Schizophrenia

The patients suffering from this disorder have a distorted view of their beliefs and experiences. They have a hard time separating reality from their fantasies and they suffer greatly from hallucinations and delusions. Some experts do not recognize that such a condition exists. They do not act normal and are at odds against social norms and rules.

A schizophrenic attack may last for weeks. During such an attack, the person becomes lost in his own sense of reality. Schizophrenic attacks are frightening. Patients with this condition are prescribed with drugs. These people need a lot of help to manage their symptoms and to learn for themselves how to cope up their problems like hearing voices or having hallucinations. Some of them may not even want to receive treatment.

Both sexes from all walks of life or cultural background and country are susceptible to having this condition. It has been estimated that one out of one hundred people will have at least one episode and that 2/3 of them will have more episodes. The symptoms for schizophrenia start during the early twenties or the late adolescence. Some people may have the onset of the symptoms at a much later time of their lives.

There have been no confirmations as to the exact reason of having schizophrenic attacks. One theory suggests that attacks are triggered by changes in the chemicals found in the brain. Other theories suggest that some traumatic experiences or taking in drugs may also be the cause.

Symptoms

There are two types of symptoms for people who have schizophrenia: the positive and the negative. The positive symptoms include abnormal experiences while the negative symptoms are the loss of standard behaviour. The positive symptoms are the most dramatic types and also the least distressing. The negative symptoms are the most problematic because they last longer.

  • Positive symptoms. there are three main types of positive symptoms:  
  • Feeling controlled by other forces like having someone’s thoughts and actions are taking over the patient’s
  • Having hallucinations
  • Having delusions

Delusions are often very frightening because the patient may think that someone is planning to hurt or kill them or that someone is listening to their conversations. Positive symptoms happen at the acute phase and can also be frightening.

  • Negative symptoms
    • Loss of concentration
    • Tiredness
    • Lack of energy
    • Cannot cope up with household chores
    • Self mutilation or harm
    • Suicide

These symptoms can be a result of the side effects of the drugs taken for the positive symptoms. One out of ten patients commits suicide.

Treatment

For those who suffer from schizophrenia, they are prescribed with drugs that lessen the positive symptoms. The drugs can be taken for a long period of time and may cause bad side effects. Patients need a lot of help to manage their symptoms and to learn how to cope with their problems. For patients who are in the acute phase, they may choose to be treated in the hospital under the Mental Health Act for their own good or for other people’s protection. Schizophrenic people do not pose danger to others. Most of the patients are worried that they may not be able to stay in their treatment.  Because of this, patients have Crisis cards or the Advance directives to let others know of what they want.

If someone you know is suffering symptoms of schizophrenia, then consult a doctor who is able to prescribe a medicine and who may refer you to someone who can help psychiatrically. You may also get in touch with the social services or the local community mental health team. In case of an emergency, go to the emergency department of a hospital or contact 999. Should you be in contact with your community mental health team, get in touch with their duty team.