What is Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a severe intellectual disorder wherein human beings interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia can bring about a mixture of hallucinations, delusions, and extraordinarily disordered minds and behaviors that could intrude with everyday functioning and lead to disability.
The characteristics of Schizophrenia are disorganized thinking and delusions. People affected by it have difficulty concentrating, having unclear thoughts, or feeling like their thoughts are being blocked. Another characteristic is hallucinations, which includes those who are known or unknown to the person hearing them. Seeing things, smelling things, where people without this disorder cannot perceive. Hallucination is very real to the persons experiencing it, and it can be very confusing for loved ones and sometimes even appear frightening. Other habits include being extremely disorganized or abnormal motor behavior that refers to unusual behaviors and movements: becoming unusually active, exhibiting silly child-like behaviors (giggling and self-absorbed smiling), engaging in repeated and purposeless movements, or displaying odd facial expressions and gestures. Negative symptoms of schizophrenia also dominate their lives. They feel a lack of interest in the world, and they don’t feel like talking much. This results in them not wanting to interact with other people. They have a hard time feeling or expressing pleasure.
Symptoms can vary in type and severity over time, with phases of worsening and remission of symptoms. Some symptoms can always be present.
In men, symptoms of schizophrenia generally begin in their early to mid-20s; in women, symptoms usually begin in their late 20s; Schizophrenia is rarely diagnosed in children and people over 45 years of age.
Causes of Schizophrenia
There are different reasons for causing Schizophrenia, like genetic factors, which can run in the family genetically. Only one percent of people develop it over their lifetime. Still, if one parent has schizophrenia, the child has a ten percent chance of developing the condition. A further cause is the biochemical factors, where certain substances in the brain are involved in schizophrenia, particularly a neurotransmitter called dopamine. One likely cause of this chemical imbalance is the person’s genetic predisposition to the illness. Furthermore, complications during pregnancy or childbirth that structurally damage the brain can also be involved. Besides those factors, there is a theory that family relationships cause the illness despite no evidence yet presented. However, some people with schizophrenia are sensitive to any family tension, which may be associated with recurrent episodes. It is well known that stressful situations can trigger an episode in vulnerable people. People affected by this illness often become irritable and anxious because they can not control the outbreaks. It can appear anywhere, and they are unable to concentrate before any acute symptoms are shown. This can cause problems with work or study and relationships to deteriorate. These factors are often blamed for the onset of the illness when, in fact, the condition itself has caused the stressful event. It is not, therefore, always clear whether stress is a cause or a result of schizophrenia. The final factor is the use of Alcohol and other drugs, particularly cannabis and amphetamine use, may trigger psychosis in people who are vulnerable to developing schizophrenia. While substance use does not cause schizophrenia, it is strongly related to relapse. People with schizophrenia are more likely than the general population to use alcohol and other drugs, which is detrimental to treatment.
Effects of Schizophrenia during COVID:
People with schizophrenia are at an increased risk of COVID-19 and present worse COVID-19-related outcomes, including mortality. They showed low levels of information and concern regarding the possibility of contagion and infection but presented substantially stable levels of psychotic symptoms and even increased subjective well-being during the pandemic. SARS-CoV-2, as well as the prolonged social isolation and the spread of misinformation, appear to be responsible in some cases for the onset of psychotic symptoms.
Treatment of Schizophrenia
While there is no cure for schizophrenia, research is leading to innovative and safer treatments. Experts are also unraveling the disease’s causes by studying genetics, conducting behavioral analysis, and using advanced imaging to examine the brain’s structure and function. These approaches hold the promise of new and more effective therapies.
The majority of people with schizophrenia get better over time, not worse. For every five people who develop schizophrenia:
One will get better within five years of experiencing their first symptoms.
Three will get better but will still have times when their symptoms get worse.
One will continue to have troublesome symptoms.
Coping with Schizophrenia
Coping with schizophrenia is a lifelong process. Recovery doesn’t mean you won’t experience any more challenges from the illness or that you’ll always be symptom-free. What it does mean is that you are learning to manage your symptoms, developing the support you need, and creating a satisfying, purpose-driven life.
- By getting involved in treatment and self-help.
- Your attitude towards schizophrenia treatment matters
- Accept your diagnosis
- Don’t buy into the stigma of schizophrenia.
- Communicate with your doctor
- Set and work toward life goals
- Get active
- Seek face-to-face support
- Manage stress
- Know your limits-both at home and work or school. Don’t take on more than you can handle, and take time for yourself if you feel overwhelmed.
- Use relaxation techniques to relieve stress.
- Manage your emotions – Understanding and accepting emotions
- Take care of yourself
- Try to get plenty of sleep
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet-Eating regular, nutritious meals can help avoid psychosis and other schizophrenia symptoms brought on by substantial changes in blood sugar levels.
- Understand the role of medication
- Medication is not a cure for schizophrenia and only treats some of the symptoms.
How can you help people with Schizophrenia?
For some, knowing a person with schizophrenia can leave them feeling helpless because they don’t know how to help them, but in fact, there are a couple of things you can do to help that person. For example
- Accept the illness and its difficulties.
- Not buy into the myth that someone with schizophrenia can’t get better or live an entire and meaningful life.
- Do your best to help your loved one feel better and enjoy life.
- Pay attention to your own needs.
- Maintain your sense of humor and remain hopeful.