Schizophrenia

Destiny Perry

What it is

Schizohrenia is a mental disorder involving the breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and perception. This can lead to faulty perception, withdrawal from reality and relationships, sense of mental fragmentation, etc. It is not multiple personality disorder or split personality.

Warning Signs Include:

  • inability to sleep or concentrate
  • constant feeling of being watched
  • hearing/seeing something that isn't there
  • irrational, angry, or fearful response to loved ones
  • inappropriate or bizarre behavior
  • increasing withdrawal from social situations
  • change in personal hygiene and appearance
  • change in personality
  • feeling indifferent to very important situations

Symptoms

Positive Symptoms ("added" to personality):

  • Delusions: may believe someone is spying on them or other false ideas
  • Hallucinations: seeing, feeling, tasting, hearing, or smelling something that doesn't exist; most common is hearing voices
  • Disordered thinking and speech: moving from one topic to another in a nonsensical fashion; may make up own sounds/words

Negative Symptoms ("lost" from personality):

  • Emotional unresponsiveness
  • Lack of drive or initiative
  • Social Withdraw
  • Extreme apathy

Types of Schizophrenia

  • Catatonic Schizophrenia: withdrawn, mute, negative, often assumes unusual body positions
  • Schizoaffective Disorder: symptoms of both depression and a major mood disorder such as depression
  • Disorganized Schizophrenia: often in coherent in speech and thought, but may not have delusions
  • Residual Schizophrenia: no longer experiencing delusions or hallucinations, but has no motivation or interest in life
  • Paranoid Schizophrenia: feels extremely suspicious, persecuted, or grandiose, or experiences a combination of these emotions

Neurological Effects

Currently, the cause/origin of Schizophrenia, although there seem to be some genetic factors, as it tends to run in families. Another factor may be hormones/a hormonal imbalance. Despite there being little information about how schizophrenia works, it has become clear that individuals with schizophrenia have less brain tissue than the average person. It is also evident that for the first 2 years of the disease brain tissue loss occurs and then mysteriously plateaus. One theory based off of the lesser brain tissue, is that something occurs during early development (such as pregnancy complications or exposure to a virus) that affects people with schizophrenia.

Demographics

Men and women are affected by schizophrenia equally, with men sometimes being diagnosed earlier. One in one hundred people are affected by schizophrenia (about 2.4 million in the U.S., or 1%). Diagnoses typically occurring between the ages of 15 and 35.

Treatment

There is currently no cure for Schizophrenia, however there are some treatments which can allow those with it to lead normal lives, such as:


  • Therapy or Counseling
  • Self-help Groups
  • Drop-in Centers: individuals with mental illness can socialize and/or receive informal support and services as-needed
  • Crisis Services: 24 hour hotlines, after hours counseling, residential placement, and in-patient hospitalization
  • Psychosocial Rehabilitation Programs: help regain skills such as employment, cooking, cleaning, budgeting, shopping, socializing, problem solving, & stress management
  • Antipsychotic Medication

Help & Resources:

National Schizophrenia Foundation

Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America