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Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Cure

Schizophrenia is a neurological disorder, Patients with schizophrenia have lost touch with reality.

 

What is Schizophrenia?


Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder in which the person affected interprets reality abnormally. A schizophrenic person may experience a combination of hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling.


While schizophrenia is not curable, it is treatable. And with treatment, most symptoms of schizophrenia can be improved and the likelihood of a recurrence can be diminished.


What Causes Schizophrenia?


The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown. However, studies suggest a combination of genetic, physical, psychological, and environmental factors can increase the risk of developing this condition. Risk factors include:

1. Genetics - Family history or hereditary is one of the most significant risk factors


2. Structural changes in the brain - Changes in both white and gray matter, volume, or size act as a trigger


3. Chemical changes in the brain - A change in the level of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin can increase the risk


4.Childhood trauma - Abuse, violence, and other stressful life events can trigger a psychotic episode


5.Previous drug use - Substance abuse or addiction is another factor that acts as a common risk factor


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6.Pregnancy or birth complications - Recent research shows pregnancy complications can turn on schizophrenia genes



Symptoms of Schizophrenia


Schizophrenia causes problems with thinking, behavior, and emotions. While signs and symptoms may vary from person to person, schizophrenia usually involves hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, and a distorted ability to function. Significant symptoms fall into three major categories:


  • Positive symptoms: These are abnormally present in the patient and include hallucinations, such as hearing voices or seeing things that do not exist, paranoia, and exaggerated or distorted perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors.


  • Negative symptoms: These are abnormally absent in the patient and include loss of focus and functionality, decreased ability to initiate plans, fulfill projects speak, express emotion, or find pleasure.


  • Disorganized symptoms: Confused and disordered thinking and speaking, trouble with rationalizing, bizarre behavior, or abnormal movements.


How does Schizophrenia Affect Your Life?


Schizophrenia affects the way you think, behave, and cope with everyday life. Since it impairs the perception of reality, schizophrenia separates the mind from the real world. You may suffer from powerful hallucinations or delusions that make you lose touch with the reality around you. Your thought processes, and ability to think rationally and act reasonably are also disturbed.


You may lose your ability to concentrate and remember. Some patients find it difficult to focus and finish projects they've started. This can affect your work, career, and other social obligations. Some patients show little or no emotion; often speak infrequently or not at all. This can adversely affect your relationships. A person with schizophrenia can be frustrated, restless, and unhappy.


In some cases, schizophrenic patients can believe that they are in some kind of danger or that others around them are plotting to harm them. These delusions can lead to ranting and raving, antisocial behaviors, high levels of stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions. But remember that the severity of schizophrenia and its symptoms vary from patient to patient. And usually, most people with schizophrenia are not dangerous to others.


Since schizophrenia can affect your personal and professional life and cause other problems like depression, anxiety, and stress, it is crucial to get it treated before the symptoms get worse. Further, meditation and mindfulness can help you stay calm as you learn to cope with schizophrenia affecting your daily life.


How is Schizophrenia Treated?


While there is no cure for schizophrenia, its symptoms can be treated and managed with proper professional help. People with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment that involves a combination of medicine and therapy.


Several antipsychotic medications can effectively reduce psychotic symptoms that occur in an active episode. These medicines can also help reduce the risk and intensity of future acute episodes. Other psychological treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or supportive psychotherapy can reduce symptoms, cope with related stress, enhance functionality and improve social skills.


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People with schizophrenia are at a higher risk of misusing drugs and substance abuse can interfere with and complicate diagnosis and treatment. If a patient shows signs of addiction, treatment for the addiction should be given alongside treatment for schizophrenia.


Most importantly, early detection and treatment can help get symptoms under control before serious complications arise.


How is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?


Clinically, you are diagnosed with schizophrenia if you experience two or more of the five main symptoms, most of the time for a month. These include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized or incoherent speech, unusual movements, and negative symptoms such as a flattening of emotions.


However, we recommend if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is best to seek professional help and not try to self-diagnose or self-medicate.


FAQ


Is schizophrenia hereditary?


No. There is no confirmed proof that schizophrenia is hereditary. However, research suggests that genetics and having a family history of schizophrenia can increase the risk of developing or triggering schizophrenia.


Does schizophrenia mean that you have a split personality?


No. A person with schizophrenia doesn't have two different personalities. Patients with schizophrenia have lost touch with reality. Split personality occurs in patients with multiple personality disorder - an unrelated mental health illness.


Does bad parenting cause schizophrenia?


No. Schizophrenia is a neurological disorder and is not caused to poor parenting. However, childhood trauma such as violence, abuse, and other turmoil can increase the risk of developing or triggering schizophrenia. While a child's home environment or relationships with his/her parents can cause the disorder, they can exacerbate the psychiatric disorder.









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