Schizophrenia Essay

2631 words 11 pages
This essay focuses on the diagnosis of schizophrenia, a major mental illness with much stigma and misinformation associated with it. World Health Organisation (WHO, 2012) epidemiological evidence suggests that schizophrenia is a mental illness affecting 24 million people worldwide. This essay will define schizophrenia and its characteristic signs and symptoms in relation to cognition, mood, behaviour and psychosocial functioning. The criteria enabling a diagnosis of schizophrenia are explored, as well as contemporary nursing care and pharmacological treatments. The positive and negative signs and symptoms of schizophrenia will be discussed and the treatment and care requirements outlined by the NSW Mental Health Act (2007) are also …show more content…

Mood and anxiety symptoms are particularly concerned with depression and apprehension, both common and debilitating aspects of schizophrenia (SFNSW n.d.).

Diagnosis begins with a detailed assessment which includes physical examination, past and present medical history, as well as detailing physical functions such as elimination, exercise, sleep and nutritional status (Bardwell & Taylor 2009, p. 187). The key assessment document applied, is the mental status examination (MSE), an assessment tool that investigates the individuals ‘neurological and psychological’ capacity according to Bardwell & Taylor (2009, p. 184). The MSE allows the assessor to capture the intricacies of elements such as the individuals’ appearance, behaviour, speech, mood and effect, form of thought and content, perception, sensorium, cognitive factors and insight (Bardwell & Taylor 2009, p. 185-187).

Videbeck (2011, p. 253) state that a diagnosis must be made by a psychiatrist and when the patient meets the criteria for major affective or mood disorders. The author proposes the assessment of “affect” requires sensitivity of differences in eye contact, acceptable emotional expressions and body language. Diagnosis of schizophrenia is universally guided by criteria listed in ‘The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ (DSM) (American Psychiatric Association 2000, cited in Bardwell & Taylor 2009, p. 252), a text produced by the American


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