Schizophrenia is a mental disorder often misrepresented in the media. This condition impacts the behavior, thoughts, and feelings of an individual. Those with this condition may have periods where they seem to lose touch with reality. This can cause a significant amount of distress for the sufferer and those near them. Without proper treatment, the symptoms can persist and even be disabling. There are treatments that are effective when delivered in a coordinated manner in a sustained and coordinated manner. With proper treatment, sufferers can engage in work, school, and personal relationships more effectively. Most importantly, it’s possible for them to be independent.
Understanding Schizophrenia and How It’s Treated
Diagnosis for schizophrenia tends to happen in the later teen years, but often as late as the early thirties. Men tend to experience this condition earlier in life, often during adolescence or their early twenties. Women tend to manifest these symptoms later, in their late twenties to early thirties. In most cases, a diagnosis will happen following the first period of psychosis. Prior to this first diagnosis, those suffering from schizophrenia will undergo gradual changes. These changes will affect their social functioning, mood, and thought processes and often begin in mid-adolescence. In extremely rare cases, the condition can manifest in young children.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia fall under three general categories:
- Psychotic Symptoms – These symptoms affect the sufferer’s perception of their surroundings and stimuli. Their experiences smelling, touching, hearing, tasting, and seeing things may not match up with contemporary reality. Odd behaviors and abnormal thinking may accompany these changes.
- Delusions – These are beliefs that are clung to that objective facts do not support. Disorganized speech, unusual thinking, and fears that others are conspiring against them. Patients with delusions often withdraw from social activities, have difficulty demonstrating emotions, and may struggle to function normally.
- Thought Disorder – These symptoms manifest as unusual thinking or disorganized speech patterns. Individuals tend to display reduced motivation and struggle to organize and maintain activities. Their enjoyment of life may be much reduced, and they may speak in an emotionless way.
While the precise cause of schizophrenia is not well understood, there are known risk factors that can increase an individual’s chance of developing it. Schizophrenia is understood to run in families. Environmental factors are thought to be involved, as schizophrenia is more common among the poor and those living in stressful situations. Nutritional problems prior to birth and exposure to viruses may also be involved. It’s also thought to be possible that the general function and structure of the brain may play a role. Especially relevant changes in the brain that appear during puberty.
Reach Out To Your Mental Health Counselor For Help
If there’s someone you know who you believe may be experiencing symptoms related to schizophrenia, see your mental health counselor. They can help provide further guidance and a professional opinion on whether further help is needed. Further, they can help you learn important ways to help those in your life who suffer from this condition.