What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a brain disease that is chronic, or on going, and quite severe. There is no test that can see that a person has schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that can be diagnosed by a psychiatrist based on clinical symptoms. It is estimated that close to 1% of the population will develop schizophrenia.
Research indicates that schizophrenia is due to a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental stressors early in a child’s development that can lead to subtle brain changes that make a person susceptible to developing schizophrenia later in life.
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
People suffering from schizophrenia may experience hallucinations and illusions such as:
-Hearing voices not heard by others
-Believing that others (people or devices) are reading their minds
-Believing that others (people or devices) are controlling their minds
-Believing that other people or institutions are plotting against them or planning to harm them
The 2001 Ron Howard movie A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe, was a biographical drama of John Forbes Nash, Jr. Audiences are surprised, along with Nash’s wife and co-workers, to learn that the professor and mathematical genius was suffering from schizophrenia. Nash suffered from delusions and paranoia but there is actually more than one type of schizophrenia.
Are there different types of schizophrenia?
Yes, there are five different types of schizophrenia so the disease is never exactly the same for different people. Even thought there are five types of schizophrenia, some people will have an overlapping, or more than one type of schizophrenia. Also, within each type of schizophrenia there are varying degrees of symptoms.
Types of Schizophrenia: Paranoid Schizophrenia results in feelings of persecution that may also be followed with feelings grandiosity.
Types of Schizophrenia: Disorganized schizophrenia results in disorganized or incoherent thought or speech but may not be accompanied by delusions.
Types of Schizophrenia: Catatonic schizophrenia results in a complete withdrawal from reality. People with catatonic schizophrenia do not speak, may move into odd body positions and appear to be in a trance.
Types of Schizophrenia: Residual schizophrenia is a term used to describe a period when classic symptoms of schizophrenia, like delusions, may have subsided but patients still suffer from a lack or motivation or interest in life.
Types of Schizophrenia: Schizoaffective disorder is diagnosis means there are classic symptoms of schizophrenia paired with another mental disorder such as bipolar disorder, also referred to as manic depression.
Is there hope for people with schizophrenia? What are the treatments for schizophrenia?
Treatments for Schizophrenia can include a combination of medications, rehabilitation, individual psychotherapy, family education and self-help groups. One challenge for those suffering from schizophrenia is that some medications have unpleasant side effects that discourage their use. In addition, sometimes people with schizophrenia don’t have insight into their disease or believe that they need medication. Currently there is no cure for schizophrenia but with the right treatments it is possible for people with schizophrenia to live independently, to be part of a family, to maintain a job and enjoy life.