ESL 91
FALL, 2002

Aurelina 1
Aurelina 2

Medjina Milord
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Essay Topic: Describe the mental disorder schizophrenia. Discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of schizophrenia. Be sure to talk about the biological bases of the disorder.

Schizophrenia is a disease of the brain that causes a lot of problems.  Schizophrenia is marked sometimes by delusional behavior and by intellectual and emotional deterioration.  While there is no known cure for schizophrenia, it is a very treatable disease.   Schizophrenia has different kinds of symptoms, positive and negative.  That disease doesn’t really have one treatment.  Medications and therapy can be helpful for schizophrenia. 

According to the text, Interdisciplinary English by Loretta Kasper, schizophrenia is one of the most disabling mental conditions.  One in 100 persons suffer from schizophrenia at some point in their lives.  It usually affects people between 15-45 years old.  In the 16-25 year old age group, schizophrenia affects more men than women.  In the 25-30 year old group, the incidence is higher in women than men.  Schizophrenia exists in all cultures, in all countries.  That means anybody can suffer from schizophrenia.

The positive symptoms are deterioration and exaggeration of normal thoughts and emotions, including delusions and hallucinations.  Due to schizophrenia, people can’t participate in conversation and the disease make them become distant his family, and friends.  Schizophrenic’s people also alienated from society.    The negative symptoms show or exhibit a lack of emotional expressions and often withdraw from society.  These obvious behavioral patterns are known as the negative symptoms.

Nobody knows the real causes of schizophrenia, but there are many conditions that could be the cause for schizophrenia as well.  In fact, scientists still cannot understand all the factors necessary to produce schizophrenia.  Therefore, there are some possible causes such as heart disease, result from an interaction of genetic, behavioral, and other factors.

Schizophrenia cannot be cured, but there are many things people can do to help the population combat schizophrenia.  There are medications called antipsychotic drugs.  There is also supporting counseling or psychotherapy that can help the population to rehabilitate as rapidly as they could.  Also important are encouragement from their friends and practical advice from psychotherapy or supporting counseling during this rehabilitation.  Also psychological techniques applied by psychologist for schizophrenic patients who have not responded to drugs include, distracting activities, such as listening to music; behavioral tasks, such as taking exercise and cognitive tasks, such as ignoring their hallucinations.   Talking therapies, such as counseling and psychotherapy, are mostly used alongside drug treatment for people with schizophrenia.  Psychosocial interventions are also used to minimize distress and reduce frequency of relapse.

From all of my research on schizophrenia, I find that the disease is incurable.  It’s very difficult for a person to live with schizophrenia.  Psychiatrists and doctors have not been able to find out what produces schizophrenia.  Schizophrenia is a disease that can affect anyone at any age and there are no exceptions.  

In the future, I hope to become a registered nurse.  It’s good for me to know what schizophrenia is, what it looks like, what its symptoms are, how it is treated and what kind of drugs people use to combat schizophrenia.  I think it’s a good thing to do research and write about it.  That helps us to develop our knowledge, increase our capacity for learning, and our comprehension as students.  Now, I know so much about this disease that I believe I can observe when a person’s displaying schizophrenic symptoms or tendencies.             

Schizophrenia is the most terrible disease that a person could have.  It is very important that scientists continue to find out the exact causes of schizophrenia and to one day find a cure for it.  Schizophrenics not only need treatment to combat or calm down the symptoms, but treatment that could heal the disease.

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Aurelina Santana
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Essay Topic: Describe the mental disorder schizophrenia. Discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of schizophrenia. Be sure to talk about the biological bases of the disorder.

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disease. It is one of the most disabling and emotionally devasting illnesses known to man. According to the text Web Med .com, More than two million Americans suffer from schizophrenia. The disease affects both men and women. Schizophrenia may be inherited from parents or caused by a physical abnormality in the brain. One of the symptoms is that the person hears internal voices not heard by others. Nowadays there are several treatments for schizophrenia.

