Schizophrenia may not be a common mental illness, but it may be something you have heard about. It has been covered in many magazines, news, health channels and even movies such as Karthik Calling Karthik, Shutter Island, A Beautiful Mind and so on. 

Regardless of what pop culture has depicted, Schizophrenia is more than meets the eye. Mental health issues, such as Schizophrenia demand more attention and care that we usually give. It may not be a disease, but it demands care and knowledge.  This blog will let you know more about the mental health issue. Keep reading.

What is Schizophrenia? 

Schizophrenia is a chronic lifelong mental illness that can be extremely disruptive to a person’s life. A person may be unable to discern their own thoughts and ideas from reality at times. It can have an impact on a person’s speech, thoughts, emotions, social interactions, and other daily activities. Additionally, it can also have a profound impact on the lives of those who live around the patients.

It involves a variety of psychiatric symptoms, including:

  • Hallucinations – hearing or seeing things that do not exist
  • Delusions – strange views that are not based on reality and frequently contradict facts
  • Jumbled thoughts
  • Disorganised speech that is hard for others to interpret and understand
  • Behavioural modifications
  • Absence of facial expression
  • Emotional flatness
  • Lack of motivation  
  • Trouble concentrating.

Doctors sometimes refer to schizophrenia as a psychotic illness. Many people suffering from schizophrenia are unaware that they are ill. Hallucinations and delusions might appear to be extremely genuine to the person experiencing them. This can make convincing the individual to seek therapy or take medication difficult. They may be concerned about the adverse effects or worry that the medication may hurt them.

Understanding the symptoms of Schizophrenia

The most evident symptoms of schizophrenia are changes in thinking and behaviour, although people might experience symptoms in a variety of ways.

The symptoms of schizophrenia are typically classed as either positive or negative.

  • Positive symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, show a shift in behaviour or thoughts.
  • Negative symptoms involve signs of withdrawal or a lack of function that you would expect to observe in a healthy individual; for example, people with schizophrenia may appear emotionless, flat, and apathetic.

The disease may manifest gradually. The early symptoms of schizophrenia, such as becoming socially aloof and unresponsive or having changes in sleeping habits, might be difficult to detect. This is because the earliest symptoms frequently appear during adolescence, and alterations can be misinterpreted as an adolescent “phase.”

People frequently endure bouts of schizophrenia in which their symptoms are very strong, followed by times in which they have few or no positive symptoms. This is referred to as acute schizophrenia.

Understanding the causes of Schizophrenia

Although the specific origins of schizophrenia are unknown, research indicates that a mix of physical, genetic, psychological, and environmental variables can increase the likelihood of developing the disorder.

According to current understanding, certain people are predisposed to schizophrenia, and a stressful or emotional life experience may precipitate a psychotic episode. It is unknown, however, why some people develop symptoms while others do not.

Understanding the triggers of Schizophrenia

Triggers are factors that can cause a psychotic episode in people who are at risk.

These include:

Stressful events in life, such as a bereavement, a divorce, losing your job or home, the end of a relationship, or physical, sexual, emotional or racial abuse.

Drug abuse: 

Certain drugs, particularly cannabis, cocaine, LSD or amphetamines, can lead to psychosis and can cause a relapse in people recovering from an earlier episode.

Understanding the diagnosis of Schizophrenia

There is no test to diagnose schizophrenia. The difficulty in diagnosing this illness is exacerbated by the fact that many persons who are diagnosed do not feel they are suffering from it. Lack of consciousness is a typical characteristic of schizophrenia that substantially complicates therapy.

A doctor will make a diagnosis based on how the patient behaves. They will also inquire about their medical and mental health histories.

However, they may suggest some tests to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms, such as a tumour, brain injury, or another mental health problem, such as bipolar disorder.

Closing thoughts

Schizophrenia is a long-term disorder that can have a significant impact on a person’s capacity to function.

However, with consistent treatment—a combination of therapy, medication, and social support—people with schizophrenia can overcome the challenges and lead fulfilling lives.

Anyone who cares for someone suffering from schizophrenia can help by learning how to recognise the onset of an episode, encouraging the individual to stick to their treatment plan, and supporting them with compassion and empathy. 

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