What is Schizophrenia
What is Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that affects an estimated 20 million people worldwide. It is a chronic condition that can cause significant distress to the individual and their loved ones.
Schizophrenia is a complex disorder that can affect multiple aspects of an individual’s life, including their thoughts, emotions, and behaviour. The condition is characterised by a combination of positive and negative symptoms.
Positive Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Positive symptoms refer to the presence of symptoms that are not typically present in healthy individuals. Some of the positive symptoms of schizophrenia include:
Delusions: False beliefs that are not based on reality. Individuals with schizophrenia may believe that they are being followed or that someone is controlling their thoughts.
Hallucinations: Sensory experiences that are not based on reality. Individuals with schizophrenia may hear voices or see things that are not there.
Disorganised thinking and speech: Individuals with schizophrenia may have difficulty organising their thoughts and communicating effectively.
Abnormal movements: Individuals with schizophrenia may exhibit repetitive movements or abnormal postures.
Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Negative symptoms refer to the absence of normal behaviours or emotions. Some of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia include:
Flat affect: A lack of emotional expression or responsiveness.
Avolition: A lack of motivation or drive.
Anhedonia: An inability to experience pleasure or enjoyment.
Social withdrawal: A tendency to avoid social interactions.
Causes of Schizophrenia
The exact causes of schizophrenia are not fully understood, but research suggests that a combination of genetic, environmental, and brain chemistry factors may contribute to the development of the condition.
Genetic factors: Research suggests that there is a genetic component to schizophrenia. Individuals with a family history of the disorder are at an increased risk of developing the condition.
Environmental factors: Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as prenatal exposure to infections or complications during birth, may increase the risk of developing schizophrenia.
Brain chemistry: Imbalances in neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and glutamate, may contribute to the development of schizophrenia.
Treatment for Schizophrenia
Treatment for schizophrenia typically involves a combination of medication and therapy. Antipsychotic medications can help alleviate positive symptoms, while cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and other forms of psychotherapy can help individuals learn coping skills and strategies to manage symptoms.
Support groups and peer counselling can also be helpful in maintaining recovery. Individuals with schizophrenia may require ongoing treatment to manage their symptoms and maintain their mental health.
Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that can cause significant distress to the individual and their loved ones. The condition is characterised by a combination of positive and negative symptoms, and its exact causes are not fully understood. Treatment for schizophrenia typically involves a combination of medication and therapy, and ongoing support may be necessary to manage symptoms and maintain mental health. It is important to seek professional help if you or someone you know is struggling with schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder which affects thinking, feeling and behaviour. It is most likely to start between the ages of 15 to 35 and will affect about 1 in every 100 people during their lifetime. Although the word ‘schizophrenia’ is often associated with violence in the media, this is the exception rather than the rule. Hospital admission is often not needed and many people with schizophrenia live a stable life, work, and have relationships.
Schizophrenia can be caused by a combination of different factors. These include genes, subtle brain damage at birth or viral infections during pregnancy and childhood abuse. Street drugs (ecstasy, LSD, amphetamines and crack) can probably trigger it, particularly in teenagers using cannabis. Stressful events and family tensions make it worse. The symptoms of schizophrenia can be classified into positive and negative criteria. These are: “Positive” symptoms include: Hallucinations – hearing, smelling, feeling or seeing something that isn’t there. Hearing voices is the most common problem.
These can seem utterly real. Although they can be pleasant, they are more often rude, critical, abusive or annoying. Delusions – believing something completely even though others find your ideas strange and can’t work out how you’ve come to believe them.
Difficulty thinking – you find it hard to concentrate and tend to drift from one idea to another. Other people can find it hard to understand you.
Feeling controlled – you may feel that your thoughts are vanishing, or that they are not your own, or that your body is being taken over and controlled by someone else. “Negative” symptoms include: Loss of interest, energy and emotions.
You may not bother to get up or go out of the house. Plus you don’t get round to routine jobs like washing, tidying, or looking after your clothes. You may feel uncomfortable with other people. Some people hear voices without negative symptoms. Others have delusions but few other problems. If someone has only muddled thinking and negative symptoms, the problem may not be recognised for years.
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