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Schizophrenia - Informative Speech

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Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about schizophrenia and its consequences.

Central Idea: Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that affects millions of people and it should not be underestimated or ignored.


I. Does anyone have a friend who hears voices that nobody else hears, sees things that nobody else sees or believes that people are controlling his mind and trying to plot against him?

A. Well, I do.

B. I have a close friend, Ash, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at an age of 23 earlier this year.

C. The news was shocking and it fueled my longstanding curiosity towards this disorder.

II. I want to inform my audience of schizophrenia which according to medical experts affects approximately 2 million Americans every year, especially in our age group.

III. Over the course of the speech I will give an overview of the disorder followed by its symptoms, diagnosis, causes, treatment and experiences of my schizophrenic friend.


I. Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder indicating a constant, often chronic, severe and disabling mental illness.

A. It is called a biological brain disease by some medical professionals.

B. It impairs straight-forward thinking, and distorts a clear perception of reality which in-turn effects behavior and emotions.

C. The confusion in speech and behavior of those suffering might seem so frightening and confusing that the patient is often left alone by others.

D. The term schizophrenia is derived from the Greek words Ð''schizo' and Ð''phrenos' that can be translated as Ð''shattered mind.'

II. Now lets talk about the facts and statistics of schizophrenia.

A. The disorder is typically noticed between the ages of 15 and 25 men and women.

1. Men tend to develop symptoms earlier at an average age of 18. 2.women do so at an average age of 25.

B. Schizophrenia is ranked among the top 10 causes of disability in developed countries worldwide.

C. 1.1% of the population over the age of 18 i.e. 51 million people worldwide suffer from the disorder at any given time.

D. The percentage of those diagnosed is similar from country to country at 1% of the population.

E. It is estimated that in a city of 3 million in the US, over 21,000 people will be suffering from the illness.

F. Among those diagnosed with the illness 10% end up dead within 10 years, mostly due to suicide.

G. According to National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenia consumes about 65 billion dollars a year for direct treatment, societal and family costs.

III. Now that you have a better idea of this severe disorder, we can move on to the symptoms and diagnosis.

A. Often, the first signs of schizophrenia are seen as shocking or confusing changes in behavior.

B. There are many more symptoms that follow the onset of the disease.

C. The first types of symptoms are characteristic symptoms, of which at least two have to be seen often for a month before a patient can be diagnosed.

1. These symptoms include delusions which are false beliefs strongly held due to distortion or exaggeration of reasoning or misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences in spite of evidence that proves otherwise.

a. "If you talk to God, you are praying. If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia," were the words of famous psychiatrist Dr.Thomas Szasz.

2. The next characteristic symptoms are hallucinations that are distortions or exaggerations of any of the senses, the most common being auditory, followed by visual.

3. Then is disorganized speech or thinking also known as thought disorder that is characterized by incoherent, loosely associated and frequently disrupted speech.

4. Grossly disorganized behavior is a symptom that makes the completion of activities in everyday life difficult along with bizarre and silly actions. 5. Catatonic behavior is characterized by decrease in reaction to the immediate surrounding environment.

D. Other symptoms include lack of emotional expression, inability to speak, lack of interest, social isolation, poor concentration and memory, and difficulty in expressing and integrating thoughts, feelings and behavior.

IV. There is currently no physical or lab test to diagnose the disorder, thus, diagnosis is normally made on the basis of a psychiatrist's assessment of the symptoms mentioned above.

A. Early diagnosis is vital as it can provide better long-term outcomes such as partial or complete recovery preventing further brain damage.

B. Unfortunately, a lot of the symptoms overlap those of other disorders, thus, correct diagnosis from a good psychiatrist is important.

C. Also, the paranoia might make it hard for a family to convince a patient to start treatment.

D. There are many support groups and centers dealing with brain disorders that should be consulted for an early diagnose.

V. Schizophrenia can be treated is many ways, but most effective are anti-psychotic, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety medications.

A. According to research, approximately 70% of the patients will improve by taking correct medication.

B. Other ways of treatment are hospitalization, psychotherapy, shock therapy or electroconvulsive therapy, cognitive therapy, rehabilitation programs, peer support groups, nutritional supplements and other stress reduction exercises.

VI. Having spoken about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, it is time to talk of the events or causes that lead to this disorder in the first place.

A. Even though an exact cause of schizophrenia is not know till date, the experts have agreed on the probable cause being a combination



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