January 13, 2014
Schizophrenia Case Analysis
Schizophrenia is serious mental illness and social issue that affects nearly 2.4 million Americans over the age of 18. While signs of the illness are often present in the late teens or early twenties it is difficult to pin point the cause or course of schizophrenia as it has many factors and effects (What is Schizophrenia?, 1996-2014). Schizophrenia is marked by psychosis, or being out of touch with reality, with many sufferers experiencing hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thoughts, behavior, and speech (Hansell & Damour, 2008). Understanding schizophrenia is depends takes into consideration the core concepts of historical relativism and the principle of multiple casualty as such to aid in classifying and identifying factors (Hansell & Damour, 2008). There are biological, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components that account for the disassociation in thoughts and behavior of those afflicted with schizophrenia. Some cases seem hopeless, however with proper treatment and follow up care many can be managed.
The Case of Sally
Sally did not have all the advantages of a healthy in utero experience. He mother smoked two packs of cigarettes while pregnant with Sally and encountered a flu virus while in her fifth month. Sally’s maternal grandfather was also known for “eccentric” behavior and beliefs. He may have even been considered to be “crazy” due to his odd behavior, however never sought mental health treatment. Sally was delayed in milestones such as learning to walk and talk, yet was quite an active child.
Sally’s parents had a conflicted marriage, even separating for a time and after finding out they were not able to have more children they devoted much attention to her. Sally’s mother became intensely close and protective of Sally, while her father would play with her, he was quite critical of her. She was intelligent but retreated to studies and engaged in fantasy play which inhibited her thought processes. She occasionally had friends, but due to her odd behaviors and mother’s bombarding they never really developed into meaningful friendships. She became more distant and withdrawn. She developed more odd behaviors and mannerisms due to her social ineptness.
When she did attempt to attend college, the unfamiliar surroundings caused her more stress and she began talking to herself estranging her further from others. She was once found in a catatonic state and taken to a hospital after which her mother took her home to care for her. Here she further degenerated into even more bizarre behaviors of fluctuating from unresponsiveness to unusual outbursts. Her father insisted she return to the hospital and showed some improvement, yet again her mother brought her home and did not continue any care measures for Sally. She got a job, but spent her time alone otherwise. After her father’s fatal heart attack Sally began wandering the streets in an apparent attempt to avoid her mother’s smothering. Her bizarre behavior worsened and she was eventually picked up by police possibly in an attempt to keep her from harming herself (Meyer, Chapman & Weaver, 2009).
There are quite possibly biological factors present in Sally’s diagnosis of schizophrenia. Pregnancy risk factors such as alcohol or tobacco use and exposure to viruses have been known to be contributors, as well as predisposing factors such as genetics and environment (Hansell & Damour, 2008). Although her grandfather may not have been diagnosed with mental illness, it is apparent he had some behavior issues of his own, and Hansell and Damour (2008) state that, “greatest risk factors involve having biological relatives with schizophrenia…” (pg. 470). These risk factors must interact with the environment to manifest themselves and it seems her childhood environment may have perpetuated the illness.