A schizophrenic patient might show different kinds of symptoms such as thought disorders, which is the inability to think clearly and logically. One example of this disorder is that the person can’t participate in a normal conversation or have a social life with his family, friends and society. Another symptom is delusions in which the person believes that another person can read his mind. The last one is hallucinations in which the person may hear voices or see things that others can’t. When the person has hallucinations, the voices that he hears tell him what to do or warn him from danger.

Schizophrenia doesn’t have a specific cause; the causes are many. Possible causes are genetic factors and biochemical factors. Parents can pass schizophrenia to their children and twin can pass it to their sibling. In the case of twins the risks are higher than in siblings who are not twins. Schizophrenia also may be related to problems during pregnancy that damage the baby’ s developing nervous system. Malnutrition, exposure to an infection such as the influenza virus, drinking alcohol or using drugs during pregnancy can damage the baby’s brain. Furthermore when the brain produces a higher amount of dopamine it can cause schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is not a curable illness, but there are different kinds of treatment in order to control the illness. Those treatments are a combination of antipsychotics and professional counseling. The treatment usually helps the patients to try to have a normal life. According to the text Web, the treatments for schizophrenic patients are divided into two parts: relapse and remission. Remission refers to periods of time that the schizophrenic patient doesn’t show symptoms and takes medication, but in lower doses. Relapse refers to periods of time when the symptoms increase after the patients have shown some improvement. In the relapse stage time, the patients need a lot of medical attention; they have to remain in the hospital and they take higher doses of medication. In the remission stage the patient does not need to be in the hospital and the doses of medication are lower. During the remission stage participation in the professional counseling sessions helps the patient.

My Response

Doing research for this essay allowed me to have a closer view of schizophrenia. The illness could destroy the patient and their families and if they don’t have a strong spirit and a lot of hope. Schizophrenia is incurable, but with treatment and counseling sessions patients could improve their lives. Another thing that I didn’t know before is that if a pregnant woman drinks alcohol or uses drugs, it can damage the baby’s brain, leading to schizophrenia. Doing this research I also learned that schizophrenic patients are not necessary violent people, except if they have a criminal record before or abuse drugs or alcohol before they become ill. The majority of schizophrenic patients prefer to stay isolated from the rest of the world. Schizophrenic patients could be become violent if they stop their treatment. Schizophrenia is a devastating illness and sometimes leads to suicide.

Schizophrenia is an incurable illness. With medication and professional counseling, patients can manage their life in a normal way. Schizophrenic patients need a lot of support from their families and community.

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Carole Guerrier
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Essay Topic: Describe the mental disorder schizophrenia. Discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of schizophrenia. Be sure to talk about the biological bases of the disorder.

Schizophrenia is a brain disease or mental disorder that affects a person’s whole being because he or she loses touch with reality. This disease is characterized by some very specific symptoms. Those involve delusions, in which the mentally ill has thought disorders, and hallucinations meaning that the person has perceptual difficulties. For many years, scientists have done tons of research regarding schizophrenia, especially about its main causes. Unfortunately, the exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown. However, they have discovered that one of the causes is a biochemical factor.

As a mental disorder, Schizophrenia makes its victims lose total control of their brain. In addition, therefore, any activity that requires specific involvement such as playing a sport is severely affected. People who suffer from such an illness are considered to be disabled in one way or another. Sometimes, their speaking is not clear, or their acting is improper. They may say nonsense things, or show signs of abnormal behaviors such as laughing at a sad event.

People who suffer from delusions believe that other people are watching them.  They also believe that others can hear their thoughts. In contrast, those who suffer from hallucinations usually hear, see, or even feel things that are not real. Sometimes, the person believes he is hearing people warning him about some kind of danger and ways to deal with it.

