A serious mental illness in which a person confuses the real world and the world of the imagination and often behaves in strange and unexpected ways.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling.
People with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment. Early treatment may help get symptoms under control before serious complications develop and may help improve the long-term outlook.
Despite it being one of the most common psychiatric disorders, schizophrenia is usually misunderstood. Here is how it is described and defined:-
Schizophrenia refers to a group of severe, disabling psychiatric disorders marked by withdrawal from reality, illogical thinking, possible delusions and hallucinations, and emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbance.
These disturbances last for at least for six months. The level of functioning in work, interpersonal relationship, and self-care are markedly below the level since the onset of symptoms.
Have difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy. Their speech and behavior may frighten or mystify those around them.
It’s not known what causes schizophrenia, but researchers believe that a combination of genetics, brain chemistry and environment contributes to development of the disorder.
Problems with certain naturally occurring brain chemicals, including neurotransmitters called dopamine and glutamate, may contribute to schizophrenia. Neuroimaging studies show differences in the brain structure and central nervous system of people with schizophrenia. While researchers aren’t certain about the significance of these changes, they indicate that schizophrenia is a brain disease.
Like many diseases, schizophrenia is linked to various factors,
- Precise cause is unknown,
- There is currently no way to predict who will develop the disease,
- Genetic factors. It is believed that multiple genes (strongest evidence points to chromosomes 13 and 6) are involved in predisposition to schizophrenia. Other factors like prenatal infections, perinatal complications, and environmental stressors are also being studied. The manner of transmission of genetic predisposition is not clearly understood,
- Biochemical factors. Involves dopamine (focus of most studies), serotonin, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Excessive dopamine activity is linked to hallucinations, agitation, and delusion. High norepinephrine is linked to positive symptoms of schizophrenia,
- Other factors include structural brainabnormalities (e.g. enlarged ventricles), developmental (e.g. faulty neuronal connections), and other possible causes (e.g. maternal influenza during second trimester of pregnancy, epilepsy of the temporal lobe, head injury, etc.)
Signs and Symptoms ;
Behaviors and functional deficiencies seen in schizophrenia vary widely among patients.Schizophrenia involves a range of problems with thinking (cognition), behavior and emotions. Signs and symptoms may vary, but usually involve delusions, hallucinations or disorganized speech, and reflect an impaired ability to function. Symptoms may include:-
- Extremely disorganized or abnormal motor behavior
- Disorganized thinking (speech)
- Negative symptoms
Symptoms can vary in type and severity over time, with periods of worsening and remission of symptoms. Some symptoms may always be present.
In men, schizophrenia symptoms typically start in the early to mid-20s. In women, symptoms typically begin in the late 20s. It’s uncommon for children to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and rare for those older than age 45.
Left untreated, schizophrenia can result in severe problems that affect every area of life. Complications that schizophrenia may cause or be associated with include:-
- Aggressive behavior, although it’s uncommon,
- Health and medical problems,
- Being victimized,
- Social isolation,
- Suicide, suicide attempts and thoughts of suicide,
- Anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD),
- Financial problems and homelessness,
- Abuse of alcohol or other drugs, including nicotine.
There’s no sure way to prevent schizophrenia, but sticking with the treatment plan can help prevent relapses or worsening of symptoms. In addition, researchers hope that learning more about risk factors for schizophrenia may lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment.
Risk factors –
Although the precise cause of schizophrenia isn’t known, certain factors seem to increase the risk of developing or triggering schizophrenia, including:-
- Some pregnancy and birth complications, such as malnutrition or exposure to toxins or viruses that may impact brain development,
- Taking mind-altering (psychoactive or psychotropic) drugs during teen years and young adulthood,
- Having a family history of schizophrenia.
What is the main cause of schizophrenia?
The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown. Research suggests a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make a person more likely to develop the condition. Some people may be prone to schizophrenia, and a stressful or emotional life event might trigger a psychotic episode.
What is a schizophrenic person?
Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that affects less than one percent of the U.S. population. When schizophrenia is active, symptoms can include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, trouble with thinking and lack of motivation.
What is a schizophrenic person like?
Schizophrenia involves a range of problems with thinking (cognition), behavior and emotions. Signs and symptoms may vary, but usually involve delusions, hallucinations or disorganized speech, and reflect an impaired ability to function.
What are the warning signs of schizophrenia?
The most common early warning signs include:
- Depression, social withdrawal.
- Oversleeping or insomnia; forgetful, unable to concentrate.
- Deterioration of personal hygiene.
- Inability to cry or express joy or inappropriate laughter or crying.
When does schizophrenia start?
In most people with schizophrenia, symptoms generally start in the mid- to late 20s, though it can start later, up to the mid-30s. Schizophrenia is considered early onset when it starts before the age of 18. Onset of schizophrenia in children younger than age 13 is extremely rare.
Can you live a normal life with schizophrenia?
It is possible for individuals with schizophrenia to live a normal life, but only with good treatment. Residential care allows for a focus on treatment in a safe place, while also giving patients tools needed to succeed once out of care.
What does a schizophrenic do all day?
Despite a growing number of EMA studies in schizophrenia, few studies have examined social activity and daily functioning. Previous EMA studies have found that participants with schizophrenia spectrum illness spend more time alone, and when with others, they report less pleasure and greater interest in being alone.
Do schizophrenics sleep alot?
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness and sleep problems are common in patients with schizophrenia. The symptom of EDS in schizophrenia can be attributed to various causes including neurobiological changes, sleep disorders, medication or as a symptom of schizophrenia itself.
What is the first line treatment for schizophrenia?
Antipsychotic medications are the first-line medication treatment for schizophrenia. They have been shown in clinical trials to be effective in treating symptoms and behaviors associated with the disorder. However, antipsychotic medications have significant side effects.
What is the most effective drug for schizophrenia?
Clozapine is the most effective antipsychotic in terms of managing treatment-resistant schizophrenia. This drug is approximately 30% effective in controlling schizophrenic episodes in treatment-resistant patients, compared with a 4% efficacy rate with the combination of chlorpromazine and benztropine.