Are you hearing voices even when you are all alone? Are your thoughts out of your control? Do you think your reality is distorted? If Yes, this is a cause of concern. There is a chance that you may be schizophrenic. In this article, we shall be discussing – schizophrenia meaning, schizophrenia symptoms, types, causes, and treatment.
Crazy, mad, insane- these are the names which misrepresent those who suffer from mental illnesses. If you are diagnosed with cancer or some other physical ailment, the whole world showers support over you. Sadly, it is not the case with mental disorders, especially schizophrenia.
More than 4.3-8.7 million people in India are affected by schizophrenia but it still does not have a global platform. This mental disorder is not a niche topic. Let us start the discussion about the illness and take the first step in the mental health community.
What is the Meaning of Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes the patient see reality in a distorted way. The patient may suffer from hallucinations, delusions or cognitive difficulties. In brief, it affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves.
It is no surprise that the human brain has one of the most complex structures. Mankind has discovered many chronic brain diseases- one of them is schizophrenia. It is mostly highlighted during young adulthood (16-30 years of age). Men are more prone to show signs of this disorder compared to women.
Schizophrenia affects the daily functioning of a person and can be a lifelong struggle.
What are the Various Schizophrenia Types?
Researches have divided schizophrenia into subtypes for better understanding. Recognizing the right type of this disorder will help in making the right treatment plan.
The different schizophrenia types include:
- Paranoid schizophrenia- Under this subtype, a person may experience fearful delusions known as paranoia. For instance, you may feel like someone is planning to kill you.
- Schizoaffective disorder- This disorder includes the symptoms of both schizophrenia and mood disorders.
- Childhood schizophrenia- This subtype is the rarest form of schizophrenia. This is identified by the early onset of mental illness. It starts in children younger than 13 years of age.
- Catatonic schizophrenia- Catatonia is a condition that makes your muscles rigid. People with catatonic schizophrenia may have difficulty in movement. They also grow unresponsive to instructions.
What are the Schizophrenia Symptoms?
Schizophrenia is a very complex disease. There are many misconceptions about a person suffering from this complicated disorder. Some experts argue that schizophrenia may be a combination of many diseases presented as one.
There are certain signs seen in a person suffering from this disorder. Noticing these signs early may help with the treatment. Look out for the following symptoms in your friends and family. It is recommended to take immediate medical help if any of the symptoms match.
Some schizophrenia symptoms are as follows:
1. Delusion- By definition, a delusion is a false belief or opinion. Patients tend to have beliefs that are not based on reality.
For example, you may feel that someone wants to physically hurt you. You may also feel that you are very famous in your circle.
2. Hallucinations- A hallucination is a sensory experience of something that is only inside your mind. A person suffering from this disorder may consider a hallucination as a real experience.
For instance, you may see or hear things that do not exist. It may not be a ghost but schizophrenia.
3. Distorted speech- If you are a sufferer of schizophrenia you may have difficulty holding your thoughts. You may lose track of what you are talking about. This symptom includes jumping on one topic from another illogically.
4. Distorted thinking- Schizophrenia is a mental disorder and it affects your thinking largely. You may have no control over the pattern of your thoughts.
For example, you may answer your questions in a completely unrelated manner.
5. Disorganized behavior- A person’s behavior may largely be affected by this disorder. For instance, you may behave like a little child at one second and have extreme agitation at the other.
6. Lack of Motivation- This is a very common symptom of several mental disorders. You may not feel motivated to accomplish even the little tasks like brushing your teeth or taking a walk.
7. Withdrawal from society- If you are suffering from schizophrenia you may notice the change in your thoughts and speech. You may also feel lazy to participate in social discussions. All of these factors would make you want to stay isolated. Wanting to be alone because you cannot control your thought process, is one of the symptoms of schizophrenia
8. Poor emotional expression- It may be hard for you to explain your emotions very well. The lack of acceptance and limited knowledge about the subject makes you want to remain shut. You may not want to open up about your feelings anymore. You may express your emotions very poorly and may seek validation for how you feel.
The schizophrenia symptoms mentioned above are divided into four categories:
- Positive symptoms- These include delusions and hallucinations.
- Negative symptoms- Lack of emotional expressions and motivation come under negative symptoms.
- Cognitive symptoms- It includes the symptoms that affect a person’s thoughts.
- Emotional symptoms- Symptoms that affect a person’s emotional well being come under these.
What is the Reason behind Schizophrenia? What are the Schizophrenia Causes?
Like the disorder, its causes are also complicated. Schizophrenia is not caused by any one factor. Multiple factors play a role in the development of this disorder in a person. Medical experts believe that both genes and the environment contribute to this illness.
Here is a list of reasons behind schizophrenia:
- Chemical Imbalance- No, it is not your fault for having a mental disorder. It is as okay as having a fever. When certain chemicals in your brain are imbalanced, you become prone to a mental disease. The imbalance of chemicals called dopamine and serotonin leads to schizophrenia.
- Genes- If any of your blood relatives have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, your chances of developing the disorder becomes high. Genes play a very important role in the occurrence of this illness.
- Relationships- If you are having unhealthy relationships in your life, your emotional and mental health would be affected. Tensions in your relationships may trigger the disorder.
- Environment- Environmental factors affect your body’s physical health and make you prone to this illness. Exposure to viruses impacts your immunity system. If you have had problems during birth, your risk of getting schizophrenia are higher.
- Stress- Stressful conditions make a negative impact on your mental health. If you have poor stress management there are chances that you may develop a mental disorder like schizophrenia.
- Drugs- Teens may think that drugs are cool and make you joyful. But the momentary joy can cause a lifetime of sadness and struggle. Intake of psychotic drugs can lead to chronic brain diseases.
What is the Treatment for Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia cannot be cured by medical science, yet. Treatments are available to relieve the symptoms but an absolute cure is not there. Medical experts believe that a combination of medication, counselling, and self-help are effective treatments for schizophrenia. If the treatment plan is followed, you can lead a healthy and productive life.
- Medications are a must for patients with schizophrenia. Even when the symptoms are in control, you should take the medicines regularly.
- Therapy and counselling help the patient to manage and control the symptoms. Experts teach coping skills to patients to deal with episodes of extreme stress and panic.
- Even God helps those who help themselves. It is a very fitting and true saying about schizophrenia.
You would need to have self-help mechanisms because this is a lifelong illness. You cannot always rely on some other person. You can learn to control your symptoms and stick to the treatment plan for a better lifestyle.
The lack of awareness about the issue makes it very difficult to understand and discuss. You do not exactly know what to talk about and whom to talk to about mental illness. You are so caught up in the web of your own thoughts that you fail to look beyond them. At Credihealth, we understand your situation and look forward to making it easy for you.
Schizophrenia is a real disorder that impacts people’s lives every day. It is a fatal illness and even leads to suicides among the patients. Nearly 1.1% of the population worldwide is affected by this disorder.
We understand it may be very difficult to deal with such an illness on an everyday basis. But you need to understand that you are not alone. There is medical and emotional help available. The first step is knowledge. Then comes to awareness. You should know what schizophrenia means, its causes, symptoms, types and the treatment available in order to fight the disorder.
Also, read about Schizophrenia in Hindi: Schizophrenia Meaning in Hindi
For more information and free personalized guidance, talk to Credihealth Medical Experts today.