Though the cause of schizophrenia is not yet known, there is evidence that it may run in the family. It may also be related to problem experienced during pregnancy meaning that a baby’s developing nervous system can be damaged at that time. But, there are individuals who are more at risk than others. Those people fall under the category of identical twins. If a person has an identical twin diagnosed with the disorder, he or she has a 40 to 50% greater chance to have it. Also, children whose parents are schizophrenic can inherit it genetically.  Furthermore, if both parents are diagnosed as schizophrenic, the child has a 35% greater chance to develop it. And, if only one parent, the chance is 13%.

Schizophrenia really shakes and disturbs people’s lives. As a result of that, its victims cannot function properly in society. Scientists have tried to study people with such a disorder closely. And, they have come to the conclusion that many factors such as the environment, the interplay of genes and others can cause schizophrenia. Furthermore, there are biochemical changes that occur in the brains of schizophrenics. That can happened when there are many substances such as protein that are not manufactured or that are in excess. A good example of a substance involved in schizophrenia is the chemical messenger “dopamine”, which acts as a chemical bridge between the brain’s neurons. They think that people with schizophrenia have an increased amount of dopamine.        

As a result of clinical research and experiments, scientists have created some medications that can treat schizophrenia. And, they have also found out that therapy can help people who suffer from schizophrenia get better. The medications that they have created are called Antipsychotics. These drugs, when administered to patients, help balance the chemicals in the brain. In addition, patients go to day programs such as rehabilitation facilities, and often visit outpatient clinics. Furthermore, these victims need all the support that they can get from their friends and relatives in order to get better. Those kinds of people are called a social network, and they are one of the reasons why some patients with the disorder adjust to their life.

I realize that schizophrenic people live a very difficult and painful life. Therefore, I hope that everybody who does suffer from that disease can be cured so that they can get back on track. According to the article “The private pain of a public figure” by professor Allan Fels, “For every 100 people there is one person who will develop the schizophrenia at some time in their life”. This article also stated that, even though these people are taking medication, it does not guarantee that they would totally be cured. It only tends to help but not eliminate the accompanying so-called symptoms.             

I have a friend with that disease, and I have seen how devastating her life is. She has been taking her medication, but it has significant side effects that include weight gain. She gained more than 25 pounds and many times, she has been hospitalized due to the disease. 

I can say that Scientists have taken a step further by finding medicine for the disease. But, I would be happier if they could find the main cause, more precisely where the disease is rooted. In addition, I think that normal people should accept mentally ill people and help them cope with their illness so that they can feel better.

Given all the damage schizophrenia does, I can only say that I hope scientists find what causes it. Furthermore, I hope schizophrenic people get their life back on track so that they can move on to pursue their dreams. Very often people think that schizophrenia involves a “split personality”. Rather it involves a severe inability to understand reality.

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Juana Reyes
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Essay Topic: Describe the mental disorder schizophrenia. Discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of schizophrenia. Be sure to talk about the biological bases of the disorder.

Schizophrenia is one of the most disabling chronic mental disorders.  Many people today have this terrible illness.  According to the text Webmed .com schizophrenia is marked sometimes by delusional behavior and by intellectual and emotional deterioration.  Schizophrenic patients often suffer from loss of control, hallucination and delusions.  Treatments for Schizophrenia include therapy and medication.

Schizophrenia is caused by a physical abnormality in the brain.  This abnormality can lead to hallucinations and delusions, which cause the disturbances of perception common in people that have Schizophrenia. In hallucinations, schizophrenic people think that they see things that are not real.  Hallucinations occur in any sensory form such as sound, touch, smell and sight. Delusions are false personal beliefs strongly held in spite of contradictions.  People who have delusions believe in what they see or hear; nobody is able to reason or contradict what the person believes.

People experience different types of delusions.  Some may have paranoid delusions; these persons may feel that they are being persecuted, cheated, harassed, and poisoned or being conspired against.  There are also delusions of grandeur in which a person may believe he or she is a famous or important person.

Schizophrenics may think in a very bizarre manner. They might have disorganized speech.  They don’t talk a lot.  However when they do, they speak incoherently.  They can change their conversation midway in a sentence. Catatonic people keep a posture without moving themselves.  They look like the mannequins in a window display.  They move only when someone moves them. These symptoms destroy their social, emotional, intellectual and physical life.

