When an individual is unable to think clearly and has thoughts that are far from reality, he/she is said to be affected by schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a serious mental health condition that affects an individual’s ability to think and feel clearly. The person begins to interpret things abnormally that, in turn, leads to the development of symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. An extremely disordered thinking, diminished memory and impaired daily functioning are some common signs of the condition.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), schizophrenia affects approximately 24 million people or 1 in 300 people (0.32%) worldwide.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia symptoms can be majorly categorized into four categories:
- Psychotic Symptoms: Psychotic symptoms or the positive symptoms of schizophrenia do not imply that these are good symptoms of the condition. It refers to the added feelings, thoughts, and emotions experienced by an individual when dealing with the condition. These include:
- Delusions: These are mixed, and false feelings developed by an individual that are far from reality. The person refuses to give up these thoughts even when reality is shown to them.
- Hallucinations: These are sensations that are not real. For instance, hearing voices that are imaginary, commenting on the individual’s behavior, or looks, or insulting them. Some other lesser common types of hallucinations include seeing things that are not real, sensing strange smells, or feeling touch on the body.
- Catalonia: This is the condition in which the person stops speaking and moving suddenly for a long time.
- Disorganized Symptoms: These symptoms include such signs that show the presence of schizophrenia in an individual. Some of these include:
- Talking in a language that’s difficult to interpret or makes it difficult to hold a conversation.
- Moving quickly from one thought to another without any logical connection between them.
- Walking slowly.
- Inability to take decisions.
- Writing excessively but meaningless.
- Forgetting or losing things.
- Repetitive movements such as walking in circles.
- Facing difficulty in making sense of everyday views, sounds, and feelings.
- Cognitive Symptoms: A schizophrenic person shows the following cognitive symptoms:
- Difficulty in understanding information and using it to make decisions.
- Inability to focus or concentrate.
- Poor working memory i.e., inability to use information after learning it.
- Inability to identify the presence of these problems.
- Negative Symptoms: The term ‘negative symptoms of schizophrenia’ does not imply bad symptoms. It refers to the absence of normal behavior in an individual dealing with schizophrenia. Some of these include:
- Lack of emotions.
- Limited feelings.
- Withdrawal from family and friends.
- Withdrawal from social activities.
- Low energy.
- Less interaction.
- Lack of motivation
- Loss of pleasure.
- Lack of interest in life.
- Poor hygiene.
- Poor grooming habits.
Treatment for Schizophrenia
Overcoming schizophrenia is not difficult. It can be treated using medications and therapies. But it is important to diagnose the presence of the condition first. A person is said to be schizophrenic if he/she experiences at least two of the above-mentioned symptoms for six months.
Seeking advice from a mental health professional is recommended if the presence of schizophrenia or any other mental disorder is confirmed. This is because they use specially designed interviews and assessments to identify the presence of the condition. If you think that a loved one is affected by the condition and would be comfortable seeking advice from an expert in a gender-specific setting, Athena OKAS can help.
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