Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects on how an individual thinks

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects on how an individual thinks, behaves and feels. It is a complex long term medical illness which affects about one percent of the general population of the United States. It interferes with an individual’s emotional management, thought process and their decision making. Symptoms of schizophrenia usually occur within teens and adults of the age sixteen to thirty, but it can occur within children as well, though it is rare. Symptoms of schizophrenia fall into the categories of positive, negative and cognitive. Positive symptoms are behaviors that cause individuals to lose touch with reality. This includes hallucinations , delusions, movement disorders and thought disorders. Negative symptoms are changes or shifts to normal emotions and behaviors. This means an individual would typically have reduced form of expression, reduced feeling of pleasure, and reduced speaking. The last type of symptom are cognitives symptoms. Cognitive symptoms are schizophrenia affected changes in their way of speaking and memory. Symptoms include the failure to retrieve information to make decisions, trouble with paying attention and problems with working memory. Scientists believe schizophrenia runs in families, which is usually caused by environmental factors such as exposure to viruses, malnutrition before birth, problems during birth and psychosocial factors (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016). They also believe that different genes may increase the risk of schizophrenia as well. Examples would be going through puberty as going through major changes can trigger psychological symptoms in people who are weak to genetic or brain differences (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016). Since the causes of schizophrenia are unknown, the only known treatments are for the symptoms of schizophrenia. Treatments include antipsychotics, and therapies which help improve social and quality of life. This relates to my media piece which is a movie called The Roommate. The Roommate is about a young design student from Iowa, Sara, who arrives for college in Los Angeles. She meets her wealthy roommate Rebecca and they become friends. The two become close, but when Sara begins to branch out and make more friends on campus, Rebecca becomes resentful. Alarmed, Sara moves in with her new boyfriend, causing Rebecca’s behavior to take a violent turn, the disorder shown in the movie is known as schizophrenia. The media showcases a close accurate representation of schizophrenia.
The media piece showcases the well being of an individual with schizophrenia very well. This means their motives, thoughts and feelings. In a study conducted by Lloyd, Helen; Lloyd, Joanne; Fitzpatrick, Ray; Peters, Michele, they studied the outcomes that matter to people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and understand from their perspective how these outcomes can be achieved. Interviews were conducted with 22 individuals with schizophrenia which were analysed using thematic frameworks. The purpose of the study is to find the potential causal relationships between the context of a person’s life, short term goals and long term outcomes. The individuals were either labeled as doing well or not doing well. As for participants not doing well, their outcome was that they wanted to feel socially connected (Lloyd, Fitzpatrick ; Peters, 2017). This relates to Rebecca, who has a severe case of schizophrenia in the media piece, is clearly struggling with schizophrenia and is obsessed with her roommate Sara. She builds a strong bond with her and wants only Sara to be friends with her. Also, the study showed that not doing well participants also had psychosis and anxiety problems. Psychosis is when you lose touch with reality and see, hear, or believe things that aren’t real. This further supports the media piece as Rebecca shows signs of anxiety of the possibility of losing her close friend Sara, combined with psychosis, this results in her believing things that are not actually true. For example, Sara is seen hanging out with one of her close friends by Rebecca, this triggers her anxiety making her believe that Sara hates her and does not want to be with her.
Another way the the media is accurate is that in the movie, the movie shows a natural progression of schizophrenia. In an article by Lynn E. DeLisi, who was a student in New York University School of Medicine and Center for Advanced Brain Imaging, had research on the development of schizophrenia. She researched studies conducted by researchers in the 1990s, the researchers examined multiple patients through a span of two to eight years with no medication or treatment. Research found that there was in fact distinct changes within the brain. Changes include the decreasing of gray and white matter, as well as temporal lobe changes (Delisi, 2008). It is speculated here that the changes over time could be part of the genetically controlled disease process as well as various environmental exposures (Delisi, 2008). This supports the media piece because Rebecca who has schizophrenia, refuses to take medication. This worsens her case of schizophrenia and she goes through a change in behavior and personality. This is resulted from the loss of gray and white matter since those control your cognitive thoughts and what you perceive. As the movie progresses, Rebecca’s case of schizophrenia progresses as well. She starts to hallucinate which effects her relationship with Sara. As stated before, it is speculated that environmental exposures can affect schizophrenia, whether it is true or not, the media showcases this as Sara finds out Sara has been hanging with her friends. This triggers Rebecca’s anxiety which worsens her schizophrenia, leading her to believe Sara does not like her.
Changes I would make to the media piece to make it more accurate is that I would make it less extreme. Though, the media portrays the symptoms pretty accurately, it is the end result that does not work. In the media piece, the peak of Rebecca’s schizophrenia progression is that she becomes psychotic and starts murdering Sara’s friends. An occurrence like this would never happen as individuals with schizophrenia typically are not violent. Betsy Seifter Ph.D., states that people with schizophrenia are not dangerous to others, but usually dangerous to themselves. The media piece and research changed the way I looked at schizophrenia. Not only that it educated me on what schizophrenia really is, it gave me a bigger picture on how an individual with schizophrenia, acts, thinks and feels.