Schizophrenia : Symptoms, Causes and Myths
Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder that alters the way a person thinks, acts and perceives the world. Schizophrenic people tend to see or hear things that do not exist, speak strangely and reel under constant fear that they are being watched.
Signs of schizophrenia generally appear during teenage years or early adulthood. The earlier the schizophrenia develops, the more severe it can get. Though both men and women become hapless victims of this disorder, it has been observed that men get more severe attacks than women.
Signs and symptoms
The five major symptoms of schizophrenia include
- Disorganised speech
- Disorganised behaviour
- Person becomes very negative
Early warning signs
- Social withdrawal
- Fear and suspicion
- Expressionless gaze
- Uncontrollable bouts of laughter or crying
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Inability to express emotions
- Oversleeping or insomnia
- Radical or irrational statements
- Lack of concentration and forgetfulness
- Strange use of words or odd way of speaking
Although the causes of schizophrenia are not completely known factors like genetics, prenatal exposure to a viral infection, low oxygen levels during birth, early parental loss or separation, physical or sexual abuse in childhood and abnormal brain structure are linked to schizophrenia.
A Schizophrenic has a “split personality” or multiple personalities.
Reality - Multiple personality disorder is different from Schizophrenia. People with schizophrenia are detached from reality and do not have split personalities.
Schizophrenia is a rare condition
Reality – Not at all. Cases of schizophrenia are seen quite often and the risk of developing schizophrenia is approximately 1 in 100.
People with schizophrenia tend to be violent
Reality - Although hallucinations caused by schizophrenia can sometimes lead to violent behaviour, most people with schizophrenia are neither violent nor a danger to family/society.
There is no hope for a person affected with schizophrenia
Schizophrenia can be managed effectively with consistent, long-term medication. If treated properly at the right time, people with schizophrenia can enjoy a good quality life. Steady emotional support, understanding and patience from people around, especially family and friends, will help them recover faster.