What is schizophrenia disorder?
Many centuries before the advancement in the field of psychiatry, all mental conditions were similarly misunderstood, misrepresented and harshly dealt with. Those afflicted with it were considered insane or even demon-possessed.
Today, instead of being feared, exiled, or imprisoned, schizophrenics can now lead normal lives. That is only possible because psychiatry provided answers to the question, “What is schizophrenia?”
What is schizophrenia disorder?
Schizophrenia has several similar definitions that underscore the main points. It is a long-term mental health condition that manifests itself through various psychological disorders. These disorders affect the way schizophrenics act, think and feel. In other words, the condition is an amalgam of thought disorders, affective disorders and behavioral disorders.
Often, psychiatrists view schizophrenia as a psycho-social disorder because it leads to problems with managing emotions and socializing. Psychosis is a major symptom of schizophrenia that helps to define it. Schizophrenics are unable to distinguish between reality and fiction; in other words, they lose contact with reality.
What is schizophrenia? Debunking the myths
The first major misconception about what is schizophrenia disorder is that it involves a split or dual personality. The genesis of this myth is the word “schizophrenia” itself. It is derived from the Greek roots schizo (split) and phrene (mind).
The reality is that a schizophrenic does not have a split personality or mind, but a brain that is occasionally susceptible to dysfunction. That sometimes gives the appearance of a split personality as an otherwise rational person could suddenly become irrational and paranoid.
Books on schizophrenia
The second falsehood is that schizophrenics are inherently dangerous and violent. While studies have established a clear link between instances of violence and schizophrenia, this usually happens without treatment and is typically exaggerated, particularly by the media.
The condition manifests itself in non-violent ways as well, such as paranoia, irrational beliefs, hallucinations, inability to concentrate and inappropriate emotional responses.
The other falsehoods about what is schizophrenia are that it is rare, and untreatable. Those are actually half-truths. Schizophrenia disorder is the most frequently diagnosed mental health condition in psychiatric hospitals, making it more common that depression.
In addition, it can be properly managed by a combination of medication and psychosocial support therapies on a continual basis. With early diagnosis and proper long-term treatment, schizophrenics can lead well-adjusted and successful lives.
Onset of schizophrenia
Young persons are more prone to schizophrenia disorder, with the majority of those afflicted being in their late teens or early adulthood. The condition affects men earlier and more severely than it affects women on average. In isolated cases, it develops at the extremes of the life span – either in childhood or middle-age.
Scientists are exploring the schizophrenia’s genetic link, and observing the brain structure of affected persons, to increase the understanding of what is schizophrenia with a view to improving the treatment of it. Schizophrenia disorder has certainly come a long way from being considered a form of madness or demonic possession.