Date of Submission

Spring 2020

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Justin Hulbert

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Schizophrenia is a serious condition that results from the dysregulation of critical neurotransmitters in the brain, namely dopamine, and serotonin. Although schizophrenia remains one of the most stigmatized mental health disorders, there is ample scientific evidence that the progression of the disease is manageable and does not have to impair the afflicted individual from living an average life, especially with effective treatment. In fact, the key difference between a brain with and without schizophrenia is merely the ability to separate reality from excess neural activity triggered by the chemical imbalance of dopamine and serotonin. Since the discovery of schizophrenia, researchers have found an increasing number of environmental, genetic, neurological, and interpersonal factors that influence its pathology, treatment, and phenomenology. Recent research examining the effectiveness of clinical and pharmaceutical treatments for schizophrenia have found that, compared to either treatment type alone, combining both results in the greatest reduction of clinical symptoms and enhancement of quality of life. Specifically, atypical antipsychotics (that decrease the heightened transmission of dopamine and serotonin) together with cognitive-behavioral therapy have been found to be relatively effective in stimulating recovery. One of the newest forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy that has been utilized to improve the quality of life and ability to function in daily life, and to reduce symptomology and self-stigmatizing beliefs in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, coined “self-stigma reduction cognitive-behavioral therapy” enhances the therapeutic benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy by mitigating the negative psychological effects of stigmatization, primarily lowered self-esteem, self-efficacy, and treatment adherence. Thus, I am proposing a research design in which antipsychotics, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and self-stigma reduction cognitive behavioral therapy will be compared on their effectiveness in improving and reducing the previously mentioned indicators of clinical recovery from schizophrenia.

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