Schizophrenia Mental Disorder

Mental Health Awareness Month|Schizophrenia: What It Is, Symptoms,Causes, Prevention

Overview

Schizophrenia is a critical disorder affecting individuals’ actions, the way of thinking, and their feelings. Schizophrenia severely affects the patients’ performances where they experience difficulties in distinguishing what is real and imaginary; they have problems when expressing normal feelings in social circumstances and at times may be withdrawn or unresponsive to a situation. Schizophrenia occasionally results in delusions, disordered thinking, hallucinations, and behaviors affecting your daily functioning. It is a chronic condition that calls for enduring treatment.

Symptoms

Schizophrenia has a wide range of symptoms that range from cognition, behavioral and emotional symptoms. When the signs and symptoms may vary, they are marked by hallucinations, delusions, failed speech coordination and impaired capability to function.

Before a person develops the advanced symptoms, they may show or experience signs of;

  • difficulties in concentrating
  • loss of motivation
  • anxiousness
  • loss of focus
  • out of sorts

They include;

1. Hallucinations

This is one of the common symptoms. May include hearing voices, though in some cases it affects all senses; feel, touch, see, taste, or even smell things that are not there at that moment.

2. Delusions

An individual with delusions strongly believes that something is true when there is no evidence supporting it. For example, a person may believe that;

  • another person is pursuing them
  • that they are very important than other people
  • they possess extraordinary abilities or powers
  • another person is trying to control them remotely

3. Confused Thinking and Uncoordinated Speech

They tend to jump from one story to another without completion making it hard for you to follow up what they are trying to say.

Other symptoms

Emotional expressions: where someone may respond in a totally different emotion, i.e., a happy emotion for a sad situation

Social life: being withdrawn out of fear

Communication: difficulties while communicating with others

Motivation: one may end up neglecting daily activities such as self-care, school, or work. They may also experience catatonia.

Causes

Though the cause of the disease is unclear, most people associate it with genetic factors trending down the family tree, brain chemistry such as imbalances of neurotransmitters, immune disorders, and viral infections, or a combination of a number of these factors.

Neuroimaging research has shown a difference in the central nervous system and brain structures among the schizophrenic individuals, thus indicating it is a disease of the brain.

Schizophrenia Risk Factors

  • Genetic heredity where some individuals inherit the tendency of developing the disorder from their parents or very close relatives. Individuals with close relatives who are Schizophrenic or a history of other mental disorders have a higher chance of acquiring the same.
  • Faulty brain circuits responsible for the control and manage moods as well as thinking
  • Immune system disorders such as infections from viruses. For instance, kids from mothers infected by flu during their pregnancies have a high risk to schizophrenia
  • Environmental stress. These are factors such as malnutrition before birth, psychosocial factors, trauma during birth, and viral infections.
  • Imbalances in brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine as well as glutamate. They are responsible for affecting the way an individual responds to stimuli.
  • Use of certain drugs and medications. Past studies have proven that abuse of drugs such as cannabis can trigger schizophrenic symptoms. However, schizophrenic individuals stand at higher chances of abusing cannabis.

Schizophrenia Complications

If unattended, schizophrenia may result in the effects of all areas in your life. Complications include;

  • Depression
  • Social isolation
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts and self-harm
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Being victimized
  • Health issues and medical problems
  • In a few cases, aggression
  • Alcohol and substance use disorders

Prevention

There are no established methods of preventing schizophrenia, however, sticking to your medication helps to manage symptoms and prevent relapse or development of other mental health disorders.

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