What is Schizophrenia | Information about schizophrenia
What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia affects one percent of the population worldwide. It is a brain disease that typically strikes in the late teenage to early adult years, most commonly between the ages of 15 and 25 in men, and 25 to 35 in women. Schizophrenia can affect anyone of any ethnic background in any country. It does not only impact the life of the individual diagnosed with it, but his or her family and friends as well.
Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that interferes with a person’s ability to interpret reality. People with schizophrenia develop a marked change in their thinking, perceptions, and behavior which is seen through a combination of symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, false beliefs, disorganized speech, disorganized behavior, apathy, and social withdrawal. Everyone’s experience of schizophrenia is different: Some experience only one or two symptoms, while others experience many.
Positive and Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia patients experience what are referred to as positive or negative (deficit), or any combination of these two symptoms. Think of these as additives or subtractions to a persons normal day to day processes. These are symptoms of behaviour that are either added to (positve) or taken from (negative) a persons normal personality, processing of reality and behavioural patterns.
Positive Symptoms Of Schizophrenia
Positive symptoms of schizophrenia are things that are added to ones personality and behavioural pattern that should not be there. These are the delusions, illusions, disorderd thoughts and speech and tactile, auditory, visual, olfactory and gustatory hallucinations that one may experience during schizophrenic episodes.
Positive symptoms generally respond well to medication.
Negative (deficit) Symptoms Of Schizophrenia
Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are things that are removed from ones personality and behavioral pattern that should actually be there. These are things such as ambition, emotion, desire to form relationships, motivation, ability to experience pleasure; any lack of the aforementioned normal emotional responses or thought processes are examples of negative / deficit symptoms of schizophrenia.
Negative symptoms do not respond as well to medications as Positive symptoms.
By definition, schizophrenia is only diagnosed if these symptoms last for at least six months and are associated with a significant decline in the person’s ability to care for him or herself, or to function in social and work situations.
What Shchizophrenia is not?
Do not confuse Schizophrenia with Schizoid Personality Disorder. Schizophrenia is not the same as, nor is it related to, split personality disorder.
It is not to be confused with Schizotypal personality disorder, Schizoaffective disorder or Schizophasia.
What Causes Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is believed to occur due to a disturbance in the development of the brain. Scientists suggest that the illness is linked to genetic factors, although symptoms are not displayed until years after genetic factors and underlying developmental changes have been expressed. Schizophrenia is not caused by psychological conflicts, stress, or drug use; however, these factors can be important in precipitating an acute episode of the illness in individuals who are predisposed to developing schizophrenia.
Of the few theories used to help explain this illness, the most widely accepted is the dopamine theory. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that acts as a link to messages being sent to brain receptors. Researchers speculate that either an over-production of dopamine—or over-sensitivity to it—is related to the illness.
Can Schizophrenia be Treated?
Antipsychotic drugs discovered in the 1950s have been proven effective for many of the symptoms of schizophrenia; some people have complete resolution of all their symptoms with the help of medication. Hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions often improve over a number of weeks. Tendencies to be socially withdrawn and apathetic will also improve, but sometimes to a lesser extent than the other symptoms.
No medication is perfect. They can carry long-lasting side effects which sometimes contribute to non-compliance and relapse. Nevertheless, medication is the cornerstone to recovery and allows people with schizophrenia to live productive lives.
In addition to medication, talking therapies are important for those living with schizophrenia.
What Happens to People with Schizophrenia?
Prior to the introduction of antipsychotic medication for schizophrenia, it was presumed that schizophrenia led to a deteriorating course that ultimately ended in chronic hospitalization. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. Roughly 50 percent of people with schizophrenia will see long-term success in recovery. Some will experience a full recovery, while others will have persisting difficulties of a moderate nature.
Statistics show 10 percent of people diagnosed with schizophrenia will commit suicide.
This article was created through research and direct experiences and is intended to provide an introductory amount of detail into what is schizophrenia. There are many excellent resources on the web and some right here on our website that may provide you with further insight into the mental health disorder.