Schizophrenia awareness

Learning more about Schizophrenia

National Schizophrenia Awareness Day on 25 July 2021.

There seems to be a certain stigma when it comes Schizophrenia and unfortunately, there is not much awareness or support surrounding this mental disorder.

Schizophrenia is a severe mental condition where someone’s interpretation of reality is irregular. This affects a person’s ability to think, feel, and behave clearly.

Schizophrenia is recognised by thoughts or events that seem out of touch with reality, disorganised speech, hallucinations or behaviour, and decreased participation in daily activities.

Cause of Schizophrenia:

The exact cause of Schizophrenia is unknown, but research suggests that there are some factors that can contribute to developing Schizophrenia.

  • Genetic factors – It is thought that Schizophrenia is passed on through genetics. This disorder tends to run in families. If you have a parent, sibling, or other close relatives with the condition, you may have a higher likelihood of developing it, too. However, globally only 1% of people are diagnosed with Schizophrenia.
  • Chemical imbalance in the brain – Schizophrenia appears to develop when there is an imbalance of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, and possibly also serotonin, in the brain.
  • Alcohol and other drug abuse – Harmful alcohol and drug abuse such as 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 erosion of the brain.
  • Childhood trauma – It is thought that experiencing trauma as a child-like abuse, death of a loved one or neglect could be a big factor in developing Schizophrenia.

Common symptoms of Schizophrenia:

  • Disordered speech that is hard for others to understand. A person’s thinking, and speech, may jump from one subject to another for no logical reason. It may be difficult to follow what the person is trying to say.
  • There may also be memory loss and trouble understanding and processing of information.
  • No motivation for everyday activities, self-care, or hygiene. In some cases, they may experience catatonia where a person is unable to move or talk.
  • Psychosis, such as delusions and hallucinations. A person experiencing delusions may believe that something is true when there is clear evidence suggesting otherwise. It might be their believe that someone is pursuing them or that others are attempting to control them remotely. Some people experience hallucinations. The most common type is hearing voices, but hallucinations can affect all the senses. For example, a person may also see, feel, taste, or smell things that are not real.
  • Social life. The person may withdraw socially, possibly through fear that somebody is going to harm them.

Schizophrenia treatment:

There is no cure for Schizophrenia and does require long-term treatment.

  • Antipsychotic medications. These medications affect brain chemistry. They help decrease symptoms by affecting the level of chemicals believed to be involved with the disorder.
  • Psychosocial therapy. You can learn coping skills to help you manage some of the challenges this disorder brings. These skills can help to complete school, hold a job, and maintain quality of life.
  • Occupational therapy – This focuses on helping people with schizophrenia prepare themselves to integrate into society.
  • Social skills training. This type of instruction focuses on improving communication and social interactions.

Schizophrenia usually appears when a person is in their late teens or older, but it can also affect children. Many people with schizophrenia do not realize that they are unwell. This can make it hard to convince the individual to take medication. They may fear the side effects or believe that the medication will harm them. People with schizophrenia will also benefit from the support of their family and friends.

If you believe that you or a family member might be suffering from Schizophrenia, contact your doctor and book an appointment to discuss various options.


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