Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe mental disorder, which is characterised by a breakdown of thought processes. It also results into poor emotional responsiveness. It is often thought that the disorder affects the cognition. However, it has been observed that schizophrenia also affects the general behaviour and emotions of a person.
Schizophrenia is often mistaken with multiple personality disorder or split personality. But, the fact is that all three are different types of mental disorders.
The life span of people suffering from this disorder reduces by 12 to 15 years compared to normal people. The reason behind a reduced life-span is increase in health problems and the suicidal tendency of the patient.
The person suffering from this mental disorder may show the following or few of these symptoms:
- Delusions, especially paranoid delusions
- Auditory hallucinations
- Disorganised speech or irrelevant talk
- Disorganised behaviour
- Poor memory and concentration
- Disorganised thinking
- Social isolation
- Negative thinking and suicidal symptoms
Many believe that schizophrenia is hereditary. However, unlike other mental disorders, this disease is not passed on from one generation to another. Below mentioned are few common causes for this mental disorder:
- Usually, schizophrenia is the result of complex group of genetic, psychological and environmental factors.
- Risk of this disease increases in children whose mother has suffered infections, or has gone through stress or developed malnutrition during pregnancy.
- Children who have had a disturbed childhood, and have witnessed conflicts or violence among parents, loss of a parent, have experienced physical, mental or sexual abuse, or emotional neglect.
- Struggle during childhood in studying, experience of bullying by peers or poor financial background.
- Substance abuse is also one of the leading cause of schizophrenia. Excessive usage of drugs like cannabis and cocaine are associated with schizophrenia.
Types of Schizophrenia:
There are five different types of schizophrenia, which are classified according to the symptoms the patient is suffering from, at the time of diagnosis:
- Paranoid schizophrenia: The patient suffers from many delusion and auditory hallucinations
- Disorganised schizophrenia: The speech and behaviour become quite disorganised during this type of schizophrenia.
- Catatonic schizophrenia: People who are suffering from this type are usually have difficulty in moving, resistance to move, abnormal and excessive movements and/or they have a tendency to keep repeating what they say.
- Undifferentiated schizophrenia: This type depicts symptoms of various other types like hallucinations, disorganised behaviour, negative symptoms etc.
- Residual schizophrenia: The type with lesser severe symptoms or reduced negative symptoms is residual schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is diagnosed after assessing the symptoms and abnormalities in a patient. The symptoms should be severe enough to conclude this psychological disease. Also, the doctors diagnose this mental disorder by gathering comprehensive medical, family, mental-health, and social & cultural background/ information of the patient.
First and second generation anti-psychotic drugs are proved to be effective for schizophrenia patients.