Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder that has affected many people. People with this schizophrenia may hear voices other people don’t, they may believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. This can terrify people with the illness and make them withdrawn or extremely agitated.
Families and society are affected by schizophrenia. Many people with schizophrenia have difficulty holding a job or caring for themselves, so they rely on others for help.
Treatment helps relieve many symptoms of schizophrenia, but most people who have the disorder cope with symptoms throughout their lives. However, many people with schizophrenia can lead rewarding and meaningful lives.
- Hallucinations – where a person sees things, hears, smells or feels that no one else can hear, see, smell or feel. Voices are the most common type of hallucination, other types include seeing people or objects that are not there
- Delusions – where the person has false beliefs that are not part of the person’s culture and do not change. People with schizophrenia can have delusions that seem bizarre such as believing that the neighbours can control their behaviour with magnetic waves, sometime they believe they are someone else such as a famous historical figure
- Thought Disorders – the person may have disorganized thinking. This happens when a person has trouble organizing his or her thoughts or connecting them logically
- Movement Disorders – where a person may appear that he or she has agitated body movements. The person may repeat certain motions over and over
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- Lack of motivation – lack of energy or interest in life, even basic things like taking a shower, shaving or talking to people
- Blunt feelings – inability to express emotions / feelings that are appropriate while able to feel the same
- Social withdrawal – limited or no interaction with family, friends and well wishers
- Problems with paying attention
- Trouble remembering things
- Difficulty in concentrating
The treatment for schizophrenia focuses on eliminating the symptoms of the disease. Treatments include antipsychotic medications, and various psychosocial treatments. It may take some trial and error to find the medication that works best with least side effect on a person. Psychotherapy helps to develop healthier thinking patterns including helping the person understand the illness and the various dimensions of the illness.