Olivia McBride Psychology Psychopathology Psychopathology is the

Olivia McBride
Psychopathology is the study of mental illness, distress, impairment, or the manifestation of
behaviors and experiences of mental illness. Psychopathology has not been around for very long, in fact
over the course of history people did not seek to treat the mentally ill, but rather house them or store
them with the poverties and criminal. They were called mad and treated cruelly, brought to
demonstration in front of the curious. Only until the early 19th century did Philippe Pinel, a French
physician, declare that the mental were not mad, but sick and should be treated. This is when they
started to house mental institutions to study and aim to treat patients.
However many institutions were store houses, where society would hold people away from
society who weren’t necessarily ill but misunderstood. Dr. David Rosenttan pretended to enter a psych
ward claiming to hear voices for a study. He wanted to see if he they would notice a normal person
inside the ward. When he and his companion entered they ceased their fake symptoms to see if they
would be noticed. They were only released after a time with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia on
remission. He claims that he felt dehumanized in the ward, and that there wasn’t enough time for the
staff to be with the patients, that is was hard for them to remember that the patients were people with
families rather than objects that needed to be taken care of.
Although we still do not know what the causes of mental illnesses are there controversies on if
mental illnesses even exists. Freud believed that anxiety, schizophrenic, and affective disorders are
merely unresolved childhood experiences. Dr. Irving Gottesman believed that genes, hormonal
imbalances, and brain impairment could have something to do with it. He has been doing research
comparing the brain structures in twins who have schizophrenia. He did a study with sixty pairs of twins
across the North America. Thirty of the twins had one twin diagnosed with schizophrenia and the other
did not, twenty were both diagnosed with schizophrenia and ten sets neither were diagnosed.
He found that because of your genes you could be susceptible to the disease but because the
twins were originally created with the same genes and not both were not diagnosed with the same
disease. He reasoned that because of something that could have happened in the earlier lifetime such as
drug abuse, a serious concussion or a viral disease or forms of influenza could push a person into a
schizophrenic state of mind. While doing his research he found, while using an MRI, which the
difference between a schizophrenic brain and a normal brain is that the ventricles (spaces in the brain
where blood is carried through) are quite larger. This suggests that the schizophrenic patient has lost
brain tissue and the blood is filling in the holes.
According to Paul Thompson, professor of neurology at the University of California, a
schizophrenic brain has immense damage to the frontal lobe and the parietal lobe. The damage to the
parietal lobe causes hallucinations, delusions and disorientation, making it hard for patients to interact
with the outside society. Teenagers diagnosed have the tendency to lose more brain tissue than adults
because of the brain still developing. His theories of how schizophrenia may develop are because of
acceleration in normal cell destruction, overproduction of dopamine and lack of myelin.
Other illnesses such as anxiety disorders are caused my chemical imbalances in the brain such as
serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA and dopamine. When our body feels stressed the brain releases these
chemicals. When we don’t have enough or too much of these chemicals our body experiences chronic or
hyper anxiety.
Other dramatic experiences throughout a life can lead to illnesses such as depression and
feelings of alienation. Teresa La Famboise, Stanford University, studies the link between mental illnesses
in Native Americans and the trials they have been involved in throughout their lives. She believes that
because of forcible moving, poverty, unemployment, and trials such as removal of their children to go to
boarding schools for Americanization purposes, play a dramatic role in their changing of culture causing
some sorts of mental illnesses. Evidence shows that approximately twenty-one percent of the American
Indian and Alaska Native population suffer from mental illness, dysfunction, or self-destructive behavior,
with high numbers in alcohol abuse, anxiety and depression disorders.
Overall mental disorders can be caused by a variation of reasons, genetic, chemical imbalances
and childhood/past experiences. These disorders should be treated as an illness and not characterize the
patients as mad or abnormal. I believe that these disorders such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and
depression should be treated through biologically and therapeutic methods.
I enjoyed learning about the reasons why schizophrenic and patients with anxiety act the way
they do and what is going on inside their brain. This research would help me though out my life to
remember to be sympathetic and understanding towards people dealing with mental illnesses.
Works Cited
Duran, Bonnie, Margaret Sanders, Betty Skipper, Howard Waitzkin, Lorraine Halinka Malcoe, Susan
Paine, and Joel Yager. "Prevalence and Correlates of Mental Disorders Among Native American Women
in Primary Care." National Center for Biotechnology Information. Jan. 2004. US National Library of
Medicine. 18 July 2012 <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1449829/>.
Norman, William. "Difference Between Normal & Schizophrenic Brain." EHow. 18 Dec. 2009. Demand
Media. 18 July 2012 <http://www.ehow.com/facts_5763211_difference-between-normal-schizophrenicbrain.html>.
Psychopathology. Dir. Christine Herbes-Sommers. Perf. Philip G. Zimbardo. Discovering Psychology. 18
July 2012
Van Der Borne, Jake. "Anxiety Causes: An Overview of Chemical Imbalance." Anxiety Causes: An
Overview of Chemical Imbalance. 09 Mar. 2006. National Center for Health and Wellness. 18 July 2012