Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder whereby the affected individual loses touch with reality. It is a serious condition that affects a person’s behavior, thoughts, and way of life in general.
People with schizophrenia can experience delusions, hallucinations, abnormal thought patterns, inability to concentrate, or feel motivated to act in odd ways as a result of their condition. This creates significant distress for the person. However, schizophrenia can also be treated.
If left untreated, a person with schizophrenia may find it impossible to live a normal life. Ultimately, the condition can be debilitating. Schizophrenia creates distorted thinking that leads to impaired functioning. It is a lifelong disability, although it can be managed. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, individuals with schizophrenia can have the opportunity to live a normal life.
What Causes Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a brain disease. Its exact causes aren’t known, however, it is thought that a complex interplay of genetic factors, environmental factors, and brain abnormalities.
Genetics can play a role in the development of schizophrenia just like most mental health disorders, but it is not necessarily the case for all. Many people with schizophrenia are not genetically linked to anyone with the same condition, and families with historical traces of the condition do not always develop the disease.
A person who is genetically linked to someone with schizophrenia can be at a higher risk and may have the potential to acquire the disorder if they are exposed to potential stressors.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia may vary, but it mainly involves problems with cognition, thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Here are some symptoms typically associated with schizophrenia:
An individual having hallucinations can either see things, hear sounds, taste, or feel things, but only they can experience them. They will feel very real.
Delusions refer to certain beliefs a person can have that have no factual basis. People with schizophrenia can firmly believe in certain things, such as that someone is trying to kill them, or a person is deeply in love with them, or a major disaster is going to happen and people need to act fast, or that they are famous or have amazing abilities to do a particular thing. This is why they are seen by others as being delusional.
Lack of Interest or Motivation
People with schizophrenia do not act normally and this shows in how they often neglect personal hygiene or respond to triggers in odd ways. They can lack motivation or interest in anything and are prone to withdraw from others.
Incoherent Thoughts and Speech
Incoherent speech often results from disorganized and fragmented thoughts. This is typical amongst individuals suffering from schizophrenia. Their impaired cognition disables them from thinking straight or clearly. Their ability to concentrate is greatly diminished. As a result, it can be very difficult to follow their train of thought. They can mix things up and get things out of order.
People with schizophrenia may resist doing certain things or lack a normal reaction or response to whatever is being said to them. They can do things excessively, in ways that are not at all necessary, which causes other people to wonder what they are doing, and why.
How to Treat Schizophrenia
Getting treatment is necessary for anyone with schizophrenia. In some cases, a person with schizophrenia may develop negative thoughts, which could lead to not only irrational behavior but may also cause them serious physical harm or death, if their extreme thoughts lead to suicide.
People who are suffering from schizophrenia usually have very reduced awareness of the abnormality of their symptoms, nor are they aware that these signs may indicate a mental illness. Close family or concerned friends can and should encourage a person displaying the stated behaviors to seek help.
An essential step is obtaining a professional diagnosis of their condition. People who are diagnosed with schizophrenia have opportunities to live life normally, with appropriate treatment and management.
Knowing someone who may be suffering from schizophrenia is not easy, but if you can lead them to help, that is a huge step in the right direction. Understandably, this is not an easy task to do, but this condition needs to be properly managed with the right treatment and intervention.