What is Schizophrenia?

What is Schizophrenia? 
What is Schizophrenia?_ichhori.com

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe mental disorder that affects the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, perceives reality, and interacts with others. Schizophrenia is not as common as other major mental illnesses, but it can be the most chronic and disabling. 
Schizophrenia patients often have difficulty functioning well in society, at work, at school, and in relationships. Perhaps they feel frightened and withdrawn and seem to have lost touch with reality. Despite being lifelong, this disease can be controlled with proper treatment. 
Schizophrenia is not a split or multiple personalities. Schizophrenia involves psychosis, a type of mental illness in which a person is unable to tell what is real and what is imagined. At times, people with psychotic disorders lose touch with reality. Occasionally, it may seem as if the world is a jumble of confusing images, sounds, and thoughts. Their behavior may seem strange and even shocking. Psychotic episodes are characterized by a sudden change in behavior and personality that occurs when a person loses touch with reality.  
Schizophrenia varies in severity from person to person. Some people have only one psychotic episode, while others have many episodes but lead relatively normal lives in between them. Others may have more difficulty functioning over time, with little improvement between psychotic episodes. Symptoms of schizophrenia seem to worsen and improve in cycles known as relapses and remissions. 
What Are the Early Symptoms of Schizophrenia? 
Men usually develop the condition in their late teens or early 20s. Women usually develop the condition in their early 20s and 30s. The prodromal period is the time between the onset of symptoms and full psychosis. It may last for days, weeks, or even years. There is usually no specific cause. In teens, you may only notice subtle behavioral changes. It includes:  
  • · A change in grades 
  • · Social withdrawal 
  • · Trouble concentrating 
  • · Temper flares 
  • · Difficulty sleeping 
Positive Symptoms of Schizophrenia 
Positive doesn't mean good in this case. Added thoughts or actions that aren't grounded in reality. Some examples are: 

  • · Delusions are false, mixed, and sometimes strange beliefs that are not based in reality and that a person refuses to give up, even when proven wrong. Delusional people may believe, for example, that people can hear their thoughts, that they are God or the devil, or that people are putting thoughts into their heads or plotting against them. 
  • · Hallucinations: These involve sensations that aren't real. Hearing voices is the most common hallucination in people with schizophrenia. The voices may comment on the person's behavior, insult them, or give commands. Less common types include seeing things that aren't there, smelling strange odors, having a funny taste in your mouth, and feeling sensations on your skin even though nothing is touching your body. 
  • · Catatonia: This condition causes the person to stop speaking and remain in a single position for a very long time.  
Disorganized Symptoms of Schizophrenia 
Positive symptoms indicate that the person cannot think clearly or respond appropriately. Some examples are: 
  • · Speaking in nonsense words or in sentences that make no sense, makes it difficult for the person to communicate or hold a conversation 
  • · Changing from one thought to the next without obvious or logical connections. 
  • · Moving slowly 
  • · and unable to make decisions 
  • · Excessively writing without meaning 
  • · Losing or forgetting things 
  • · Pacing or walking in circles repeatedly 
  • · Trouble making sense of everyday sights, sounds, and feelings 
What Causes Schizophrenia? 
Schizophrenia has no known cause. As with cancer and diabetes, schizophrenia is a real illness with a biological basis. Researchers have identified several factors that seem to make someone more likely to develop schizophrenia, including: 
  • · Genetics (heredity): Schizophrenia can run in families, which means a greater likelihood to get schizophrenia may be passed on to children from their parents. 
  • · Schizophrenia may affect how certain chemicals in the brain control certain pathways, or "circuits," of nerve cells that affect thinking and behavior. 

  • · Schizophrenia is associated with abnormal brain structure. However, this does not apply to all people with schizophrenia. People without schizophrenia can be affected as well. 
  • · The environment can trigger schizophrenia in people with genes that make them more likely to get the disorder. Viral infections, exposure to toxins like marijuana, and highly stressful situations may trigger the disorder. Schizophrenia is most often triggered by hormonal and physical changes during adolescence and young adulthood. 
Who Gets Schizophrenia? 
Schizophrenia can affect anyone. It affects people around the world, regardless of race or culture. Schizophrenia can appear at any age but is most commonly diagnosed in teens or early twenties. Women and men are affected equally, although symptoms generally appear earlier in men. As soon as the symptoms appear, the illness tends to be more severe. Before adolescence, schizophrenia is rare in children over the age of 5. 
How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed? 
If schizophrenia symptoms are present, the doctor will perform a complete medical history and sometimes a physical examination. Despite the absence of specific laboratory tests for schizophrenia, a physician may use various tests, such as blood tests or brain imaging, to rule out another physical illness or intoxication (substance-induced psychosis) as the cause of the symptoms. 
If the doctor finds no other physical cause for the schizophrenia symptoms, they may refer the individual to a psychiatrist or psychologist, mental health professionals trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interviews and assessment tools to assess a patient for a psychotic disorder. During diagnosis, therapists observe the person's behavior and attitude as well as the person's report of symptoms. 
Schizophrenia is diagnosed if at least two of these symptoms persist for at least six months: 
  • · Delusions 
  • · Hallucinations 
  • · Disorganized speech 
  • · Disorganized or catatonic behavior 
  • · Negative symptoms 
One of the symptoms has to be 
  • · Delusions 
  • · Hallucinations 

  • · Disorganized speech 
To qualify for the 6 months, the person must have active symptoms for one month. The symptoms should negatively affect them socially or at work, and cannot be caused by another condition. 
How Is Schizophrenia Treated? 
In schizophrenia treatment, the goal is to ease the symptoms and reduce the likelihood of a relapse. Examples of schizophrenia treatment include: 
Antipsychotics are the primary medications used to treat schizophrenia. Although these drugs don't cure schizophrenia, they do relieve the most troubling symptoms, including delusions, hallucinations, and thinking difficulties. 
Can Schizophrenia Be Prevented? 
Schizophrenia cannot be prevented. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent or ease frequent relapses and hospitalizations, and cut the disruption to a person's family, friends, and relationships. 


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