from low socioeconomic classes, patients with preexisting personality disorders and people from other
As with many other psychiatric disorders, incidence and risk of harm to self or others increases with acute incidences of
brief psychotic disorder. Incidences of this disorder are twice as high in females than with males. This ailment is most common in people in the age range of late 30s and 40s. Cases have also been
recognized in later life.
Schizophreniform disorder is explained by the presence of some of the symptoms of schizophrenia but all symptoms included it
last only one to six months. To establish a diagnosis for this disorder, at least two of the following three symptoms must be present for the better part of one month, though if successfully
treated it can take less time. The three symptoms are delusions or hallucinations, disorganized speech or negative behavior symptoms, such as affective flattening, algolia or avolition. Only one
criterion is needed if the delusions are outlandish or if the patient hears two of more voices discussing topics with each other. The ailment must not be the direct effect of any substance.
Like schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder is equally common in both men and women. The peak onset occurs between 18-24
years of age for men and 24-35 for women. With schizophrenia, the symptoms develop over a number of years before clinical diagnosis. This is unlike schizophreniform disorder, which requires rapid
onset of symptoms towards schizophrenia to occur within 6 months. Nearly two thirds of patients that develop this disorder eventually develop schizophrenia.
Delusional disorder is an illness in which the sufferer experiences nonbizarre delusions but does not have other mood of
psychotic symptoms. Nonbizzare explains that these delusions are regarding situations that could happen in real life, such as having an infection, being mislead by a spouse, unrequited love or
being watched by authorities. Despite significant delusions, sufferers of this disorder keep their psychosocial abilities unimpaired. Because of this they rarely seek psychiatric help and are more
likely to take their unfounded ideas to lawyers, policemen, surgeons or dermatologists, depending on their specific delusion.
To be diagnosed with delusional disorder the sufferer must have delusions that are theoretically possible in real life yet
the criteria for schizophrenia have not been met. Functioning is not impaired and behavior is not remarkably odd. If mood disorders occur with delusions, they occur only briefly when compared
against the entire length of the delusional periods. The disturbance cannot be directly related to the use of a drug of abuse or medication. The subtypes are erotomanic, grandiose, jealous,
persecutory, somatic, mixed and unspecified.
Schizoaffective disorder is difficult to diagnose accurately. It is explained as “the presence of psychosis in the absence
of mood changes for at least two weeks in a patient who has a mood disorder.” Some people may have symptoms of depressive disorders and schizophrenia, or schizophrenia without mood
The term is used when the individual does not entirely fit the criteria for either schizophrenia or mood disorders such as bi-polar disorder of depression. Many people are initially diagnosed
as bi-polar and if the delusions and hallucinations go away in less than two weeks, bi-polar may be the proper recognition. Someone who encounters psychosis for three or four weeks in a manic state
does not have schizoaffective disorder. If delusions continue after the mood is stabilized and they continue to exhibit the other symptoms of schizophrenia such as paranoia, catatonia, thought
disorders or bizarre behavior then schizoaffective disorder may be the correct diagnosis. Because it is so difficult to diagnose and complicated, mistakes is clinical diagnosis are common.
There are three major categories of mood disorders that entail highly elevated moods. They are Bipolar I,
Bipolar II and cyclothymia.
Bipolar I disorder is considered one of the most severe forms of mental illness and is characterized by recurring episodes
of mania and depression. It is a life-long disease that seems to run in families. If one parent has bipolar I disorder there is a 25% chance the offspring will develop a mood disorder such as
bipolar I or II or major depressive disorder. If both parents have bipolar I disorder, their child will have a 50-75% chance of becoming stricken with a mood disorder. There is a slight chance that
a biological relative of those with Bipolar I will be diagnosed with a mood disorder.
Environmental factors such as the use of medication, electroconvulsive therapy and stimulants can trigger mania. It is also
caused by certain illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, brain tumors and hyperthyroidism. Giving birth sometimes causes mania, as well as sleep deprivation and major stress or trauma in
In adults, mania is most likely seen as an elevation of mood and increased energy and activity. In children can be a side
effect of irritability, anxiety and depression. When the mania backs away the sufferer falls to depression, which is shown by the lowering of the mood and decreased energy and activity. During a
mixed episode a convalescent can be up and down all day, experiencing episodes of both mania and depression.
Bipolar I is associated with other mental disorders. Comorbidity is the rule, not the exception. It is most commonly
associated with alcoholism, drug addiction, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and social phobia.
Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I, but the highs never reach full-blown mania. These less-intense mood swings are termed
hypomania. Most people will also suffer from times of depression. The symptoms of hypomania are famous for people being overly positive, as if they are the life of the party. They may take intense
interest is other people’s lives and infect others with their great mood. But these symptoms may cause risky behavior, such as sleeping with people they normally wouldn’t or spending money they
cannot afford to spend. Untreated, these symptoms can last anywhere between a couple of days and a few years.
After the hypomania subsides, people with bipolar II often experience severe depressive episodes. This can happen soon after
or much later and is a defining property of bipolar II disorder. Some people switch back and forth between mania and depression quickly, while others have long periods of normal moods between their
episodes. The depressive episodes are very similar to clinical depression, with an intense sadness, general loss of delight, low energy, lethargy and feelings of shame or worthlessness. These
symptoms usually last weeks or months but have been documented lasting for years.
Cycothymic disorder is a chronic condition typified by many hypomanic episodes and many periods of deep depression over the
course of at least 2 years. During this period, the states in which the sufferer is symptom free may not take longer than two months. These states are not attributed to a medical condition,
substance abuse or a psychotic disorder. This diagnosis can change to bipolar I is the sufferer experiences a full-blown manic episode and can change to bipolar II if the sufferer experiences a
severe depressive episode. There must be complications socially, occupationally or other serious functioning as a result of the sufferer’s mood disturbance.
The major criteria for a manic episode include insomni
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