Schizophrenia is a ongoing severe disturbance of mental function that affects approximately 21 million people all over the world.
It usually manifests between 16 and 30 years old, starting a bit earlier in men than in women.
Though schizophrenia is not such a common condition, it can significantly impair your quality of life and even lead to disability.
Like in many other diseases, exact causes of schizophrenia are still not completely understood. Researchers claim that the reason is about combination of genetic changes, imbalance in brain chemicals and environmental factors, like taking illicit drugs, psychosocial problems and prenatal infection.
Some individuals with this mental disorder have clear classic symptomatic, while others look like healthy people, before schizophrenia reaches advanced stage.
Sometimes symptoms can come in relapses (phase of worsening), changed by remissions.
Schizophrenia may have various manifestations in different people. Medical professional subdivide them into several categories:
#1. Positive symptoms – no, it doesn't mean that they're good for person. In fact, a word “positive” describes psychotic symptoms, which are not seen in healthy individuals as usual. They include hallucinations (hearing or seeing non-existing things), delusions (false beliefs, like thinking that people constantly whisper behind your back), disorganized thoughts and speech.
#2. Negative symptoms – it's normal for all people to feel upset and apathetic once in a while. The problem is, if absence of emotions, loss of interest and trouble taking part in any activities become your daily routine.
#3. Cognitive problems – it may become catastrophically hard to understand some information, to concentrate, remember things and use knowledges to make logical decisions.
#4. Causeless mood changes – people with schizophrenia may look completely happy or dramatically depressed without any reason. It's not uncommon for them to have suicidal thoughts and to make suicide attempts.
Once you've suspected schizophrenia in your beloved one, it's worth making an appointment with healthcare specialist.
After thorough examination doctor may prescribe special antipsychotic medication (aripiprazole, clozapine, risperidone and others) and recommend psychosocial interventions, such as family therapy, vocational rehabilitation etc. If medicines and social correction aren't able to improve schizophrenia, electroconvulsive therapy may be a good option.
During relapses, when symptoms are extremely severe, hospitalization may be needed to provide safety and intensive treatment.
It's really important to take care of a person with schizophrenia, getting him or her appropriate treatment, staying supportive and keeping contact with medical professional.
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