A dangerous mental illness, schizophrenia is characterized by people’s aberrant interpretations of reality. Hallucinations, delusions, and profoundly disorganized thoughts and behavior are possible manifestations of schizophrenia. These symptoms may be disruptive and limit everyday functioning. People who have schizophrenia need therapy for the rest of their lives. However, early treatment may help keep symptoms at bay before they become serious, and it may also help improve the long-term outlook.
Following is a summarized view of what schizophrenia is and how it affects people.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia, are classified as either a single diagnosis or a range of conditions under psychotic disorders. Psychiatric illnesses, like schizophrenia, are long-lasting and severe mental illnesses that make it hard for a person to think, act, show emotions, understand reality, and get along with others.
Schizophrenia is the most severe and long-lasting of the major mental disorders, even though it is not as common as other major mental disorders. Despite what most people think, schizophrenia is not caused by having more than one personality or having a split personality. Psychosis is a mental disorder in which a person can’t tell what is real and what is made up. It is a sign of schizophrenia.
People suffering from psychotic illnesses might become detached from reality at times. Certain people may seem like a tangle of messy ideas, pictures, and sounds. Their actions and reactions may be unusual, if not downright surprising. It is called a psychotic episode when the person has a sudden change in personality and behavior because they have lost touch with reality.
Symptoms of schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is characterized by various difficulties with thought, conduct, and emotions. Schizophrenia can have different signs and symptoms, but they often include delusions, hallucinations, or slurred speech, and they show that the person is less able to function in daily life.
Symptoms may include any of the following:
- Conduct that is very chaotic or aberrant
It may manifest itself in various ways, ranging from infantile silliness to erratic agitation. In addition, because the behavior isn’t aimed at a specific goal, it is hard to finish tasks. Refusing to do what you’re told, having bad or strange posture, not reacting, and moving too much or not enough are all examples of bad behavior.
Erroneous views that lack evidence include: feeling threatened or harassed, particular gestures and words being addressed to you, having an outstanding skill or celebrity status, being in love with another person, and a catastrophic tragedy about to take place. In addition, the majority of people who have schizophrenia have delusions.
- Disorganized thinking
From the disordered speech, it is possible to infer disorganized thought. Communication can be complex, and answers to questions may be partly or utterly unrelated to what was asked. Rambling is stringing together words and phrases that don’t make sense and are hard to understand.
These are frequently characterized by perceiving or hearing objects that do not exist. However, for someone who has schizophrenia, the experience has the entire intensity and significance of an everyday experience. Hallucinations can feel like either of these, but hearing voices is the most common type of hallucination that people have.
- Negative behavior
It refers to a diminished or non-existent capacity to perform regular functions. For example, the individual may exhibit poor personal cleanliness or seem devoid of feelings. Such people don’t look you in the eyes, they don’t modify their facial expressions, and they talk in monotone. The person may also lose interest in daily tasks, pull away from others, or be unable to enjoy pleasure.
Psychosis has yet to be identified as a specific cause. But schizophrenia, like cancer and diabetes, is an actual disease that can be treated because it has a biological reason. In addition, researchers have discovered some factors that increase someone’s likelihood of developing schizophrenia.
- An anomaly of the brain
People who have schizophrenia have been shown to have aberrant brain structures, according to research. However, this is not true for all people who have schizophrenia. It may influence people who are not afflicted by the condition.
In those whose genes predispose them to develop schizophrenia, infectious diseases, exposure to poisons such as marijuana, and very stressful events may all cause the illness in certain people. Schizophrenia is more likely to show up when the body goes through physical and hormonal changes, like when a person is a teenager or in their early 20s.
Schizophrenia may run in families, which means that there is a higher chance of passing it down from parents to children.
- The chemistry and circuitry of the brain
Neurotransmitters are chemicals in the brain that control how people think and act. People with schizophrenia may have a more challenging time handling these chemicals.
Risk Factors for Schizophrenia
Even though there are no known causes of schizophrenia, researchers have found links between the disorder and several things and conditions.
