Research Paper on Childhood Adversity and Schizophrenia

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1818 Words
Date:  2022-03-26


Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by the patients seeming out of touch with their current situations and environment. It affects the thought process of a patient and thus how one thinks are changed which in turn affects the emotions and behavior of a person. The way influences emotional and behavioral traits I which one believes. If a person's thinking process is modified, it thus means that their emotions will be impacted. The thought process also affects how individuals behave because people behave according to how they have perceived their situations mentally, and then react accordingly in response to the thought process.

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In children, schizophrenia is very severe and may affect how a child functions mentally and emotionally. It is empirical to note that childhood schizophrenia is ideally similar to schizophrenia in adults (Chen, Rittner, Manning, & Crofford, 2015). Abnormal interpretations on reality are very rampant in childhood schizophrenia which can be detrimental to the overall health of the child or impairment of function in behavior and thinking of a child. This paper will discuss childhood schizophrenia and how it affects children. The discussion also outlines how studies have advanced in the field of schizophrenia towards treating and managing the condition.

Childhood adversities cover a wide range of childhood experiences which play a significant role in shaping the mental and physical wellness of a person. Such events include the loss of a close family member, neglect, bullying, sexual molestation, emotional abuse, and other negative experiences. Experts in psychology and health management systems have increased the level of research attention on the subject due to its link to various adult mental disorders. Research findings indicate that childhood adversity is a putative risk factor for mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a health condition in which people think abnormally about reality due to brain damage. The state may result in hallucinations, delusional thinking and disordered cognition which damage the normal functioning of a person. The onset of schizophrenia is mainly between late adolescence and early adulthood with at least 50 percent (Matheson, Shepherd, Pinchbeck, Laurens & Carr, 2013). Medical research reports also show that at least 40% men and 23% of women diagnosed with the disease experienced symptoms before the age of 19. There exists no cure for the health condition, and thus researchers have turned to investigate the root cause of the problem. This will turn help to reduce the disease prevalence especially among adolescents and young adults to help them lead healthy productive lives (Sahu, Malavade & Jacob, 2016).

Schizophrenia results from a combination of both genetic and environmental factors which trigger the condition. According to medical research, people with a family history of the disease have about 20-40 percent of being diagnosed a year later with schizophrenia. Genetic studies also show that the hereditability of the illness is about 80 percent with more risk for persons whose close relatives suffer from the condition (Matheson et al., 2013). However, there are still degrees of variance in these estimates due to the difficulty in separating genetic and environmental influences on schizophrenia. Environmental risk factors which trigger risk to schizophrenia include drug use, living environment, and prenatal stress. These factors may result from current or past experiences, and this study focuses on negative experiences from one's childhood. Childhood adversity has been closely linked to the adult psychiatric disorder which affects social and cognitive functioning of the individuals. Increased rates of childhood adversity in people with schizophrenia have also provoked further research to investigate the relationship between the experiences and the chronic health condition (Kilian et al., 2018).

Childhood adaptation to schizophrenia is challenging especially in behavior and emotional capacities. If discovered early enough in a child it may be improved and treated to encourage the adjustment to treatment and how it affects the patient in the long and short term. In children, it is very severe because it has an impact on the growth and development processes children encounter and thus face challenges in interpersonal relationships. Hamm & Leonhardt (2016) suggest that these challenges are an obstacle to patients because the patients may exhibit behavioral and emotional coping difficulties that are not considered normative in society. The most significant problem schizophrenic children have is in creating a connection with people.

Causes and Risk Factors of Schizophrenia From Childhood Adversity

The cause of schizophrenia is not known because it has no specific contributor or pointer that brings about the disease and hence it is not a curable disease but a manageable disease. By this, I mean that it can be suppressed in treatment but not fully treated because it is a disease of the brain. Since it has no specific cause, some factors can contribute to the manifestation of the disease in an individual. In this part of the discussion will explain the risk factors and how they impact on the mental capacity to suffer the schizophrenia mental disease. Some of the risk factors associated with schizophrenia are family and genes history, birth complications, use of drugs.

