Suspecting that you or a loved one might be struggling with Schizophrenia can be worrying. What should you do? Who should you tell or turn to for help? It can be very frightening and confusing, especially when you’re not sure what to do.
Schizophrenia is not as common as people might think. In fact, it only affects at least 1.1 per cent of the entire global population. In America, it affects 3.5 million people at least. It affects how a person operates and interacts with the society at large, and can even lead to suicide.
Hence, seeking diagnosis and treatment for it in its early stages is crucial. To help you find out more on Schizophrenia, we’ve outlined a few facts that might be helpful.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that affects how an individual interprets reality. In fact, individuals with the disorder find it difficult to tell the difference between reality and what is not real. They are unable to process their emotions, think clearly and relate to others normally. As a result, they are unable to act normally and even operate normally within society.
What Are The Symptoms?
There are a lot of misconceptions about the mental disorder and it is sometimes confused with split personality or multiple-personality. However, they are not the same. Additionally, not all affected people are violent.
This is where the importance of learning the symptoms and signs comes in. Hence, if you suspect that you or a loved is suffering from the condition, below are the signs to look for:
- Negative symptoms: The individual usually struggles with initiating and maintaining activities or plans. They are also unable to speak or express how they feel as well as find pleasure in anything.
- Disorganization symptoms: Behavior, way of thinking and even speech seems to be disorganized.
- Positive psychotic symptoms: This is where the individual experiences delusions, hallucinations and distortions of reality. Hallucinations can include hearing voices, while delusions can be of persecution. Some even have delusions that they are famous individuals or an alien is trying to control their thought process.
- Impaired cognition: This is where the person’s mental capabilities decrease. From paying attention and remembering things to making a decision, individuals often struggle mentally.
Are The Symptoms Different In Children And Teenagers?
The early signs to look for in children include:
- They experience a delay in learning how to walk
- There’s a notable slow development in language skills
- Motor skills seem disrupted
- Behavior seems off
For teenagers, look for the following:
- Highly irritable
- Tend to abuse drugs and alcohol
- Have low to no motivation to do anything
- Tends to isolate themselves from people
- Poor academic performance
- Struggles with depression
- Has unhealthy sleeping patterns
- Has unhealthy relationships
- Poor personal hygiene
- Expressionless gaze
- Uses words strangely or makes statements that do not make sense
What Causes Schizophrenia?
Research hasn’t been able to point out what exactly causes the development of this mental disorder. However, they do concur that it can result as a result of factors. They include:
- Brain function and chemistry
Are You At Risk Of Developing It?
There are certain factors that can increase the risk of developing schizophrenia. They include:
- Family history with schizophrenia
- Taking drugs during the teen or young adult years that alter the mind
- Pregnancy complications that can expose the child to certain toxins and viruses
- Childhood malnutrition
- A malfunction of the immune system
It should be noted that anyone, male or female can develop the condition. Some develop it in their childhood, while others develop it during their late teenage years or adult years.
What Are The Complications Of The Disorder?
This is a condition that doesn’t go away by simply ignoring it. If you choose to do so, you will have to deal with a myriad of complications such as:
The development of other disorders such as Anxiety Disorders. There are times that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are known to occur as well.
- Unable to perform well in school
- Unable to attend and perform at work
- Tendencies to isolate themselves from social situations
- Violent behavior may occur. Please note that this is not a common occurrence
- Serious financial issues
- A tendency to abuse drugs or alcohol
- May get victimized
- Suicidal tendencies and thoughts
Can It Be Prevented?
So far, there is no known way or method to prevent the development of Schizophrenia. However, the condition is treatable.
What Are The Treatment Options For Schizophrenia?
To be honest, there is no known cure for chronic disorder. However, research has helped discover a number of effective treatments. They include:
Therapy: People suffering from Schizophrenia have been found to benefit from various therapies. A combination of a number of therapies increases effectiveness. They include Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), coordinated specialty care (CSC), Social skills training and cognitive enhancement therapy (CET). Family therapy is also included.
Medication: The medications administered during treatment are usually geared to achieving the following:
- Regain proper functioning of the brain
- Balance out brain chemicals
- Reduce hallucinations
- Improve cognitive function
- Reduce nervousness
- Normalize and balance the person’s mood and behavior
Normally, the medications given to patients include Risperidone, Olanzapine, Clozapine, Quetiapine and Haloperidol. It is important that patients stick to the treatment plan to the end to experience results.