Several things in your environment might enhance your chance of having schizophrenia. You were born in the winter makes you a little more likely to get the disease. Certain variables influence your brains, such as infection and autoimmune diseases. Your immune system also attacks a part of your body, making you more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. Extreme stress over an extended period may also contribute to its development.
People with a family history of schizophrenia — particularly a close family member who has the disorder — are significantly more likely to get the condition.
- Situations surrounding conception and birth
It is crucial to understand how you formed before being born if you have schizophrenia. For example, if your mother had gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, malnutrition, or a vitamin D deficiency when she was pregnant, you would likely develop schizophrenia. Likewise, if you were born underweight or had problems with your birth, like your mom had to have an emergency cesarean section, your chance of getting diabetes increases.
- Use of illegal drugs for recreation
Researchers have found a link between schizophrenia and some drugs used for fun, mainly when used in large amounts and early in life. However, there is controversy about whether or not marijuana use is a direct cause of schizophrenia or whether it is just a contributing element in the disease process.
Treatment of Schizophrenia
Even while schizophrenia is not curable, it is often treated. People who have schizophrenia may recover entirely in a tiny proportion of instances. However, this is not a cure since there is no way to predict who will have a recurrence of this illness and who will not. Consequently, people who overcome this ailment are considered “in remission,” according to physicians. Schizophrenia is often treated with medication, psychotherapy, and self-management approaches.
Most mental health problems can be helped by psychotherapy alone, but schizophrenia is often treated with medication. Early diagnosis and treatment are very important because they increase the chances of a good outcome. The treatment of schizophrenia and associated disorders usually entails a combination of approaches.
These methods could be done in steps or a mix of stages.
- Electroconvulsive therapy
When certain drugs fail to treat a person’s schizophrenia and are in danger of self-harm or injuring others, doctors may suggest electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). When medicine alone takes too long to work, this procedure may help quickly. When other treatments fail, ECT is sometimes the only option, and it may save lives in suicidal patients.
ECT is rarely used because it has a bad reputation, and the media misrepresents it. An electrical current is administered to your scalp, activating particular brain areas. Short-term stimulation causes a short seizure that may help people with severe depression, anger, and other problems. ECT is done while the patient is asleep and under anesthesia, so the process is not painful.
In times of crisis or severe symptoms, it may be necessary to admit a patient to a hospital to ensure they are safe, get enough food, sleep, and are clean.
Medication is the most crucial part of treating schizophrenia, and antipsychotic drugs are often given. People think they control symptoms by changing how dopamine works in the brain. With antipsychotics, the goal of treatment is to control signs and symptoms as well as possible at the lowest dose possible. Over time, the psychiatrist may try different drugs, quantities, or combinations to get the desired effect.
Antidepressants or drugs that help with anxiety may also be helpful. However, it can take a few weeks for symptoms to get better. In addition, people with schizophrenia may not want to take their medicines because they can have dangerous side effects. Therefore, the choice of a drug may depend on how willing the person is to get better.
For example, a person who doesn’t want to take their medicine every day might need injections instead of pills.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy and other types of psychotherapy can help people with schizophrenia deal with and control their condition. Long-term treatment can also help with anxiety, depression, or drug use associated with schizophrenia. Therapy also helps people stick with their treatments, which is a big deal. As was already said, people with schizophrenia don’t always understand or notice their symptoms, so they don’t think they need help. People with schizophrenia who keep going to therapy are more likely to follow their doctors’ plans and instructions.
Other types of therapy that might help are art therapy and drama therapy, which can help a person get motivated and figure out their symptoms. Healthcare providers may also suggest techniques that help with social skills, setting up routines for self-care, and other things.
Patients who suffer and those who care about them may be terrified by schizophrenia. Despite what most people think, it’s not hard to get better from this disease or live a happy life. It’s necessary to get medical attention if you suspect schizophrenia symptoms.
Mental health specialists or Psychiatrists have specialized expertise in helping patients like you avoid feelings of shame, embarrassment, or discrimination. Do not be afraid to seek help for a loved one showing signs of psychosis or schizophrenia. People with this illness may benefit significantly from early detection and treatment.