Schizophrenia is a long term mental disorder characterized by an abnormal incoherent perception of reality. Victims of this chronic illness often suffer through a combination of positive and negative symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disjointed thinking and behaviors that can be disabling to even simple daily tasks. People agonized by this chronic illness require life-long treatment which will only aid their situation but not cure it.
Cause of illness
The term schizophrenia can be loosely rendered to specify the presence of a split mind, however, people frequently misinterpret the illness and suppose individuals with schizophrenia possess two or more personalities, anyhow, this is not the case.
Instead, this term alludes to the way individuals with Schizophrenia comprehend the world. In this manner, the world plays one way in their mind but another way that transcribes the situation occurring around them (Piotrowski, Tischauser, 2019). Causes of this disease can begin in one’s genes, as these are factors that increase the odds of one developing schizophrenia.
Another seemingly harmless cause is genetic alterations in the environment because these may interfere with one’s development during infancy and can range anywhere from exchange with things such as being exposed to certain viral infections before you were born, or the levels of your mother’s emotional stress during pregnancy. Similarly, studies show how the consumption of certain mind-altering drugs such as psychotropic drugs can make you more susceptible to developing schizophrenia, the earlier the introduction to these drugs in your pre-teen years, and the more recurrent your intake, the more likely you are to develop symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions (Goldberg, 2018).
Signs and Symptoms
Schizophrenia may evolve during contrasting time frames in people, but, generally, this disease starts to mature during late adolescence. This insight explains why men typically undergo signs of schizophrenia in their late or early twenties, earlier than most women. In women, glimpses of symptoms may not come into play until their mid-twenties, and even then are not evident until age thirty (Piotrowski, Tischauser, 2019). Multiple factors have been identified predict a greater likelihood of individuals that will develop a psychotic disorder: genetic risk, recent deterioration in functioning, high levels of unusual thought content, high levels of suspicion or paranoia, poor social functioning, and a history of substance abuse (OpenStax, 2019). Since most of the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are so complex to understand, the illness was subdivided into two categories, positive and negative (Andreasen, 1995).
The ‘psychotic symptoms’, includes a break in the perception of reality, hallucinations, and delusions (Piotrowski, Tischauser, 2019). This set of symptoms fall into the category of positive symptoms because they are behaviors that usually go undetected. Negative symptoms are readily observed and entail a decrease in normal functions. These functions include a withdrawal from society, an inability to show emotion, or an insufficiency to feel pleasure or pain (Piotrowski, Tischauser, 2019). Negative symptoms are highly prevalent in individuals with schizophrenia typically emerging long before the onset of psychosis and they often live throughout the illness (Da Silva, S., Saperia, S., Remington, G., & Foussias, G, 2019). Other symptoms often detected in schizophrenia are disconnected speech patterns and excessive body movements. Victims of this disease are also known to suffer through states of extreme anger and hostility(Piotrowski, Tischauser, 2019).
Treatment and Therapy
Antipsychotic drugs can be used to treat positive and negative symptoms in schizophrenia. The way these medications work is by blocking the production of surplus dopamine leading to positive symptoms. Apart from this, these drugs also perform by stimulating the production of the neurotransmitter to reduce the negative symptoms a patient may be facing (Andreasen, 1995). The most dire consequence of using such drugs are the side effects they may project. Tardive dyskinesia is a condition that may emerge after many years of use and it is characterized by an involuntary movement of the muscles, continual lip-smacking, face gestures, and a constant rocking back and forth of the body (Piotrowski, Tischauser, 2019). Beyond pharmacological interventions, psychosocial strategies have also proven to be effective and are now used as a therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy interventions target negative symptoms in schizophrenia(Da Silva, S., Saperia, S., Remington, G., & Foussias, G, 2019). Families state great value in family or rehabilitation therapy aiming at helping them learn how to live with and emotionally support mentally ill family members. Family support has also shown to be of great aid to those suffering from this illness as many patients are unable to live alone (Piotrowski, Tischauser, 2019).
In summary, schizophrenia is a devastating illness afflicting about 1% percent of the population worldwide. Its victims often feel as if they have lost their identity and mental capacity, consequently, this is why 10% die by suicide ( Andreasen, 1995). Schizophrenia can be a hard illness to cope with not only for the carrier but for their family, therefore, it is crucial to detect the early signs and understand the various resources, treatment, and therapy offered to carriers of this illness and their families.
Piotrowski, N. A.. P. D., & Tischauser, L. V. P. D. (2019). Schizophrenia. Magill’s Medical Guide (Online Edition), EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=86196265&site=eds-live.
Andreasen, N. C. (1995). Symptoms, signs, and diagnosis of schizophrenia. Lancet, 346(8973), 477. https://doi-org.db07.linccweb.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(95)91325-4
Da Silva, S., Saperia, S., Remington, G., & Foussias, G. (2019). Negative Symptoms in Schizophrenia: Etiology, Hypotheses, and Treatment Implications. Psychiatric Times, 36(5), 27–29.
OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Oct 2, 2019 http://cnx.org/contents/[email protected].
Goldberg, J. (2018, December 21). Schizophrenia Causes: Why It Happens: Genetics,
Environment, and More. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/what-causes-schizophrenia#2