Case Study (Schizophrenia) Benny is 52 years old and has been working as a driver for a postal company for the past 28 years. He had a very cheerful and normal childhood, with sufficient caring from parents. He loves his parent very much. Benny has been unmarried his entire life. He reports that he has always been “nervous with the girls and such” and avoids making any significant social overtures with women. He meets his sexual needs matter of fact by visiting a prostitute on a regular basis.
Benny has recently begun insisting that he is suffering from cirrhosis of the liver. Although medical tests have proven negative, he insists that he can feel the organ rotting inside of him. This thought seems to have developed after he watched a television program on the side effects of alcoholism. Besides that, Benny also started to ‘see’ things not from the world. For example, on one occasion, Benny was watering his plants when suddenly he yelled at the neighbour’s son, ordering him to duck and take cover for the attacks from Mars.
He’d also warned the young man to shut the curtains before bed, to not be curious of any sound that he hears during the night. Another time was when Benny had started talking to ‘someone’ through a broken phone. When being asked, he would express that he is actually contacting the government in order to handle the issue of aliens’ invasion from Mars. Moreover, what scared most of his neighbours nowadays would be his personality changed.
Benny would often start of his day usually by greeting his neighbours early in the morning, but lately, he seems to ignore the fact that he knows them, and doesn’t even have the slightest idea of what had happened during the morning when asked by someone else at a later time. Though many people thinks that either Benny is getting ill or he is actually going insane, but little do they know that actually Benny is going through the schizophrenia process.
Schizophrenia, also known as dementia praecox, is a severe mental disorder characterized by some, but not necessarily all, of the following features: emotional blunting, intellectual deterioration, social isolation, disorganized speech and behavior, delusions, and hallucinations (Dictionary. com, 2009). It can also be defined as a severe disorder in which a person may suffer from disordered thinking, bizarre behavior, hallucinations, and is unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Though schizophrenia is a mental disorder, it still possesses various symptoms.
First of all would be the occurrence of delusions and hallucinations. Delusion is a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact (Dictionary. com, 2009). It means that people suffering from such symptoms would not be able to accept the true fact, and would rather live in a lie. Hallucinations on the other hand, would be a sensory experience of something that does not exist outside the mind, caused by various physical and mental disorders, or by reaction to certain toxic substances, and usually manifested as visual or auditory images (Dictionary. com, 2009).
Such as relating to Benny’s case, we can see that Benny actually thinks that he knows and sees the alien’s attack, and is even talking to the government about a counterattack through a spoilt phone. Furthermore, people suffering from schizophrenia may also suffer the flat effect, which means impaired emotional functioning (Gur, Kohler, Ragland, Siegel, Lesko, Bilker & Gur, 2006). According to Gur et al. (2006), flat affect was more common in men than in women, and especially those who were associated with poorer premorbid adjustment. In addition, there are also various types of schizophrenia.
It can be classified into Disorganized – a type of schizophrenia in which behavior is bizarre and childish and thinking, speech, and motor actions are very disordered; Catatonic – is a type of schizophrenia in which the person experiences periods of statue-like immobility mixed with occasional bursts of energetic, frantic movement and talking; Paranoid – is a type of schizophrenia in which the person suffers from delusions of persecution, grandeur, and jealousy, together with hallucinations; Undifferentiated – is a type of schizophrenia in which the person shows no particular pattern, shifting from one pattern to another, and cannot be neatly classified as disorganized, paranoid, or catatonic; Residual – is a type of schizophrenia in which there are no delusions and hallucinations, but the person still experiences negative thoughts, poor language skills, and odd behavior (Phun, 2009). There are various reasons why Benny had acquired such mental disorders, and one of them would be psychoanalytic. Psychoanalysis is a systematic structure of theories concerning the relation of conscious and unconscious psychological processes (Dictionary. om, 2009), meaning psychoanalytic is touching theories that are related between conscious and unconscious. Psychoanalytic also sees schizophrenia as a severe breakdown of the owner’s ego and succumbing to its id, hence resulting in various infantile behavior and various childish demands (Phun, 2009). Behavior approaches tends to think differently how schizophrenia is actually caused. Critics of expressed emotion argue that the hostility and intrusiveness of family members might be the result of symptoms exhibited by the patient (Smith, Nolen-Hoeksema, Fredrickson & Loftus, 2003). Hence behaviorists believe that schizophrenia does actually caused by its environment, especially the social context and the society.
According Beck & Rector (2004), cognitive approaches on the other hand think that the impaired integrative function of the brain, as well as the domain-specific cognitive deficits, increases the vulnerability to aversive life experiences, which lead to dysfunctional beliefs and behaviors actually caused schizophrenia. They explained that the symptoms of disorganization result not only from specific neurocognitive deficits but also from the relative paucity of resources available for maintaining a set, adhering to rules of communication, and inhibiting intrusion of inappropriate ideas (Beck & Rector, 2004). They believe that the causes of schizophrenia within a patient is due to the fact that patients are not able to use their brains and minds effectively, hence turning to schizophrenia in the end. On the other hand, biological approaches tend to insists that schizophrenia is a hereditary predisposition for schizophrenia (Smith et al. , 2003).
It means that people from families who have already succumbed to schizophrenia will have a higher chance of acquiring it to. Researches have stated that patients who are suffering from schizophrenia have smaller or inactive prefrontal cortex deficits in cognition, emotion and social interaction (Smith et al. , 2003). The last but not least, the stress-vulnerability model, proposed by Zubin and Spring (1977), saying that each person has a certain amount of stress which they can cope with, and if exceeded, the person will fall ill. The ‘stress’ mentioned in the stress-vulnerability model means the amount of stress a person can cope with, while the ‘vulnerability’ is how big the impact of a certain problem on a certain individual (Sorensen, 2002).
Hence according to the stress-vulnerability model, Benny may have exceeded the amount of stress he can cope with, and thus resulting in acquiring the disorder. Though being discussed with details, there may be still various reasons why Benny would be affected with schizophrenia, meaning that we cannot state which approach causes the distort within Benny and leading to schizophrenia It may be due to different reasons not listed above, or it may also be a combination of 2 or more causes stated above. References Beck, A. T. & Rector, N. A. (2004). Cognitive Approaches to Schizophrenia: Theory and Therapy. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, vol. 1, 577-606.
Retrieved 1st December, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://arjournals. annualreviews. org/doi/abs/10. 1146/annurev. clinpsy. 1. 102803. 144205 Dictionary. com. (2009). Delusion. Retrieved 1st December, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/delusion Dictionary. com. (2009). Hallucination. Retrieved 1st December, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/hallucination Dictionary. com. (2009). Psychoanalysis. Retrieved 1st December, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/psychoanalytic Dictionary. com. (2009). Schizophrenia. Retrieved 1st December, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://dictionary. reference. om/browse/schizophrenia Gur, R. E. , Kohler, C. G. , Ragland, J. D. , Siegel, S. J. , Lesko, K. , Bilker, W. B. & Gur, R. C. (2006). Flat Affect in Schizophrenia: Relation to Emotion Processing and Neurocognitive Measures, vol. 32. Retrieved 1st December, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://schizophreniabulletin. oxfordjournals. org/cgi/reprint/32/2/279 Phun, K. (2009, July). Chapter 14 – Psychological Disorders. Lecture presented at Psychology 112, Help University College. Smith, E. E. , Nolen-Hoeksema, S. , Fredrickson, B. L. & Loftus, G. R. (2003). Atkinson and Hilgard’s Introduction to Psychology (14th Edition). United States of America: Thomson