People who suffer from Schizophrenia must have treatment to control this devastating disease.  Treatments include therapy and medication.  In the therapy we have the psychosocial therapy that is available for people with schizophrenia, and most focus on improving the patient’s social functions.  Another therapy is the psychotherapy that involves regularly scheduled chats between the patient and a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric social worker, or nurse.  In the medication we have the antipsychotic drugs, also called neuroleptics. According to the Webmed. com these medications “have proven to be crucial in relieving the psychotic symptoms of Schizophrenia”.  Antipsychotic drugs are often very effective in treating certain symptoms of Schizophrenia, particularly hallucinations and delusions; unfortunately the drugs may not be helpful with other symptoms.

In the schizophrenia topic, I learned many things about this disease.  I learned how this disease is caused.  The most interesting thing that I learned about the cause was that many people suffer from schizophrenia due to a biological factor.  For example if the mother or father suffers from this disease, there is a possibility that the child will suffer from schizophrenia too.  The disease can be inherited. This disease doesn’t affect any one particular ethnic group.  It doesn’t matter how old the person is.  This disease can affect anyone. This paper on schizophrenia will be useful if I should ever encounter anyone who suffers from the disease.  Perhaps as a teacher, I will be able to recognize the irrational behavior that is a sign of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is one of the most terrible diseases in the world.  This disease isolates the schizophrenic patient from their family, society and friends.  Schizophrenic people lose their social life; they don’t have any relationship with their friends and family.  They live in their own world out of the reality; they create their own world, no matter what is happening around them.   

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Alla Tsibulskaya
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Essay Topic: Research the neurotransmitter, dopamine. Explain how this neurotransmitter works and what its function is in the body and the brain. Be sure to concentrate on how dopamine affects behavior. What happens when something goes wrong in the system; for example, when there is too much or too little dopamine? What treatments are there?

Dopamine plays a very important role in the normal functioning of the brain and body of the human. Dopamine is a chemical messenger that transports messages between the nervous endings in the brain. According to the text “Dopamine- a sample neurotransmitter” at dopamine by University of Texas, "Dopamine is a major neurotransmitter that is involved in many behaviors." In fact, dopamine controls brain processes, such as movement, emotional response and the ability to experience pleasure and pain.

According to the book “ Essentials of Psychology” by Dennis Coon,  “A neurotransmitter is any chemical released by a neuron that alters activity in other neurons”(p 53). The human brain consists of about 100 billion neurons, which can communicate with each other chemically by neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters move through a microscopic space between two neurons, called the synaptic gap. An example of how this chemical transmission works is when a few people are standing on a line and take the hands of neighbors, and one passes a message to the other by handing it to his neighbor. The second person gets the message by squeezing the hand of his neighbor for transmitter. This is a figurative explanation about how neurotransmission works.

Indeed, dopamine plays an important role in our mental and physical health. If dopamine releases the normal amount into the synaptic gap, we have the normal work of the human brain. A normal level of the dopamine leads to maintaining normal affective tone and mood.

On the other hand, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease are both attributed to an imbalance in dopamine level.  When the nervous system starts to give a smaller than necessary amount of dopamine, Parkinson’s disease starts to develop. Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the breaking down of a lot of dopamine neurons. According to the text “Biological psychology” by University of California, “ Parkinson's Disease (PD) is accompanied by a selective destruction of dopamine neurons”. Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the following symptoms: shaking of the hands, arms, legs or feet while the patient is resting, slow movement or a short, temporary delay in movement and difficulty in maintaining one’s balance.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disease developing over many years. According to the text “Biological psychology” http://www.scuchico/psy by University of California, when the doctor finds that patients have symptoms of the Parkinson’s disease, “He helps relieve their symptoms, he gives these people a drug that increases dopamine in the brain”. The work of this drug is directed to the normalization of level of the dopamine in the brain.

