Everything You Need To Know About Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that causes people with this disorder to experience hallucination or delusions. It is estimated that 1% of Americans suffer from Schizophrenia. A common misconception about schizophrenia is that it is the same as multiple personality disorder. However, that is not the case. 

Schizophrenia can affect men and women of all ages. Men often display symptoms in their late teens or early 20s while women develop symptoms in their late 20s or early 30s. Schizophrenia can be disabling without proper care. Therefore, we’ve put together a complete guide to schizophrenia that should tell you everything you need to know.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Early symptoms

Symptoms of schizophrenia may first develop when a person is in their late teens or early 20s. At this stage, these symptoms are often overlooked due to adolescent behaviours. Some of the early symptoms of schizophrenia include:

  • Sleep problems
  • Constant irritability and agitation
  • Social isolation
  • Difficulty in maintaining focus and concentration
  • Poor academic performance

Positive Symptoms

Positive Symptoms of schizophrenia are symptoms that clearly indicate a person has this disorder. Some of the positive symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Catatonia or Movement disorders
  • Thought disorders

People with schizophrenia may also have disorganized thoughts, lack of emotion, and difficulty in experiencing pleasure.

Causes of Schizophrenia

While the exact cause of schizophrenia cannot be determined, medical researchers and scientists have attributed schizophrenia to several factors such as biology, genes, and environmental setting.

Recent studies have indicated that chemical abnormalities in the brain is responsible for several symptoms seen in schizophrenic patients.

Scientists also believe that low levels of brain chemicals such as dopamine and glutamine can also result in the development of this disorder. There could be structural differences in the brain that could also result in schizophrenia such as loss of nerve cells that results in larger fluid-filled cavities or ventricles in the brain.

People with family history of schizophrenia are also at high risk of developing this  psychiatric disorder.

Schizophrenia diagnosis

A complete psychiatric evaluation is necessary for your doctor to make a proper diagnosis. You will need to visit a psychiatrist or mental health professional to take your psychiatric exam.

Based on your medical history, psychiatric exam, and family medical history, your doctor may conduct the following:

  • Physical exam
  • Blood test
  • Imaging tests such as MRI scan and CT scan

Based on the results of your tests and your symptoms, your doctor will determine whether you have schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia treatments

There is no cure for schizophrenia. Therefore patients with this disorder will require lifelong treatment to control or reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Possible treatment options include:

  • Antipsychotic medication is the most common treatment option for schizophrenia and can help stop hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis
  • Psychosocial intervention is another treatment option for schizophrenia and can help you cope with stress and your illness
  • Vocational rehabilitation can help you maintain proper skills need to maintain a regular job

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