What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that causes hallucinations, delusions, and
disordered thinking and behavior. It can make it hard to function in everyday life.
Schizophrenia is a serious condition that requires lifelong treatment. Early treatment
may help to control symptoms and improve the long-term outlook.
What are the symptoms of Schizophrenia?
Symptoms of schizophrenia can be divided into three categories:
Positive Symptoms: are those that represent an excess or distortion of normal
functioning. They include hallucinations, delusions, thought disorders (e.g., disorganized
thinking), and movement disorders (e.g., awkward and jerky movements)
A hallucination is a false or distorted sensory perception that occurs in the
absence of an external stimulus. Hallucinations can occur in any of the five
senses, but the most common type is auditory, where the person hears things
that are not actually present. Visual hallucinations are also relatively common.
Less frequently, people may experience olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste), or
tactile (touch) hallucinations.
Types of Hallucinations:
· Auditory: The individual hears voices that comment on their behavior or
thoughts, or give them commands to perform certain actions. These voices may
be loud and distinct or soft and difficult to hear.
· Visual: The individual sees objects, people, or lights that are not actually
· Olfactory: The individual smells odors that are not actually present.
· Gustatory: The individual tastes things that are not actually present.
· Tactile: The individual feels things that are not actually present, such as bugs
crawling on their skin.
A thought disorder is a disruption in the ability to think clearly and logically.
People with thought disorders may have difficulty concentrating, following a train
of thought, or making decisions. Their speech may be hard to understand
because their thoughts are jumbled or they may use made-up words. They may
also believe that their thoughts are being controlled by someone else or that their
thoughts are being broadcasted for others to hear.
Types of Thought Disorders:
· Disorganized thinking: This is characterized by incoherent or illogical speech.
The person may jump from one topic to another mid-sentence, or they may make
nonsensical statements (neologisms).
· Tangential thinking: This is when a person starts to answer a question but then
goes off on a tangent and never returns to the original topic.
· Loose associations: This is when a person’s thoughts seem to be connected in
unusual or illogical way. For example, they may say “I was thinking about buying
a new car, and that made me think of the color blue, which made me think of my
· Circumstantial thinking: This is when a person takes a long time to answer a
simple question because they feel the need to include unnecessary details. For
example, in response to the question “What did you do yesterday?” they may say
“I got out of bed, I went to the kitchen, I made myself breakfast…”
· Blocking: This is when a person suddenly stops speaking in the middle of a
sentence and is unable to continue.
· Word salad: This is when a person strings together random words that have no
connection to each other.
Delusions: A delusion is a false belief that is held with strong conviction even in
the face of evidence to the contrary. It is important to note that not all unusual or
strange beliefs are delusions. To qualify as a delusion, the belief must be so fixed
that it significantly impairs the person’s ability to function in daily life.
Types of Delusions:
· Persecutory: The individual believes he or she (or someone close to them) is
being persecuted, spied on, harassed, or treated malevolently in some way.
· Grandiose: The individual has an inflated sense of self-importance and may
believe they have exceptional abilities or powers, are famous, or will achieve
· Erotomanic: The individual believes that someone (usually of higher status) is in
love with them.
· Somatic: The individual is preoccupied with a physical defect or bodily function.
· Jealous: The individual believes their partner is unfaithful without evidence to
support this belief.
· Mixed: The individual experiences more than one type of delusion concurrently.
Negative symptoms: are those that represent a diminishment or loss of normal
functioning. They include flat affect (i.e., reduced emotional response), poverty of
speech (i.e., decreased amount of communication), and avolition (i.e., lack of
Cognitive symptoms: are deficits in executive functioning, such as problems with
working memory, attention, and social cognition.
What causes Schizophrenia?
The cause of schizophrenia is not fully understood, but it is thought to be a combination
of genetic and environmental factors. People with a family history of schizophrenia are
at increased risk for developing the condition, indicating that there is a genetic
component. Exposure to viruses or malnutrition before birth has also been linked to an
increased risk for schizophrenia. It is important to note that having a risk factor does not
mean that a person will develop the condition, and many people with no known risk
factors also develop schizophrenia.
Complications of Schizophrenia:
Left untreated, schizophrenia can lead to serious complications, such as:
· Suicide: People with schizophrenia are at increased risk for suicide. In fact, about
one-third of people with the condition attempt suicide at some point in their lives.
· Homelessness: Schizophrenia can make it difficult to keep a job or have stable
housing. This can lead to homelessness.
· Drug abuse: People with schizophrenia may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol,
which can lead to addiction and other serious problems.
· Violence: People with schizophrenia are more likely to be violent than the general
population, especially if they are not taking their medication or are abusing drugs.
How is Schizophrenia diagnosed?
A diagnosis of schizophrenia is made by a mental health professional based on the
person’s symptoms, their family history, and any other relevant information. There is no
single test that can diagnose schizophrenia, but brain imaging techniques may be used
to rule out other conditions. A diagnosis of schizophrenia is generally made after a
comprehensive evaluation that includes a thorough psychiatric and medical history, a
physical examination, and laboratory tests.
How is Schizophrenia treated?
People with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment. Early treatment of symptoms may
improve the long-term outlook. Treatment typically involves medication, individual
therapy, and support groups. Medication can help reduce hallucinations and delusions.
Individual therapy can help manage symptoms and cope with the challenges of the
condition. Support groups provide social and emotional support for people with
schizophrenia and their loved ones. treatment may also involve hospitalization in some
What is the prognosis for people with Schizophrenia?
The prognosis for people with schizophrenia varies. Some people experience only a few
episodes of psychosis and are able to live relatively normal lives with medication and
therapy. Others may have chronic, debilitating symptoms that require lifelong treatment.
Early diagnosis and treatment is important for the best possible outcome.
Helping someone who may have schizophrenia:
If you think someone you know may have schizophrenia, the best thing to do is
encourage them to see a mental health professional. It can be difficult for people with
schizophrenia to seek help on their own, so your support can make a big difference. If
the person is in immediate danger of harming themselves or others, Contact to your
psychiatrist or go to psychiatric hospital immediately.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that requires lifelong treatment. Early
diagnosis and treatment is important for the best possible outcome. If you think
someone you know may have schizophrenia, encourage them to see a mental health
professional. You can also call your psychiatrist or go to Psycare Hospital if the person
is in immediate danger of harming themselves or others.