Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that may occur at any age. It is usually characterized by several positive and negative symptoms, including auditory or visual hallucinations, reduced emotional expressiveness, also known as flat affect, and cognitive changes (Mattila et al., 2014; Peltier, Cosgrove, Ohayagha, Crapanzano, & Jones, 2017). A person with such mental impairment suffers from a wrong perception of the reality that results in confusing emotions, inappropriate behaviors, and unpredictable activities. Ward and Besson (2013) suggest considering mental illness as a condition that may be developed regardless of a person’s age, race, or nationality and has to be discussed from cultural diversity. In this paper, special attention will be paid to schizophrenia among African American men.
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People can cope with such mental illness as schizophrenia in different ways. In the United States, approximately 58 million people are mentally ill, and 8% of this number are African Americans (Ward & Besson, 2013). African Americans are five times more likely to have schizophrenia in comparison to Euro-Americans (Schwartz & Blankenship, 2014). African Americans usually have severe psychotic symptoms regarding the scope and quality of hallucinations (Perlman et al., 2016). Earl et al. (2015) underline that African American males may not report on visual delusions, but suffer from auditory hallucinations. Such differences can be explained by culturally sanctioned beliefs, the level of knowledge, and access to assessment and treatment.
The presentation of the chosen psychotic experience may vary between nations. It is wrong to believe that genetic evidence plays a significant role, and not much literature can be found to discuss this phenomenon in the chosen population (Schwartz & Blankenship, 2014). Black men have severe symptoms and outcomes. Their schizophrenia may end with the growth of disabilities, poor functioning at work, and inappropriate involvement in home management (Ward & Besson, 2013). Such complications may be explained by misdiagnoses or the inability to diagnose in time due to poorly developed symptoms or their similarity to the signs of other mental disorders.
The diagnosis of schizophrenia is a topic of numerous investigations. Many tools and approaches can be used to identify if a person has or has not schizophrenia. The examination of changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as DSM-5 is one of the frequently used diagnostic criteria for this disease (Mattila et al., 2014). To prove this diagnosis, a person should have at least two positive symptoms such as hallucination, delusion, or speech changes during one month or longer. A new C-RDPSS scale is used to identify the severity of symptoms and explain it through different subtypes. For example, a man can suffer from the erotomanic type when a delusion of love with a person occurs. The persecutory type includes delusions that are based on a belief of cheating, spying, or poisoning and the necessity of being protected. Still, despite the quality and quantity of hallucinations among African American men, the diagnosis of schizophrenia should be developed regarding current biases and other factors that may influence the interpretation of psychosis.
In general, the development of schizophrenia in African American men does not differ from its development among other races. The main distinctive feature is how the population understands and treats such behavioral and emotional changes and what can be done to improve human actions. The use of the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for potential patients with schizophrenia is approved by many hospitals and individuals.
Earl, T. R., Fortuna, L. R., Gao, S., Williams, D. R., Neighbors, H., Takeuchi, D., & Alegría, M. (2015). An exploration of how psychotic-like symptoms are experienced, endorsed, and understood from the National Latino and Asian American study and national survey of American life. Ethnicity & Health, 20(3), 273-292. Web.
Mattila, T., Koeter, M., Wohlfarth, T., Storosum, J., van den Brink, W., de Haan, L.,… Denys, D. (2014). Impact of DSM-5 changes on the diagnosis and acute treatment of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 41(3), 637-643. Web.
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Peltier, M. R., Cosgrove, S. J., Ohayagha, K., Crapanzano, K. A., & Jones, G. N. (2017). Do they see dead people? Cultural factors and sensitivity in screening for schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Ethnicity & Health, 22(2), 119-129. Web.
Perlman, G., Kotov, R., Fu, J., Bromet, E. J., Fochtmann, L. J., Medeiros, H.,… Pato, C. N. (2016). Symptoms of psychosis in schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder: A comparison of African Americans and Caucasians in the genomic psychiatry cohort. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 171(4), 546-555. Web.
Schwartz, R. C., & Blankenship, D. M. (2014). Racial disparities in psychotic disorder diagnosis: A review of empirical literature. World Journal of Psychiatry, 4(4), 133-140. Web.
Ward, E. C., & Besson, D. D. (2013). African American men’s beliefs about mental illness, perceptions of stigma, and help-seeking barriers. The Counseling Psychologist, 41(3), 359-391. Web.