Schizophrenia is attributed to an imbalance in dopamine level, too. But the brains of schizophrenic patients produce more dopamine than normal brains. Schizophrenia is characterized as abnormal behavior that includes hallucinations, thought disorders and delusions. A hallucination is a process when the person that is sick gets different objects from his imagination and speaks with these objects as if they were real, but they are only his perception. Thought disorders are processes when the thoughts of the sick person have chaotic moving. Delusions are processes when what the person believes is not true.

Treatment of schizophrenia can have a good result if this disease is diagnosed early. The doctor works with the patient over a long time. According to the text “Biological psychology” by University of California, “Schizophrenia is treated with drugs which block the binding of dopamine to its postsynaptic receptor sites. The better the drug is at blocking dopamine, the better it is at reducing the schizophrenia.”

Through my reading and research I learned scientific information about dopamine, neurotransmitters, Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. It was interesting for me because it gave me more information about these two diseases. When I finish college, I’ll be able to use my knowledge in the future when I start my job in the medical establishment. It is important for me because Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia are serious illnesses and there are a lot of sick people who need serious treatment.

In fact, dopamine is very important in our brain and body because it affects our behavior and ability. Regulation of dopamine plays a crucial role in our mental and physical health. Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia are chronic illnesses, but if these diseases have a medical treatment that works on a scientific basis, they can be cured after some period of time. Although scientists have a large amount of information about these diseases, they must continue learning about Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia and they must open new facts and details about these diseases.

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Aurelina Santana
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Essay Topic: Research the neurotransmitter, dopamine. Explain how this neurotransmitter works and what its function is in the body and the brain. Be sure to concentrate on how dopamine affects behavior. What happens when something goes wrong in the system; for example, when there is too much or too little dopamine? What treatments are there?

Dopamine is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the brain. Dopamine is involved with the processes that control movement, emotional response and the ability to feel pleasure or pain. However too much dopamine in the brain can cause schizophrenia. On the other hand when the brain doesn’t have sufficient dopamine, it can cause Parkinson’s. Both diseases have no cure but can be treated with medication.

Dopamine plays an important role in the brain because dopamine affects our behavior. In Parkinson’s disease the disorders in the brain reduce the muscle control. In this case the brain produces too little dopamine. When the brain produces too little dopamine the human body has an imbalance in muscles and this results in shaking in different parts of the body. According to the text "Principles of Internal Medicine", the symptoms of Parkinson’s are tremors, stiffness and slowness of movement, deterioration in handwriting, difficulty arising from a chair or turning in bed. In some cases young people can develop Parkinson’s disease; an example is Michael J. Fox, a comedian in his thirties. The highest risk is for people between 40 and 70 years old, for whom the disease is progressive. The treatment for Parkinson’s is to take some drugs such as Benstropine or carbidopa / levodopa.

While too little dopamine in the brain can lead to Parkinson ‘s, too much dopamine in the brain can cause Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a disabling brain disease can that cause hallucinations, delusions and illogical thinking. With this disease the patient becomes isolated from the rest of the world. With antipsychotics the symptoms are less and the schizophrenic patient can manage a normal life.

Doing this research I see that both illnesses, Schizophrenia and Parkinson’s, change the patient’s life radically. Both illnesses are progressive and most of the time depression is one of the common symptoms. Families and friends are an important support for those patients. In many cases especially with the Parkinson’s disease in elderly people, depression is very dangerous. This is because they feel that they are not important in their family life and they think that they are not capable of developing a normal life.

A close person in my life has Parkinson’s disease. It is hard to see the person you love not be able to walk normally, take anything in her hands because she trembles and the most difficult for her is to ask for help when she needs anything. We try to treat her as a healthy person because she feels better when we do this. When I talk to her I say "You are the strongest person in the world and I am proud of you because you do not give up," and she laughs. I know this disease is progressive and one day the bad news will come. Now we give her all the love and support as a family.

Dopamine is the most important neurotransmitter and it plays an important role in the brain. It’s important to have a balance of dopamine in our brain in order to develop a normal life.

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