Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder: Definition, causes, manifestations, effects and solutions.

Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder.

What constitutes psychological disorder has been a challenge for researchers to define, because of its complex nature and the influence of: individual perception, society and culture in its determinations. It is evident that what can be called a psychological disorder in one environment or by one person might totally be disregarded as a disorder by another person or in another environment and might even be regarded as a sign of blessing in another clime owing to the input of culture, and religion, etc. According to Wilkinson (2000), the complexity in the regard and definition of what constitutes a disorder has gone to the point that it is considered erroneous when concluding that every psychological disorder can be corrected through medical treatment. In addition to this, seeing that the society easily conclude that all psychological disorders should be treated medically in an isolated environment Wakefield (2000) & Szasz (2000) noted that the condition should not be considered in a way that makes it mandatory for all cases of psychological disorder to be treated with the “patient” taken to an isolated environment or its determination left at the discretion of any authority because there are many sides to the manifestation of psychological disorder.

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Rosenhan & Seligman (1989) submitted that the following should be the standards for judging orderly/normal and disorderly/abnormal psychological behaviors. They opined that when a person starts to function inadequately, it will manifest in his life and behavior through: suffering, he endangers himself/herself, stands out in an unconventional manner, losses control of his character in an unimaginable manner, he starts doing things in irrational and unclear manner, he starts discomforting persons around him, and finally he violates moral and social standards. They concluded that in the presence of two or more of these characters, a person with the psychological disorder would not be able to do his daily activities as he use to do.

However, this definition might be considered erroneous because not all persons that manifest any of these characters should be considered as being disorderly or abnormal. For example, a person seen suffering or violating social standards might be doing it to be productive to himself or reverse an identified abnormality existent in his society.

Abnormal behaviors can be caused by so many disorders which include but not limited to bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia.

These two disorders are also a difficult task for researchers to explain as a result of its complexity and variance in manifestation among persons. DSM-IV-TR in its definition was of the view that it is one of the common disorders which manifest early in males than in females with its very bad indication having a lingering presence in the life of its sufferers (Reegar et al. 2004). Schizophrenia affects the thinking ability of its victims and subjects them to the ability to think, see, feel and sense what is not existing or present at a given time. According to the DSM-IV-TR, the sufferer of this disorder can manifest anxiety and increase in thinking and talking with abnormal voice projections which can be discomforting to his observers. It is worthy of note that both ICD 10, DSM-IV is of the view that delusion, impaired thinking ability, speech distortion and ability to see, hear, feel and sense things that are not in existence in addition to the fact that the cause of the disability cannot be easily identified are all symptoms of schizophrenia. ICD-10 criteria were of the view that schizophrenia occurs more than observed by DSM-IV. The variance could be as a result of their not agreeing on the same inter-rater reliability for diagnosis of schizophrenia, especially the type called schizoaffective disorder (SAD).

According to DSM-IV-TR definition criteria, bipolar disorder is characterized with 9 signs of the abnormal manifestation of depressive mode which must be evident at least within two weeks of observation of such change. A medical diagnosis of bipolar disorder is concluded when such five or more of the signs of its manifestation are present in a patient. These symptoms must include abnormal loss of interest and pressure (American Psychiatric Association. 2003). The ICD-10 holds part of the DSM-IV definition and also believes that the symptoms should not manifest as a result of abuse of drugs or any natural cause of mental disorder. It includes in its definition that the symptoms also manifest are: weight loss, decrease hunger for the sex and psychomotor retardation among others.

The problems of the two approaches to the definition of each of the above-mentioned disorders is the inability of the approaches to come up with unified symptoms for the determination of a patient’s health disorder even when both definitions identified abnormal loss of concern in activities, thinking hindrance, loss of energy, decreased: libido, appetite and sleep with constant though for self-harm as the major elements of this disorder. For instance, Eduard & Mary (2007) submitted that this discrepancy has led to the wrong conclusion that psychotic symptoms manifest mainly in schizophrenia and does not manifest in bipolar disorder.

The causes of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can be attributed to both nature and nurture. McGuffin et al. (2003) acknowledged that there has been documented evidence in favor of the fact that the disorder is what can be inherited and Craddock et al. (2001) opined in affirmation that the effect of nurture on the disorder is also an important factor. The genetic support to its heritability claims that the disorder has a link with abnormal formation and development of the volume of white matter in the brain of its patients. Genetic research shows that the increase in gray matter density can contribute to the occurrence of the disorder and this can be attributed to genetic factor inherited from parents. The effect of environment can also influence the occurrence of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder through what happens inside a pregnant mother such as infection as a result of the use of an intrauterine device which can affect the development of the fetus and also certain viral infections can contribute in the adult bipolar disorder. A smoking mother can also influence these disorder in the life of her unborn child through harmful compounds she exposes the unborn child to through her smoking attitude. Other environmental factors are a delivery complication, the experience of sad events, lack of love for children which comes from the absence of social support, and childhood trauma (Cob 1976). Exposure to these health risk factors can increase the risk of later manifestation of schizophrenia in adult by hindering the expression of certain neuron-related function which leads to the manifestation of the defect. For example, Read et al (2005) submitted that documented evidence exist which support the claim that childhood trauma occasioned by factors such as sexual abuse and incest can cause the development of schizophrenia among both males and females.

Research shows that the effect of culture in bipolar disorder is not always evident in every region of the world, but it can still be attributed to some practice which exists in some climes. For example, on the variances experienced in the manifestation of the disorder among different regions, bipolar disorder was found to manifest more in some religious and ethnic backgrounds of USA than in other countries with less prevalence of it. This was not farfetched from the fact that Omega-3 fatty acid is known to have a combative effect against the manifestation of bipolar disorder, and seafood is rich with Omega-3 fatty acid. Therefore, ethnic backgrounds that are given to the consumption of seafood are less likely to develop the disorder. It is also noted that stress can contribute to the development of schizophrenia among those that are exposed to strenuous conditions. According to Van (1996), there is relative prevalence of manic profile disorder among the Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the UK when compared to some other areas. He submitted that this could be as a result of the racial discrimination and stress associated with a post-immigration process in the areas with a high prevalence of stress factors. Cultural influence can also be seen among the Amish region of the country in their presentation and diagnosis of the disorder. The Amish considers unconventional high self-esteem as a thing that should be strongly resisted and therefore not brought into consideration during clinical evaluation even when some signs of the manic profile is not considered as having cultural regards in any form in the same Amish culture (Egeland 1983).

It is evident that both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are mental health disorders. This made their sufferers to experience discrimination and stigmatization in there societies. However, both disorders can be prevented, diagnosed and treated. Schizophrenia can be corrected medically through the use of antipsychotic drugs including application of psychological and social methods of correcting disorders which vary from society to society such as the use of music on the patient as practiced among the Jewish tribe. Bipolar disorder on its part can be treated through application of drugs which can stabilize the mood of its sufferer as first medical option, and further medical treatment will be applied if the symptoms persists. The relatives of patient of any of these disorder should be conscious of steady application of medical solutions on their wards to avoid abstinence from the recommended drugs. They should also play the required roles through other disorder-correction measures to help restore the victim of any of these disorders to their normal mental life and integrate them back to the society without stigmatization.


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