Family and genes history. This cause of schizophrenia explains that the disease is inherited or acquired in the genes of a person from the family lineage. Genes are inherited and passed on from one generation to another through the family unit. The biological makeup of an individual can be a cause for schizophrenia if the disease has afflicted some of the members from their family. Another reason that is family associated with schizophrenia is that of old aged fathers. The older the father of a child is the less risk-averse to schizophrenic the infant is likely to be. Current research points out that family history dramatically influences the development of childhood adversities, which in turn increase the risk to schizophrenia at later stages in life. The findings point out that family stability and show of concern from parents and other members reduce the risk to emotional, sexual or physical abuse that children face in the society. Having a supportive family gives children, the opportunity to get educated on their rights and diverse psychological, physical and emotional needs to decrease their vulnerability to negative experiences (Balter, 2017).

Birth complications. Infants and pregnant mothers are very delicate beings and thus why they are handled delicately. Schizophrenia can develop during pregnancy if complications arise during this period; hence why it is crucial to take care during this period. An infection during pregnancy raises the risk levels of exposing infants to schizophrenia. Fosse, Joseph, & Richardson (2015), suggest maternal stress in pregnancy has long-term neurodevelopmental effects on the infant. The vulnerability of children to schizophrenia at such early stages in life shows that some have to live with the condition for a better part of their lives. As this research finds out, this aspect exposes them to negative social perceptions on mental illness and thus lead to the development of childhood adversities. Thus, as much as childhood adversity leads to vulnerability to schizophrenia in the future, research also indicates that schizophrenia can cause childhood adversities if developed at the early stages of one's life.

Use of drugs. Drug abuse can lead to schizophrenia when young adults are in a season of exploring and happen to overuse drugs without prior knowledge or caution especially when using prescription drugs. Drug use makes schizophrenic individuals abuse drugs even more than the standard capacity because the drugs neutralize treatment and thus render it ineffective. Empirical evidence supports the existence of a relationship between drugs abuse and childhood experiences, especially among young adults and teenagers. Rubino, Nanni, Pozzi, & Siracusano (2009) also supports that children from dysfunctional families or abusive social environments may naively turn to drugs as they seek to escape the sad reality in their lives. Children who feel mistreated or lack adequate parental attention may also use drugs to rebel against their parents or the rules that confine them. Exposure to drug and substance abuse in childhood increases one's risk to schizophrenia in later life as an adult and teenager.

Problems Associated With Schizophrenia

Problems associated with this disease are the consequences associated with the disease when left untreated. If one has not been diagnosed with the condition, they exhibit some of these problems in their lives. Some of the issues arising from this disease that will include in this discussion are depression, suicidal thoughts, drug abuse and withdrawal from society.

Depression. This is a disorder that affects the emotional capacity of an individual. It changes ones mental, emotional and social behavior whereby individuals have a perpetual sense of giving up in whatever they do because of low feelings and moods. Schizophrenia if not managed and treated may weigh heavily on patients and lead to severe depression in some cases (Rubino et al., 2009). The correlation between schizophrenia and depression is that both mental disorders that distort the psychological dimensions of an individual and elevate the suffering of the patient.

Suicidal thoughts. Suicide is the act of an individual taking or ending their life. Suicidal thoughts are the thoughts one has to end their life. Mental disorders are very rampant in creating situations that lead to suicide because the thought process of the individuals is not systematic and hence can be easily tampered with in the negative. In the symptoms associated I mentioned delusions and hallucinations which can be a factor that plays a role in suicide and suicidal thoughts amongst people with schizophrenia.

Drug abuse. Ailing patients can result in excessive use of drugs to contain or try to deal with this disease. However, it is more detrimental to the health of the individual if they indulge in substance abuse. Substance abuse creates codependency on drugs for coping mechanisms which is harmful in the short and long term treatment of schizophrenia.

Withdrawal from society. This is whereby the person ailing shuts out the world and prefers solitude. This is a symptom and sign of the diseases especially if the individual stops engaging even in activities they used to like doing. Emotional connections become challenging to manage and maintain for patients having this disorder (Bentall et al., 2014). Isolation is what people with schizophrenia prefer, and they become more introverted and want to stay alone.

Treatment of Schizophrenia

There is no known cure for schizophrenia because as stated earlier the cause for it is not known. Given the severe problems associated with the condition, researchers and scientists have come up with treatment techniques to help the lives of people living with schizophrenia. The treatments for the disease are nonetheless meant to manage or rather suppress the symptoms to ensure that the affected individuals can go about their daily lives without limitations to living. The essence of treatment methods is to minimize the signs because if they become worse, the disease will have a corresponding increase in severity which makes it worse and thus causing the affected individuals to lead healthy lives. Some of the treatments I will discuss briefly are the use of medication, therapy, and rehabilitation.

Medication use is essential in treating schizophrenia...

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