Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that affects a person’s ability to interpret reality. Individuals with schizophrenia may experience hallucinations, delusions, extremely disordered thinking, and behavior that impairs their daily functioning. With proper treatment, people with schizophrenia can lead productive and fulfilling lives.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel, and behave within societal expectations. Symptoms of schizophrenia include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and impaired ability to function.
People with a schizophrenia diagnosis may also struggle concentrating, experience oscillating motivation, and anxiety around social interactions. The major symptoms include:
- Delusions. Delusions are false beliefs that can be quite misleading. For example, a person with schizophrenia may think their thoughts or actions are being judged by another person when in reality the person is not judging them. They might also believe there’s something wrong with them because of their appearance. These types of thoughts could lead people into dangerous situations if not treated. Delusions increase the risk of both harming others as well making oneself vulnerable to possible harm.
- Hallucinations. Hallucinations are sensory misperceptions. They occur when there is no outside stimulus yet the individual hears or sees things that are not present. Auditory and visual hallucinations are the most common.
- Disordered thinking. Disorganized or disordered thinking can make it difficult for someone to communicate effectively. This is because their speech might be hard to follow and full of meaningless words that are difficult for others to understand. However, individuals with this condition are often still capable of engaging in thoughtful conversations about meaningful topics.
- Disorganized or abnormal motor behavior. This behavior can present differently in individuals and can include silliness to agitated jerks and tics. This behavior makes it difficult to complete tasks.
- Negative symptoms. Negative symptoms refer to a lack of ability to function on the part of an individual. This can manifest in strange movements, not tending to hygiene, or seeming emotionless. When individuals with schizophrenia are not able to handle what is going on socially, they tend to withdraw until the feeling passes.
The symptoms vary from person to person, so it’s essential you take your time when researching them online. Symptoms will vary from person to person and not all sources provide accurate information on how the symptoms present in those with schizophrenia.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), symptoms of schizophrenia typically start in late adolescence or early adulthood. Unfortunately, people with schizophrenia rarely initiate treatment services. It usually falls to family or friends to get the individual with schizophrenia treatment.
Origins of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects millions worldwide. It is thought to be caused by genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental factors, but the exact cause is unknown. Some studies indicate that there is some evidence that schizophrenia may result from problems with neurotransmitters, like dopamine or glutamate.
Some neuroimaging studies have shown differences in the brains of individuals with schizophrenia and individuals who do not have schizoprenia. However, we don’t know for sure what these changes mean because many questions remain unanswered about the disorder.
Although scientists do not know the exact causes of schizophrenia, there are certain risk factors that have been identified that increase the chances of developing or worsening the condition. Some risk factors include:
- A family history of schizophrenia
- Pregnancy and birth complications. These include malnutrition or exposure to dangerous pollutants or poisons that may impact brain development.
- Taking mind-altering (psychoactive or psychotropic) drugs during teen years and young adulthood. This includes antidepressants and antipsychotic medications.
Treatment for schizophrenia focuses on relieving symptoms and helping clients function better in their everyday lives. There is no single test to diagnose schizophrenia, so doctors will often use a combination of medical history, a physical examination, psychological testing, evaluation of risk factors, and brain imaging tests to diagnose. With proper treatment, many people with schizophrenia can lead productive and fulfilling lives.
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental illness that impacts how an individual functions in life. There’s no cure for it, but symptoms can be managed with treatment, including medication and psychotherapy or schizophrenia treatment centers when necessary. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be helpful for working with distorted cognitions, depending upon the presentation of the individual.
Lifestyle changes, such as eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, may help keep people diagnosed with this condition more stable. It is important to get proper nutrition, including eating dark leafy greens and drinking plenty of fresh water. Exercise produces endorphins, which help mitigate negative mood states. Instituting these lifestyle changes is just one way to make a difference in the trajectory of this condition.
Schizophrenia affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. The symptoms of schizophrenia can be divided into positive, negative, and cognitive dimensions. Positive symptoms are abnormal thoughts and behaviors that are not seen in people who do not have schizophrenia. These can include hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking. Negative symptoms are deficits or decreases in normal functioning. This can include problems with motivation, emotion, social skills, and speech. Cognitive symptoms are changes in thinking that can impact memory and executive functioning. Schizophrenia generally starts in young adulthood, but symptoms may begin earlier or later in life. The exact cause is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Treatment for schizophrenia generally includes medication and psychotherapy.