Schizophrenia, Psychosis and Lifespan Development

DSM IV-TR Category Definition: From text or other source Classification
Schizophrenia It involves severe behavioral complications that usually affect the normal functioning of an individual.
  • Positive Schizophrenia. There exist pathological excesses that may include distortion of normal behavior.
  • Negative Schizophrenia. The condition is characterized by the absence of specific behavior.
Psychosis This refers to a significant and characteristic loss of connection between an individual and the reality around him/her.
  • Schizoaffective. A condition that causes mood problems and psychosis.
  • Schizophreniform. A manifestation of psychosis with characteristics similar to schizophrenia.
Lifespan Development and Disorders of Childhood This is disorder that affects school-aged children. It is known to adversely affect their academic work.
  • Mental Retardation. It is an intellectual functioning that is below average.
  • Learning Disorders. They are defined as a deficiency in the ability of a child to appreciate and understand new information.
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorders. These are serious impairments in many areas of normal functioning of a child.


These are disorders that can seriously reduce the normal functioning of a child. They have components that vary widely. Understanding these components may be a big challenge especially when one focuses on the illnesses that are common among the children. Therapeutic intervention and prevention can be achieved easily if the components for these disorders are clearly understood (Hansell & Damour, 2008).

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Through scientific research, it has been found that brain structures, to some extent, are responsible for the occurrence of schizophrenia. Victims usually have an inherited predisposition for the disorder. The condition starts developing when the generic factors interact with external ones, such as viruses and toxins in the environment (Turgay, 2009).


Through research, the following diseases, such as brain tumors and stroke, have been implicated as some of the major components of psychosis. These may also feature as part of personal disorders (Turgay, 2009).

Lifespan Development and Childhood Disorders

Complications during birth or pregnancy together with genetic abnormalities are the major factors attributed to the causes of mental retardation. Mental retardation can also be caused by post natal complications, such as shaken baby syndrome (National Institutes of Health, 2011).



Any behavior that is deviant or abnormal has its origin in internal conflicts that have not been exposed. This causes internal built up of pressure in the mind which could then result in schizophrenia. In some cases, psychotherapy is used to manage the disorder (Hansell & Damour, 2008).


Psychotic episodes usually result in the emotional exhaustion of an individual and are usually frightening. The fact that the affected individual is not connected to reality means that the disorder is marginalizing (Turgay, 2009).

Lifespan Development and Childhood Disorders

Distress is one of the major emotional components of this disorder and results from the environment in which a child grows. This may also be caused by socio-economic status (Hansell & Damour, 2008).

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Hyper-attentiveness associated with the disorder may combine with the stressors to result in an individual being affected. There is a general understanding that there usually exists an inability for a person to block external stimuli which may then cause hallucinations (Meyer & Weaver, 2009).


Mood disorders associated with schizoaffective disorder may result in the individuals developing negative scenarios that may then cause more depression. In such situations, therapies for other mood disorders can be used.

Lifespan Development and Childhood Disorders

The environment in which the child grows may negatively impact on the child and cause depression. Such children may, therefore, manifest some symptoms of emotional violence (Meyer & Weaver, 2009).



Individuals affected by schizophrenia usually have social withdrawal behaviors. This might be as a result of maladaptive learning which makes it necessary for the development of adaptive behaviors to alleviate such a situation. The factors that predispose an individual to certain behaviors are usually the main focus of behavioral theorists. They focus on reinforcing new behaviors so that an individual understands his/her own personality (Meyer & Weaver, 2009).


An individual can be adversely affected by such behaviors as self-harming and mania. It is, however, possible to create a new pattern of behavior to alleviate the problems. This can be achieved by use of medications (Meyer & Weaver, 2009).

Lifespan Development and Childhood Disorders

Frustrations and depression may negatively influence some of the children making them develop hostile behavior towards other people. In order to try and address the hostility, such children tend to develop aggressive solutions to the problems with very little focus on the potential consequences. This results in cognitive crises among the children when things do not work out as expected (Hansell & Damour, 2008).


It can easily be assumed that schizophrenia, psychosis, and childhood and lifespan developmental disorders do not have much in common. This is not, however, the case because each of them has underlying biological components that are very significant. These are responsible for developing the behavioral, cognitive and emotional effects in an individual. It is, therefore, essential for psychologists to have a clear perspective of these disorders so as to enhance effective medical attention to accommodate all forms of mental illnesses (Hansell & Damour, 2008).

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Hansell, J. & Damour, L. (2008). Abnormal Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Meyer, R., & Weaver, C. (2009). Case Studies in Abnormal Behavior. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Turgay, A. (2009). Psychopharmacological Treatment of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

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