What do you think Schizophrenia is ?
I was wondering what is the average knowledge of the term. What does it mean to you?
A person diagnosed with schizophrenia may experience hallucinations (most reported are hearing voices), delusions (often bizarre or persecutory in nature), and disorganized thinking and speech. The latter may range from loss of train of thought, to sentences only loosely connected in meaning, to incoherence known as word salad in severe cases. Social withdrawal, sloppiness of dress and hygiene, and loss of motivation and judgment are all common in schizophrenia.
It means a splitting away from reality, often characterized by delusions and hallucinations--and is a severe disruption in the chemistry of the brain--organic in nature and very unfortunate. The paranoid element makes it hard to keep sufferers medicated because they become convinced some outside influence is trying to control them thru meds, or other means.
Schizophrenia is actually an 'umbrella' term under which many serious mental health disorders are placed. It can be quite a confusing area of different conditions causing similar symptoms. What I can say is that schizophrenia is not a split personality. People who suffer from this illness don't have two distinct sides to them. It's a personality disorder illness that unless well controlled leads to the person being unable to function well enough to look after themselves physically, socially or mentally. Thought disorder, hallucinations and paranoia can be symptoms, but this area of mental health is very complex and needs proper diagnosis by the psychiatric services. It is also an illness that is not only devastating for the sufferer but for their families as well.
As a mental health therapist, I have to disagree that schizophrenia is an umbrella for many serious mental health diagnses. This may be the case in error. According to our diagnositic manual, schizophrenia has many types, like paranoid type, disorganized type, and catatonic type. Characteristic symptoms include things like delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, or flat affect (basically no emotion). There is evident impairment in functioning in many areas including social, work, or self care.
I often see patients with paranoia. Many people who present for treatment for schizophrenia think they are being controlled. They think they are being watched or people are talking about them. There are commonly auditory or visual hallucinations. Many believe they are being told to do things, but visual hallucinations often involve seeing things in their periphery.
Age of onset is typically in late teens and early twenties, but people who will eventually receive this diagnosis have often shown symptoms before this. Schizophrenia appears to be genetic. Many, many twin studies have been conducted and whether raised together or apart (adopted) it is much more likely for both twins to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than only one regardless of their environment. There are medications that can help control the symptoms of schizophrenia, antipsychotics, like zyprexa, Seroquel, and Risperdal. These medications, when found in the right dose and combination for a particular patient (remember brain chemistry is very different in each person) can lead to a person looking at the world more rationally and often leading a more "normal" life.
Hope this helps!!
Schizophrenia is a specific diagnosis and mental illness based on the presence of a number of symptoms. These can include auditory hallucinations, unstable emotions, disorganized thoughts and speech, and delusions. Schizophrenics are also more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
It is known that the incidence of schizophrenia is strongly linked to a person's genetics, and it is likely that certain environmental cues may play a role, although less is known about those.
It has also been hypothesized that abnormal time perception may play a role in the development of schizophrenia. Scientists have speculated that the disorganized pattern of behavior and speech may stem from misconceptions related to a schizophrenic's ability to determine cause and effect relationships between events in his or her environment.
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