ESL 91
FALL, 2003


Shuei Machiyama
ESL 91
Fall, 2003

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 serious mental disorder deeply related to a brain chemical called dopamine. It is caused by brain abnormalities, or disturbances in some area of the brain. The patients break from the reality. As a result, they are unable to have normal life or to work. According to the author Rupinder Mann for Biochemistry 2, more than two million people suffer from this illness at some point of their life. Moreover, it is one of the most common mental disorders in America. Although there are effective drugs to treat the illness, it does not have a perfect cure yet. For that reason, people might have to carry the illness for rest of their life.

According to the text mentioned above, there are four subtypes of schizophrenia, Simple schizophrenia, Paranoid schizophrenia, Hebephrenic schizophrenia and Catatonic schizophrenia. The first two types are also called positive schizophrenia. The positive symptoms are frightening. For instance, hallucinations, delusions, and hearing voices are most common symptoms. Hebephrenic schizophrenia and catatonic schizophrenia are called negative schizophrenia. Negative symptoms are more disable in physical way. Negative symptoms are blunting of emotion, language deficits and luck of energy. In addtion, 10 percent of people with schizophrenia, especially younger adult males, unpredictably commit suicide. In general, positive symptoms are easier to recover and live with it compare with negative symptoms.

Schizophrenia causes are categorized by three factors. Environmental factors are about peopleís financial difference. It is called ďdifferent diagnosis.Ē Genetic factors are related to family. Schizophrenia is inherited. People who have a close relative with schizophrenia are likely to develop the disorder than people who do not have a close relative with schizophrenia. Biochemical factors are about how the brain chemical are functioning, especially dopamine, a neurotransmitter which controls human emotion and behavior. The schizophrenia brain produces too much dopamine as compare with normal brain. In addition, schizophrenia patients have physical brain abnormalities, for instance; some part of brain is not well constructed.

Anti-psychotic drugs such as Clozapine are the most effective drugs treatments for schizophrenia so far. The Anti-psychotic drugs reduce psychotic symptoms like delusions. Also it is important to keep the record of what symptoms have appeared in the patients. Psychosocial treatment mostly focuses on improving the patientís social function such as jobs. It is also important for family members, who are close to the patient, to have knowledge of the illness.

As a conclusion, it is very sad to know that some people have to carry schizophrenia for lifetime. When I was reading about its causes, I noticed how sensitive the human being are. I think it is very important to keep this information in my mind just for my life. I really hope there will be better treatment or drugs for this illness soon.

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Paul Pomagrin
ESL 91
Fall, 2003

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 a very important neurotransmitter that plays a main role in the human brain. Dopamine affects brain processes that control movement, emotional response, and the ability to experience pleasure and pain. The body needs to have a certain amount of dopamine in order to function normally. A neurotransmitter is the chemical that enables the brain to send messages. If dopamine is in correct amount in the brain, it gives the ability for: learning, remembering things, concentrating etc. When the brain receives an imbalanced amount of dopamine it causes problems. If there is too much dopamine in the brain it can cause schizophrenia. If there is too little dopamine it can cause Parkinsonís. Drugs can treat problems with dopamine.

Parkinsonís disease is a disorder of the brain that affects muscle movement. Parkinsonís disease is caused by too little dopamine in the brain. Dopamine helps the nerve cells to transmit messages properly, but without dopamine it can damage the part of the brain that controls muscle movement. People with Parkinsonís disease might shake and have difficulty with walking, movements, and coordination. There is no cure for Parkinsonís disease, but there are treatments. The treatment for Parkinsonís is to take some drugs such as Benstropine or carbidopa / levodopa.

Schizophrenia is an emotional and mental disorder that makes a person out of touch with reality. Chemicals like dopamine play an important part in schizophrenia. When there is too much dopamine in the brain it cannot control the personís behavior and emotions. Also schizophrenia can cause hallucinations, delusions and illogical thinking. Like Parkinsonís disease there is no cure yet, only treatment. Antipsychotic drugs can help to balance and control the release of dopamine.

Dopamine is a chemical messenger everybody uses everyday in their body. Chemical messengers are very helpful when they function correctly, but they are harmful when they do not function correctly. Chemicals canít be imbalanced when already in the brain. Nobody can control the release of dopamine in their body.

Dopamine is very important in our brain and body because it affects our behavior and the ability to experience pleasure and pain. The level of dopamine plays a crucial role in our mental and physical health. In Parkinsonís disease there is too little dopamine and in schizophrenia the brain releases too much dopamine. Both of these diseases have a medical treatment. Scientists have a lot of information about these diseases. I hope in the future there will be vaccines that can help a person balance their dopamine level.

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Page last updated on November 17, 2003