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Alevel Psychology (AQA) - Schizophrenia Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

Alevel Psychology AQA exam board, schizophrenia.

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.

Classi­fic­ation of Schizo­phrenia

Schizo­phrenia is a serious mental health disorder experi­ences by about 1% of the world popula­tion.
It is more commonly diagnosed in men than women.
It is more commonly diagnosed in cities than the countr­yside, in workin­g-class rather than middle class people.
Symptoms of schizo­phr­enia;
Positive symptoms are additional experi­ences beyond these of ordinary existence, eg; halluc­ina­tions, delusions, disorg­anised speech.
Delusions - Delusions are false beliefs that are firmly held despite being completely illogical or which there is no evidence. Common types of delusions in schizo­phrenia include the following;
Delusions of persec­ution, the belief that others want to harm, threaten or manipulate you. Schizo­phr­enics may believe that they are being spied on, that nasty rumours are being spread about them or that people are plotting to kill them.
Delusions of grandeur, this is the idea that you are an important indivi­dual, even god-like and have extrao­rdinary powers. One of the most frequent of this type of delusion is the belief that they are Jesus Christ.
Delusions of control, indivi­duals may believe that they are under control of an alien force that has invaded their mind and/or body. This may be interp­reted, for example, as the presence of spirits or implanted radio transm­itters.
Halluc­ina­tions - Involve distur­bances in percep­tions (rather than distur­bances in thought). They are false percep­tions that have no basis in reality. The most common halluc­ina­tions are;
- Auditory ones (hearing voices), but can include smell, touch or sight.
- There may appear to be a single person talking or many and they may appear to be familiar or unfami­liar.
- Many schizo­phr­enics report hearing voices that instruct them to do something or that tell them they are wicked and evil. Sometimes they instruct the patient to do things that could be harmful to themselves and others.
Negative symptoms are those that involve the loss of usual abilities and experi­ences, eg; flattened effect, reduced speech, avoiltion.
Speech poverty - Is the inability to speak properly, charac­terised by the lack of ability to produce fluent words; this is the thought to reflect slowing or blocked thoughts. It can manifest itself as short or empty replies.
Avolition - Is the reduction, difficulty or inability to start or continue with goal-d­irected behaviour. It is often mistaken for apparent disint­erest. Examples include; No longer being interest in going out and meeting with friends. No longer being interested in activities that person used to show enthusiasm for. ETC...

Diagnosis of schizo­phr­enia;

According to the DSM-5, a diagnosis of schizo­phrenia is made if a person has two or more core symptoms for at least on month, one of which must be;
- Halluc­ina­tions.
- Delusions.
- Disorg­anised speech.
The other core symptoms are gross disorg­ani­sation and diminished emotional expression
Other DSM-5 criteria for a diagnosis of Schizo­phrenia include:
- Level of work, interp­ersonal relations or self-care is signif­icantly below what it was before the start of the symptoms.
- Signs of distur­bance that have lasted at least 6 months.
- Schizo­aff­ective disorder and depressive or bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms have been ruled out.
- The distur­bance is not caused by distur­bance by substance abuse or another medical condition.
Is it reliably diagno­sed?;
No, there is a huge issue of culture bias. American and English indivi­duals of African American decent are more than 7x as likely to be diagnosed with Schizo­phrenia than their white counte­rparts.
Is it a valid diagno­sis?;
No, comorb­idity is the phenomenon of two or more conditions occurring together. Schizo­phrenia is often diagnosed with other condit­ions. Buckley et al (2009) concluded the following comorb­idity rates;
Depression - 50%. Substance abuse - 47%. PTSD - 29%. OCD - 23%.
There is also the issue of symptom overlap between schizo­phrenia and other condit­ions. For example - both schizo­phrenia and bipolar disorder involve positive symptoms like delusions and negative symptoms like avolition. As a result a person may be diagnosed with schizo­phrenia but the same individual could receive a diagnosis of bipolar if seen by a different profes­sional.