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By: Heather Culligan
Auburn University Montgomery
“Schizophrenia is a group of severe brain disorders in
which people interpret reality abnormally.” – Mayo Clinic
Taken from reference 2
 Schizophrenia is described as over activity of
dopaminergic pathways in the basal nuclei, an area of the
brain that controls motor activity. This means that the
persons receptors in their brain are not firing correctly
which causes the person to hear voices that are not there
or see things that are not there.
 Also, MRI studies show abnormalities in the neocortical
and limbic regions and interconnecting white matter
tracts of the brain. Studies have found that 2 networks of
white matter tracts are reduced in Schizophrenia.
The purpose of this picture is to show you how little control
schizophrenia people have over their actions.
 Family history of Schizophrenia
 Exposure to viruses, toxins or malnutrition while
in the womb.
 Older paternal age.
 Taking psychoactive drugs during adolescence
and young adulthood.
 Stressful life circumstances.
Taken from Reference 1
 Hallucinations (hearing voices)
 Delusions
 Paranoia
 Disordered thinking
 Distorted perceptions of Reality
 Flat affect
 Strange behavior such as communicating in
rambling statements or made up words.
 Social Withdrawal
 Loss of motivation and interest in everyday
There are no DIAGNOSTIC TESTS for Schizophrenia with that being said a
doctor may draw some blood or do other basic tests to rule out other illnesses. To
be diagnosed with Schizophrenia a person must meet a criteria in the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
1. A person must have at least two of the common symptoms of
the disorder.
delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, disorganized or
catatonic behavior for a significant amount of time during one
2. Experience significant impairment in the ability to work,
attend school or perform normal daily tasks.
3. Have had symptoms for at least six months.(1)
Taken from Reference 3
Is there a Cure?
There is no cure for Schizophrenia but there are
Treatment options to control the manifestations of the
 There are many different medications offered for treatment. One type
of drug offered is called Phenothiazines. Examples of this type of drug
are chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, perphenazine, compazine, mellaril,
trifluoperazine. This drug works by providing symptomatic relief of
positive symptoms and controls manic symptoms.
 Another type of drug that can be used is called Conventional
Nonphenothiazine Antipsychotics. Examples are Haldol, Loxapine,
pimozide, thiothixene. The way these drug work are similar to the
above drug type except the incidence of sedation and
anticholinergic adverse effects are less.
 The 3rd type of drug is called Atypical Antipsychotics. Examples are
Abilify, Saphris, Clozaril, Fanapt, Latuda, Zyprexa, Invega, Seroquel,
Risperdal, Geodon. This type of medication are the most common
ones used today. Atypical drugs treat both positive and negative
symptoms of schizophrenia.
Taken from Reference 4
Evidence Based
 The most common treatment modalities according to our
book Pathopharmacology for Nurses are the Atypical
Antipsychotics. “ In 2002 a newer drug class was
developed to better meet the needs of patients with
psychoses. . . This class is called the dopamine system
stabilizers, because it controls both positive and negative
symptoms of schizophrenia it is grouped with atypical
antipsychotics (p.219).” It is well tolerated by patients and
has less symptoms. The name of this drug is Abilify.
Taken from reference 4.
1. Frankenburg, R.(2013). Schizoprenia. Medscape. from
2. Bengston, M. (2006). Types of Schizophrenia. Psych Central.
Retrieved on July 18, 2013, from
3. Mayo Clinic. (2012). Schizophrenia. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved
4. Adams, M.P, & Holland, L.N, & Urban, C.Q.(2011). Pharmacology for
Nurses: A Pathophysiologic Approach.(4th ed.). Boston. Pearson. (p.