Schizophrenia
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Schizophrenia

Introduction

Schizophrenia is a mental illness whereby the person shows signs of disordered thinking, thus affecting the normal functioning. Around one percent of the population of the world is affected by Schizophrenia. The disease could be seen in all races and countries. It mostly occurs in men between 18 and 25 years of age and it is 26 to 45 years in women. There is no gender bias for the occurrence of the disease.

Schizophrenia Causes

The exact cause of the disease is unknown but there is some evidence that the cause could be genetic. The risk is more with parents having this disease (ten percent) or in case of identical twins (fifty percent). There is widespread research into the cause of the disease to know the genetic clues. The disease is found to be complex and there are other social and environmental factors behind the disease.

Research have shown that genetics, neurobiology, psychological, environmental and social processes are the main contributory factors behind this illness. The present research is giving a lot of attention to neurobiology, though not a single cause has been found out. As there is a combination of symptoms present, it is argued whether the schizophrenia is a single disorder or else a combination of separate symptoms. One should not confuse between schizophrenia and split personality. They are different.

Schizophrenia Symptoms

One of the main signs of schizophrenia is delusions of the person. The person may have strange and unshakeable beliefs. For example, the person having the illness may think they might be watched by secret agents or they could be taken over by some alien force or evil powers. There could be reports of hallucinations as the person reports to hear, smells, feels or tastes things that are not present nearby. In most of the cases, the person reports of hearing voices.

There is disordered thinking by the patient. The thoughts of the person do not follow logically among themselves. There are reports of catatonic movements whereby the person may halt like a statue or take some odd postures. They often become agitated and fidgety. The person shows lack of motivation or energy to act. They find it difficult to communicate with other people and there could be emotional numbness. The person may find it difficult to do everyday chores like washing.

When there is an acute break up of the disease, there is distortion of thinking and experiencing by the person. This leads to intense anger, elation, over activity, panic and depression with occasional periods of withdrawals.

In the mesolimbic pathway of the brain, there is an increase of dopaminergic activity which is seen in every case of the disease. The basic treatment is pharmacotherapy that gives antipsychotic drugs. These drugs work by restraining the dopamine activity. Nowadays, the antipsychotics dosages are lower than that given in earlier times. The other main treatment adopted includes Psychotherapy, social and vocational rehabilitation of the patient. In serious cases, as when there is danger of self as well as others, the person may be required to be hospitalized but their hospital stays are for shorter periods.

In Schizophrenic patient, the cognition of the patient is mainly affected which might lead to chronic problems whereby the patient’s behavior and emotion are affected. There could be comorbid condition like clinical depression and anxiety in the patient. There may be long term unemployment, homelessness or poverty of the person.

Schizophrenia Treatment

With the intake of treatment, around 25 percent of schizophrenia patients get well from the first bout of schizophrenia and live their live normally. About two-thirds of the patients have acute recurrence of the disease while 15 percent find long term and unrelenting disruption from the different symptoms.

Advice

 Treatment for Schizophrenia includes taking in tablets along with long term injections. There is need for social support and career for the person with this disease. There is need to get counseling for the person as well as their family. As the cause of the disease is not clear, there is no definitive test to determine the disease and diagnosis is solely based on the symptoms of the patient. There is no test for antenatal or post natal screening to determine the disease. Psychiatrist recommends brain scanning like MRI to get a good knowledge of the condition and prescribe antipsychotic medicine and therapies.

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