Emotional and behavioral disorders are special conditions which indicate various characteristics during a long period of time. They are usually caused by genes and surrounding, however, sometimes by both of them. Emotional and behavioral disorders involve ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), bipolar disorder, eating disorder and depression. There are some characteristics that determine emotional and behavioral disorders, such as:
- An incapability to reach and to follow an adequate interpersonal relationships with peers;
- An incapability to comprehend the information which cannot be reasonably clarified by mental, sensory and health aspects;
- Permanent or chronic improper type of conduct or emotions within the normal surrounding;
- Demonstrated pervading mood of sadness or depression;
- Demonstrated proneness to advance physical symptoms, aches or other irrational phobias related with individual (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009).
To define what emotional and behavioral disorders are, it is pivotal to concentrate on one of the most serious types of the disease, which is schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a chronic, acute, and disabling brain disease that affects people all over the world. Approximately 1 % of Americans suffer from schizophrenia (Cromwell, Matthysse, Wynne, 2000). The key distinction of this disease from many others is that patients often hear voices others do not hear. Moreover they think that people around them read their minds, influence on their thoughts, or plan how to abuse them. As a result, those who suffer from schizophrenia turn into terrified and reticent people. People with schizophrenia often do not seem rational while talking. They can even sit for a half of the day without moving, reacting or talking (Bhugra, 2010). People with this illness do not always succeed in their career ladder. That is why they have constant difficulties concerning their conduct and duties.
Symptoms of schizophrenia are divided into three complete groups: positive, negative and also cognitive symptoms. Positive symptoms are considered to be psychotic conducts that are not observed in healthy people. Those who have positive symptoms, in most cases, lose connection with the reality. They are unsteady: sometimes they can be acute, when at other cases they are barely visible. The nature of positive symptoms depends on the way and the amount of treatment the person is getting (Konery, 2006). These symptoms involve:
- Hallucinations. They are so called things a person hears, sees, smells or feels that nobody else except that person can hear, see, smell or hear. “Voices” are considered as the most widespread type of hallucinations in schizophrenia. These voices can communicate with the person concerning his/ her conduct, command to do something, or alert about the danger. People with schizophrenia can hear voices for many years before his/ her relatives distinguish the problem. Except for hearing voices, schizophrenia includes seeing people and things that are not there, smelling aroma that nobody can perceive, and feeling things, for instance like invisible objects or people touch their body.
- Delusions. They are considered to be wrong beliefs or principles that are not characterized in the person’s culture. The person does not stop to believe the delusions even after somebody shows that those beliefs are not real and illogical. Moreover, people who suffer from schizophrenia are able to have strange delusions, for instance, that they are under the influence of their neighbors or colleagues who manipulate them with the help of the strong biofield and magnetic waves. Additionally, they can be sure that people on television are trying to transmit a special message to them. There are also cases when they are convinced that they are somebody else, such as a celebrity or prominent historical figure. Schizophrenics can have paranoid delusions that people around them are trying to hurt them by poisoning, shooting, or harassing. There exists also another term for such kinds of beliefs, which is “delusions of persecution”.
- Thought affliction. They are so called abnormal or dysfunctional methods of thinking. One sort of thought affliction is named disorganized thinking, when a patient has problems with organizing his/ her thoughts. One of the possible problems can be illogical formation of the thoughts. For instance, people can communicate in a jumbled way that is almost impossible to comprehend. Another sort of thought disorder is named thought blocking, when a person unexpectedly interrupts his/ her conversation in the middle of the thought. While asking why a person suddenly stopped talking, he/ she can answer that thoughts simply got out of his/ her head. It is also common that people with a thought disorders are able to create incomprehensible words, or, so called, neologisms.
- Movement disorders. They usually emerge as excited body movements. A person suffering from this type of disorder may duplicate particular movements again and again. Sometimes a person may become torpid or catatonic. Catatonia is a medical condition when person does not move or respond to others. It is very rare condition nowadays; however, it was widespread when treatment for schizophrenia was not obtainable.
Negative symptoms connected with malfunction of usual emotions and conduct. They are much harder to detect, since it can be confused with depression or other similar conditions. Negative symptoms involve “flat effect”, when person’s face does not move, or he/ she speaks in a tedious way; absence of delight in everyday life; absence of capability to start and maintain systematic activities; little and insufficient interaction (Konery, 2006).
People who suffer from negative symptoms of schizophrenia require everyday care and help with common duties. They often tend to pay less attention to their outlook and personal hygiene. They may seem lazy or unwilling to take care of themselves; however, they are not responsible for such action, which is only the result of the schizophrenia.
Cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia are difficult to distinguish from other symptoms, as well as they are difficult for recognition. Usually, they can be discovered only after certain medical tests are performed. Cognitive symptoms involve poor “executive functioning” – inability to apprehend information that leads to incapability to make sensible decisions; problems with focusing or consideration; problems with “working memory” – inability to utilize information as soon as it learnt. Cognitive symptoms make normal life unbearable. They lead to incapability to earn a living and also to a high probability of emotional distress.
Doctors believe that one of the key factors that cause schizophrenia is genes and environment. Schizophrenia is more likely to happen in families. According to the statistics, the disease occurs in 1 % of the common population, however it happens in 10 % of people whose first-degree relative, such as parent or sibling is suffering from schizophrenia. People with second-degree relatives, such as grandparents, cousins, aunts also have higher probability of developing the disease. Different brain chemistry and structure is another reason of getting the schizophrenia. Scholars assume that a disbalance in the elaborate, interdependent chemical reactions of the brain causes schizophrenia (Kuperberg, 2010).
Schizophrenia has an effect on male and female in equal parts. There is also no matter what ethnic group the person belongs to. Such symptoms as hallucinations and delusions mostly begin amidst ages 16 and 30. However, men can start to undergo symptoms a little bit earlier than women. People after age of 45 and children usually do not suffer from schizophrenia, nevertheless some cases rarely happen.
People with schizophrenia do not usually express their aggressiveness. However, several symptoms are connected with violence, namely delusions of persecution. Substance abuse can also enlarge the possibility of person becoming aggressive. People who usually suffer from schizophrenic’s violence are family members and close friends and the acts of violence mostly happen at home. Furthermore, schizophrenics tend to commit suicide that is considered to be one of the possible consequences of constant symptoms (Davis, Siever, 2004).
Treatment is possible while dealing with schizophrenia, however, it does not cure the disease completely, and it only helps to relieve numerous symptoms of it. It includes antipsychotic medications and numerous psychosocial treatments (Waterman, 2003). Antipsychotic medications were discovered in the mid 1950’s and they involve Fluphenazine, Haloperidol, Chlorpromazine, and Perphenazine. Chlorpromazine, for instance, helps to deal with hallucinations and disruptions with the reality.
Some people may have side effect after starting talking medication. Usually side effects disappear in a couple of days and do not bring serious damages to the organism. However, it is highly recommended to avoid driving while taking antipsychotics, at least until a person get used to it. Side effects involve dizziness, dormancy, unclear vision, sensitivity to the sun, rashes, speedy heartbeat, and also menstrual problems for female. Intake of some types of antipsychotic medications leads to a serious weight gain and alterations in a person’s metabolism. Furthermore, it can cause other diseases, such as diabetes and high cholesterol (Kuperberg, 2010).
In spite of the fact that schizophrenia is considered as a hard lifelong disease, many people can find a way to cope with it and have reasonable and significant lives in the society.