What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a controversial diagnosis. Symptoms may include confused or jumbled thoughts, hearing voices and seeing and believing things that other people don’t share. If you have these symptoms you might also become confused and withdrawn. Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects a person’s ability to perceive the world and to process information.
Signs And Symptoms
Schizophrenia has three different types of Symptoms these include:
‘Positive’ symptoms are symptoms that most people do not normally experience. They include: strange thinking (‘thought disorder’), hallucinations and delusions
Hallucinations- Hallucinations can take a number of different forms – they can be
- Visual (seeing things that are not there or that other people cannot see),
- Auditory (hearing voices that other people can’t hear),
- Tactile (feeling things that other people don’t feel or something touching your skin that isn’t there),
- Olfactory (smelling things that other people cannot smell, or not smelling the same thing that other people do smell),
- Gustatory experiences (tasting things that aren’t there)
Delusions– Delusions are usually strongly held beliefs or experiences that are not in line with a general reality. Delusions associated with schizophrenia are probably distressing for you, or those around you, as they may be unusual or extreme. For instance, you might believe secret agents are following you. These are some common types of delusion someone with schizophrenia may experience:
* Paranoid delusions, or delusions of persecution, for example believing that people are “out to get” you, or the thought that people are doing things when there is no evidence that such things are taking place.
*Delusions of reference – when things in the environment seem to be directly related to you even though they are not. For example it may seem as if people are talking about you or special personal messages are being communicated to you through the TV, radio, or other media.
*Somatic Delusions are false beliefs about your body – for example that a terrible physical illness exists or that something foreign is inside or passing through your body.
*Delusions of grandeur – for example when you believe that you are very special or have special powers or abilities.
‘Negative’ symptoms are a lack of some emotional responses or thought processes. ‘Negative’ symptoms include: lack of interest, emotional flatness, inability to concentrate, wanting to avoid people or to be protected.
*Lack of emotion – the inability to enjoy regular activities (visiting with friends, etc.) as much as before
*Low energy – the person tends to sit around and sleep much more than normal
*Lack of interest in life, low motivation
*Affective flattening – a blank, blunted facial expression or less lively facial movements, flat voice
*difficulty or inability to speak
*Inappropriate social skills or lack of interest or ability to socialize with other people
*Inability to make friends or keep friends, or not caring to have friends
*Social isolation – person spends most of the day alone or only with close family
Other symptoms include:
*Problems with attention
What Can cause Schizophrenia?
There’s no complete answer to why some people develop symptoms of schizophrenia when other people do not. And, because of differences of opinion about the definition of schizophrenia and its symptoms, it’s not easy to identify what might cause it. Schizophrenia can be caused by a genetic mutation commonly known as Dopamine. Dopamine is one of the chemicals that carry messages between the brain cells.it is suggested that too much dopamine may be involved to cause schizophrenia, Drug and alcohol abuse also plays a huge role in schizophrenia. Other Factors that Can cause Schizophrenia is:
*Isolating yourself from society.
*Living in poverty
*Losing your job
*Losing an loved one.
*Being abused physically or verbally
*Genetic mutations passed through family generations
What can you do to help someone who has schizophrenia?
If you know someone who has schizophrenia the first thing you can do is to find out and learn more about the illness, so you can understand what they are dealing with. A good tip is to focus on their feelings rather than what they are experiencing, for example if they see or hear something that you don’t, don’t confirm or deny it instead say something along the lines of ” Okay I understand that you heard voices or see something in that way, but I don’t see it that way.”Remember to focus on how they are feeling than what they are experiencing. Make sure while you are helping the person with schizophrenia you don’t take on too much yourself as you can become overwhelmed too. If you need to get emotional support for yourself like talking to a counsellor etc..
What can you do to help yourself?
If you are suffering from schizophrenia a fantastic thing to know is that you can recover from it! There are various health services and self support groups that you and your family can go to, to learn about the different strategies on how to cope with your schizophrenia. Take time to relax, and have more time for yourself. You may find it useful to talk to a counsellor or consult your doctor.