Schizophrenia – Definition, Causes and Treatments

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder manifested by disturbances in thinking, impaired relation to reality, ideas associated with torture and agony, and visual/auditory hallucinations.
In other words:
1) Schizophrenia makes it difficult to think logically.
2) Schizophrenia makes it difficult to socialize normally.
3) Schizophrenia makes it difficult to respond with normal emotions.
4) Schizophrenia makes it difficult to distinguish between reality and hallucination.

Symptoms and Manifestations of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia euqally affects men and women, although it tends to affect men more severely. Usually, this illness first affects people of high school age, although it tends to start after the highschool in women. After that initial occurrence of schizophrenia, it recurs occasionally throughout life especially during periods of emotional stress. Although rare, schizophrenia may start at as early as 5 years of age, but it would be difficult to distinguish from autism at that age.

People with schizophrenia may react differently from other patients. Some may hear voices in their head and think that they have gained special powers or are being tormented by a higher being. Some may think that they are being mindlessly controlled by some puppeteer, following orders or manipulated according to the will of the controller, when in fact there are no puppeteers to begin with. These situations terrify the sufferer and make him/her a loner, sitting alone in a corner for hours without moving or talking, or disconcerted. People with schizophrenia may not make sense when they talk. They may seem perfectly acceptable in their condition but once they begin to talk, then the craziness erupts.

Here is the extensive compilation of schizophrenia symptoms:

common schizophrenia symptoms:
tense
irritable
odd behaviors
social withdrawal
sleep disorders (insomnia)
visual and/or auditory hallucinations
difficulty focusing and paying attention
emotionally non-expressive and non-responding (flat affect)
disoranized thoughts and correlating unrelated topics ( loose associations)
false but strong beliefs (delusions), such as a belief that someone is trying to harm him/her or his/her family

paranoid schizophrenia symptoms:
angry
anxious
argumentative/confrontational

disorganized schizophrenia symptoms:
immature behviors
difficulty in communicating thoughts and ideas
weak or lack of emotional responses (flat affect)

catatonic schizophrenia symptoms:
odd facial expressions
lack of physical activities
social and conversational withdrawal
awkward and rigid posture and muscular movements

What Causes Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia's origin is unknown, although there is strong evidence that it may be related to an imbalance in the chemical makeup of one's brain. Causes of schizophrenia remains a mystery, but scientistss have pointed out that the following play an important role in developing and bearing of this illness:

1. Injury of or infection in the brain during infancy or early childhood

2. Hereditary, where your family member has suffered from schizophrenia

3. Difficulties arising from the delivery or from complications of pregnancy and delivery

4. A mother's illness during pregnancy such as measles, the use of drugs, or excessive alcohol

5. Social isolation has also been considered as an important player in increasing the risk of schizophrenia.

6. Inborn metabolic disorders as the result of abnormal chemical substances that have accumulated in the blood

7. Child abuse (physical, emotional and sexual abuse) has been connected with many psychiatric disorders, and some say that it may be a very noteworthy causal factor in schizophrenia.

Prevention and Treatments of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia can be treated today mainly by psychotherapy and by drug therapy. The condition may require repeated short-term hospitalization. Antipsychotics and clozapine (both prescription medications) are the most effective treatment for schizophrenia. However, there are side effects (some of them very severe) associated with these drugs, and you must consult your doctor immediately if you start experiencing them.

Side Effects of Antipsychotics:
tremors
dizziness
diabettes
sleepiness
weight gain
restlessness
high cholesterol
slowed movements (ie, walking, lifting)

Side Effects of Clozapine:
seizures
shivering
sweating
confusion
dry mouth
sore throat
low energy
drowsiness
constipation
restlessness
loss of appetite
worsening vision
increased salivation
severe muscle stiffness
yellow skin and/or eyes
dizziness and/or fainting
unusual bleeding or bruising
involuntary shaking (ie, hands)
difficulty urinating or controlling bladder
fever, headache and/or other flu-like symptoms
upset stomach or pain in the upper right corner or stomach

Schizophrenia also can easily be treated by the way of prevention and learning its symptoms. The outlook for this condition has improved by involving the family in what is known as "family therapy" in which the family members are educated regarding the illness and how its recurrences can be prevented. If one can discover the pressures that trigger the psychotic events, the schizophrenic individual can be helped by avoiding of those pressures.

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