Paranoid Schizophrenia Josh Brotheim Keiser University First off, what is paranoid schizophrenia? According to Coon and Mitterer, (2010) paranoid schizophrenia is schizophrenia marked by a preoccupation with delusions or by frequent auditory hallucinations related to a single theme, especially grandeur or prosecution. In simple terms, the patients with this disease have false beliefs (delusions) that somebody or some people are plotting against them or members of their family.
They hear things that are not real, or have delusions of personal grandeur- a false belief that they are much greater and more powerful and influential than they really are. (MNT, 2010) The disease was first identified as a discrete illness by Dr. Emile Kraepelin in 1887 and the illness itself is generally believed to have accompanied mankind throughout its history. (Schizophrenia, 2010) There are three things to know about paranoid schizophrenia: what the signs and symptoms are, the types of different treatments, and how people with this disease can have a threatening effect on society.
Since paranoid schizophrenia affects so many people worldwide, it is very important to know the early signs and symptoms associated with it. Signs and symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia sometimes vary from person to person, but all the patients have the majority of these symptoms. They suffer from paranoid delusions or false personal beliefs that are not subject to reason or contradictory evidence. (MNT, 2010) A patient with paranoid schizophrenia will usually suffer from periods of high anxiety.
They may have anger that may range from mild irritation, to fury and rage. The patients may suffer physical or emotional detachment. Aggression may reach levels in which violent outbursts occur. (MNT, 2010). Violent behavior sometimes occurs with paranoid schizophrenics. Often this violence is interoperated by the patient as self-defense as he believes others want to do him harm; or may become suddenly violent without observed provocation. (Livestrong, 2011) They also often behave in bizarre ways.
They are often reported as having a conversation with someone who is not there or making strange statements when speaking to friends and family. (Livestrong, 2011) Finally, many schizophrenics contemplate suicide due to the difficulty of living with their mental illness or because they believe they have been instructed to do so by auditory hallucinations. (MNT, 2010). Patients with paranoid schizophrenia require treatments on a permanent basis; even when symptoms seem to have receded- a tempting time for patients to say they are fine and no longer need more help.
Treatments are basically the same for all forms of schizophrenia; there are variations depending on the severity and types of symptoms, the health of the patient, his/her age, as well as some other factors. (MNT, 2010) Treatments include medications, which include antipsychotics; these are effective at managing hallucinations, delusions and other symptoms such as loss of motivation and lack of emotion. (Mayo, 2010) Other medications like antidepressants, anti-anxiety, and mood stabilizing medications may also be used in combination with the antipsychotics depending on the patient’s symptoms.
Psychotherapy for paranoid schizophrenic patients is also essential. Psychotherapy may include individual therapy, which is therapy with a skilled mental health provider that can help them learn ways to cope with the distress and daily life challenges brought on by the disease. (Mayo, 2010) Psychotherapy may also include family therapy, where both the patient and his family may benefit from therapy that provides support and education to the families. Eletroconclusive therapy (ECT) which electric currents are passed through their brains to trigger brief seizures, changes the brains chemistry that can reduce symptoms of this disease. Mayo, 2010) Finally, to help the patients live independently and an important part of their recovery, people with this disease benefit from social and vocational skills training. Though there are not too many cases worldwide, people with paranoid schizophrenia may cause a violent threat to our everyday lives. According to Coon and Mitterer, (2010) thinking that god, the government, or “cosmic rays from space” are controlling their minds or that someone is trying to poison them, people suffering from paranoid schizophrenia may feel forced into violence to “protect” themselves.
An example is James Huberty, who brutally murdered 21 people at a McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, California. Huberty felt prosecuted and cheated by life. Shortly before he announced to his wife that he was “going hunting humans,” Huberty had been hearing hallucinated voices. (Coon and Mitterer, 2010) In July, 1998, a man named Russell Westen, who had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, entered the Capitol Building in Washington, D. C. , with a handgun, killing two security guards before he was shot and injured himself.
As it turned out, the man had refused to take his medications. He was delusional, claiming that the President was conspiring to kill him. Once he claimed that the satellite dish in his little town in Montana was spying on him for the CIA. His parents said that he believed secret powers were trying to control him through the TV set. The man’s symptoms read like a textbook description of paranoid schizophrenia. Not all paranoid schizophrenics are dangerous; most of them are not.
However, when they begin to act on their fantasies, like this man did, they can become dangerous. (Psywww, 2007) Since, paranoid schizophrenia affects so many people worldwide, it is very important to know the early warning signs and symptoms associated with it. It is important to be able to recognize the strange activities he or she may be doing, from talking to the strange little leprechauns in the corner or getting violent and raged about the government or whomever, trying to come after them or their families.
These diseased people need to be given the help they need. They need the antipsychotic medications, and the psychotherapy treatments to help them control there hallucinations and anger. With positive family and treatments, the violent outrages and murders can be kept under control. We just have to be able to understand what these patients are going through and help them with the proper treatments for their individual symptoms. (W/c 998) REFERENCES: Coon, D. and Mitterer, J. (2010) Introduction to Psychology (12th Ed. (P. 472). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth LIVESTRONG. com, (2010) Signs ; Symptoms of Paranoid Schizophrenia. Retrieved December 6, 2011 from http://www. livestrong. com/article/22699-signs-symptoms-paranoid-schizophrenia/ MAYOCLINIC, (2010) Treatments and Drugs. Retrieved December 6, 2011 from http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/paranoid-schizophrenia/Ds00862/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs MNT, (2010) What is Paranoid Schizophrenia? What causes Paranoid Schizophrenia? Retrieved December 6, 2011 from
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