Schizophrenia

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Condition updated on August 29th, 2018

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a complex mental health disorder. People with schizophrenia experience many different types of alarming symptoms. 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 you will experience psychotic and emotional issues. The symptoms of the first category include:

Behavioral Symptoms

With behavioral symptoms you will experience psychotic and emotional issues. The symptoms of the first category include:

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

Cognitive Symptoms

Cognitive symptoms will affect your ability to think and reason. Cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia include:

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

Causes Of Schizophrenia

Research has found many causes and risk factors for schizophrenia. To begin, research has found that there is a genetic component to schizophrenia. This means that schizophrenia tends to run in families. Onset for schizophrenia is typically in the early 20’s, but cases as young as 3 years old have been reported.

Research also suggests there are environmental factors that contribute to schizophrenia. For example, people who had birth complications have higher chances of being schizophrenic. The same trend was found with people who were malnourished as children.

Finally, upbringing contributes to the onset of schizophrenia. A person has an increased risk of schizophrenia if they were raised in an unstable or abusive environment. A child is also at risk for schizophrenia if they have behavioral or emotional issues that are not addressed by a professional.

Risk Factors Of Schizophrenia

Extensive research has been performed to understand the reasons why people develop schizophrenia. Many risk factors have been found to contribute to the onset of symptoms. The risk factors include:

  • Genetics – Research has found that there is a genetic component to schizophrenia. This means that schizophrenia tends to run in families. Research also suggests there are environmental factors that contribute to schizophrenia.
  • Upbringing – A person has an increased risk of schizophrenia if they were raised in an unstable, negligent or abusive environment.
For example
Many children who develop schizophrenia were malnourished as a result of neglect.
  • Birth Complications – People who had birth complications have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia.
  • Emotional Issues – A child is at risk for schizophrenia if he or she has behavioral or emotional issues that are not addressed by a professional.

Treatment For Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a severe mental health disorder that requires long-term treatment. In the United States, 64% of people with schizophrenia follow through with long term treatment services. A schizophrenia diagnosis will almost always need psychiatric medication. Antipsychotics are often prescribed to schizophrenic patients. They aid in decreasing the hallucinations, delusions, and odd or eccentric behavior.

Schizophrenia causes a chemical imbalance in the brain. That is why it is important to consider working with a doctor to help treat schizophrenia. Medication will help the patient experience less psychotic symptoms.

Therapy is also important for treating Schizophrenia. Often people with schizophrenia will have emotional and social issues. It is difficult to feel in control with schizophrenia. Sometimes dealing with the symptoms can be disheartening. That is why it is important to seek therapy in conjunction with medication. Therapy can teach the patient how to cope with their symptoms and the other challenges they face.

For example

Schizophrenia affects emotions and behavior. It also affects the ability to socialize. With counseling, the patient will gain an understanding of why they struggle with these areas.

They will also learn about what it means to have schizophrenia. Therapy teaches people ways to remain in control despite their symptoms and struggles.

Living with schizophrenia is scary. Many people do not understand what it like to live with the struggles that come with this mental illness. Fortunately, professionals have made great progress in understanding the disorder. It is possible for you to live a happy, productive life with schizophrenia. It starts with seeking the professional help you need to get better.

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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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