What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that affects a person’s thoughts, behavior, and feelings. It has some physical and mental symptoms, and it is common among people of ages 16 and 30. Let’s discuss its symptoms.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Symptoms of schizophrenia vary among sufferers, hence it is not easy to do a list of it, as you would find for other conditions. Asides the fact there are symptoms unique to individuals, there are also categories of symptoms. Each symptom, generally speaking, belongs to one of these four categories. Let`s see them.
Categories of Schizophrenia Symptoms
- Positive Symptoms
These entail psychotic symptoms such as hallucination and delusion.
- Negative Symptoms
These are symptoms such as lack of motivation and absence of facial expressions.
- Emotional Symptoms
These are negative emotional reactions which patients express.
- Cognitive Symptoms
These are symptoms that affect the thought process of patients. They may show signs of loss of concentration or similar expressions.
Common Symptoms of Schizophrenia
These symptoms are common to schizophrenics. Each falls in a category already explained.
People who suffer schizophrenia have loads of hallucinations, auditory hallucinations especially they hear different voices.
Having conversations with schizophrenia patients can be tedious. They could illogically switch from one subject matter to another due to thought disorder. It is advisable to be patient with them when this happens.
Schizophrenia patients have issues displaying appropriate emotions, hence they sometimes display emotions that don’t match the situations before them.
People who suffer schizophrenia isolate themselves, sometimes out of paranoia. They just believe that someone wants to hurt them, so they choose to be alone.
Concentration and memory retention can be tasking for schizophrenia patients. This is one of the reasons they have challenges keeping up with their jobs.
People living with schizophrenia think they have special powers, and even see themselves as gods in some cases. It is almost impossible to make them believe anything different.
Ignorance of Condition
As weird as it may sound, a number of schizophrenia patients don’t know they have any mental condition, hence they don’t see any reason for medical attention. It’s difficult to get them to accept treatment.
People living with schizophrenia often lack the motivation to do tasks, even mere routine activities like washing and cooking. This is a reason they are usually dependent on others. Life is never the same for people who live with schizophrenics.
Causes of Schizophrenia
There are a number of factors that contribute to the development of schizophrenia. We’ll discuss some of them briefly.
LSD, marijuana, and cannabis are leading causes of schizophrenia. Some schizophrenics have the condition because they abused certain drugs. Such patients are usually aggressive.
Unemployment, divorce, stressful experiences, anxiety, and a number of other environmental factors trigger schizophrenia.
A family with a history of schizophrenia is likely to have more schizophrenia patients.
Treatment of Schizophrenia
Proper treatment coupled with psychological counseling can treat schizophrenia completely. For some patients, they may just have to deal with some of the symptoms for the rest of their lives. Let’s see some common medications used to treat schizophrenia.
This is an antipsychotic medication that has long-lasting effects on schizophrenics.
- Quetiapine (Seroquel)
Quetiapine manages the symptoms of schizophrenia; it also has side effects such as the development of diabetes and other conditions, however, its risks are relatively low.
- Risperidone (Risperdal)
This is a mild sedative that does not contain harsh effects as antipsychotics do. It also has side effects such as diabetes and weight gain.
- Clozapine (Clozaril)
This is a medication fit for patients who resist treatment. It is ideal for controlling suicide behaviors. It has side effects such as weight gain and diabetes.
- Ziprasidone (Geodon)
Ziprasidone is another effective medication for schizophrenia patients, however, it increases the risk of cardiac arrhythmia.
Olanzapine combats negative symptoms of schizophrenia, however, like other medications, it increases the risk of diabetes.
Debunking Schizophrenia Myths
Myth 1: “Schizophrenics have a split personality.”
Having a split personality is an entirely different condition, unrelated to schizophrenia. What schizophrenics have is a thought disorder. A split personality is also called a Dissociative Identity Disorder or a Multiple Personality Disorder, and it is a rare condition. A likely reason this myth exists is the breakdown (split) between emotions which schizophrenics have. The split here is between reality and delusions. So in actual fact, schizophrenia isn’t about having a split personality; it’s simply a split between emotions.
Myth 2: “Violence is common among individuals with schizophrenia.”
It is not common to find schizophrenia victims who are violent. Some of them are victims of violence; however, they may not be violent. The few who are violent can stop after some counseling and use of some medications. And they start our being aggressive as a result of substance abuse, however, it is not a permanent situation.
Myth 3: “People with schizophrenia aren’t really sick; they’re just lazy.”
Some people don`t believe that schizophrenia actually exists the way medical science presents it; they believe instead that people are just lazy, and choose to bother others with emotional issues. This is not true. Schizophrenia does exist, and the sufferers aren`t necessarily lazy people. In fact, it is unfair to relate to those who suffer it with the mindset that they are lazy. The condition causes a lack of motivation to work and engage in simple tasks in some cases, hence the impression that they are lazy.
Myth 4: “Bad parenting is what causes schizophrenia.”
It was general belief years ago, and some still hold on to it, as represented in some movies, that bad parenting causes schizophrenia. This is not entirely true. While a factor such as parenting may fall under environmental factors that lead to schizophrenia, we wouldn`t say it is entirely as a result of the quality of parenting.
Some Schizophrenia Facts
- The term ‘Schizophrenia’ was coined in 1887 by Dr. Emile Kreplin however, the condition is more ancient.
- The earliest recorded mention of a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia was in an Ancient Egyptian text titled The Book of Hearts.
- Approximately 2.2 million adults in the United States have schizophrenia in each given year.
- Children as young as 12 years or below can suffer schizophrenia; however, such cases are rare.
- People who suffer schizophrenia usually face violation, stigma, and discrimination.
- Schizophrenia has no geographical boundaries; people of any race or social class can suffer it.
- Two schizophrenic people may not have the same symptoms. The condition has different effects on sufferers.
- Schizophrenia is one of the top 10 causes of disability in developed countries worldwide.
- The risk of suicide is high with people suffering schizophrenia.
- Studies show that 25% of all schizophrenics recover completely after proper treatment.
- Nobel Laureate, John Nash, was Schizophrenic.
- There is only about 10% possibility that a schizophrenic parent will have a schizophrenic child.
- Some schizophrenics are deluded enough to think of themselves as gods.
- It is common to find schizophrenics with auditory hallucinations.
- Schizophrenics who have issues with substance abuse are likely to be violent.
- Schizophrenics find it difficult to maintain cordial relationships with people.
Now That You Know…
We have discussed a number of issues surrounding schizophrenia. This makes it easier to identify it and relate with people who suffer it. Mental health issues are quite sensitive, hence the need to deal with them appropriately.