Schizophrenia

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Condition updated on October 29th, 2018

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a complex mental health disorder. People with schizophrenia experience many different types of alarming beliefs and behaviors. Schizophrenia is difficult to live with because it causes cognitive and emotional symptoms. It also causes psychotic symptoms. These symptoms all have a negative impact on the patient’s quality of life.

Symptoms Of Schizophrenia

There are two categories of symptoms of schizophrenia. The first category is behavioral symptoms. With behavioral symptoms the affected person will experience psychotic symptoms. They will also experience emotional issues.

The second category is cognitive symptoms. Cognitive symptoms will affect the affected person’s ability to think and reason. People who suffer from schizophrenia may lose touch with reality, and become confused with what is real and what is the result of the condition.

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Hallucinations
  • Dysfunctional ways of thinking
  • Restlessness or unusual mannerisms
  • Flat affect
  • Limited communication
  • Low interest in activities or interacting with others
  • Distractibility

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Delusions
  • Poor information processing skills
  • Poor decision making skills
  • Learning and memory impairments
  • Paranoia
  • Impulsivity
  • Impaired motor function

Causes And Risk Factors Of Schizophrenia

Extensive research has been performed to understand the reasons why people develop schizophrenia. This helps minimize the myths and misconceptions of why people develop the disorder.

Onset for schizophrenia is typically in the early 20’s, but cases as young as 3 years old have been reported. Research has found many causes and risk factors for schizophrenia. Such factors that may cause schizophrenia include:

  • Genetics – Studies have found that there is a genetic component to schizophrenia. This means that schizophrenia tends to run in families.
  • Biological factors – Research suggests there are biological factors that contribute to the onset of schizophrenia. For example, people who suffered from birth complications or malnourishment as children are at higher risk of having schizophrenia.
  • Upbringing – Upbringing contributes to the onset of schizophrenia. A person has an increased risk of developing schizophrenia if they were raised in an unstable or abusive environment.
  • Emotional and behavioral issues – A child is also at risk for schizophrenia if they have behavioral or emotional issues that are not addressed by a professional.
  • Environment – A person has an increased risk of suffering from schizophrenia if they were raised in an unstable, negligent or abusive environment.

Treatment For Schizophrenia

Living with schizophrenia is scary. Most people do not understand what it like to live with the struggles that come with this mental illness.

It is possible for affected people and their families to live a happy, productive life with schizophrenia. It starts with seeking the professional help that is needed to get better.

Schizophrenia is a severe mental health disorder that requires long-term treatment. A diagnosis of schizophrenia will likely imply the need for psychiatric medication. Medication will help the patient experience less psychotic symptoms.

Antipsychotics are often prescribed to schizophrenic patients. They aid in decreasing the hallucinations, delusions, and odd or eccentric behavior.

It is important to seek therapy in conjunction with medication. Dealing with the symptoms can emotional and social issues that make it difficult to feel in control. Therapy can teach the patient how to cope with their symptoms and the other challenges they face.

In therapy, the affected person will learn what it means to have schizophrenia. Therapy teaches affected people how to remain in control despite their symptoms and struggles.

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2 Comments On Schizophrenia

  1. Darren

    In the last couple days I’ve been feeling off. I don’t like when I feel like this. It’s a scary feeling. I don’t how to make this feeling go away. I try to ignore it but it feels like it gets worse.

    • Feeling off or not like yourself can be scary, and sometimes ignoring the feeling can make it stronger. Instead, consider seeking some peer support and professional attention. A good start would be to find a mental health professional in your area.

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