What is schizophrenia?
‘Schizophrenia’ is a scary word that has been projected by the media or in films with violence or aggression. But in most of patients such behaviours have been observed, and even who have aggression they can be easily managed by medications Many of the symptoms that are part of schizophrenia will also occur in other disorders – they tend to be called ‘psychotic’ (loosening of touch with reality) symptoms.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder which affects how you may think, feel or behave.
Its symptoms are divided into ;
1. Positive and
2. Negative symptoms
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
What do voices sound like?
Reaction to these voices?
Where do they come from?
Other conditions in which you can hear voices?
Other kinds of hallucination
How does it start?
● It may suddenly dawn on you that you really understand what is going on. This may follow weeks or months.
● A delusional idea may be a way of explaining hallucinations. If you still hear voices that talk about you, you may explain it to yourself with the idea that a government agency is following you .
These ideas make you believe , feel persecuted or harassed.
● unusual – it may feel as though ISI or the government is spying on you.
● You may think that people are influencing you with special powers or technology.
● everyday – you may start to believe that your partner is unfaithful.
upsetting – feeling persecuted and is obviously upsetting for you. It can become distressing .
Ideas of reference
Coping with delusions
● Delusions may, or may not, affect your behavior.
● It can be hard to talk about them.
● If you feel that other people are trying to harm you either won’t do anything or sometimes you can hit back at them.
Muddled thinking (or ‘thought disorder’)
Feelings of being controlled
What causes schizophrenia?
genetic ‘risk factors’ are involved in development of schizophrenia. For example, you might have genetic risk factors that mean you are more likely to develop schizophrenia. However, if you grow up or live in a stable and positive environment this may protect you from developing a serious mental illness.
Having a parent with the condition
Having a parent with a serious mental illness like schizophrenia is the strongest known risk factor for developing a serious mental illness yourself.
An identical twin has exactly the same genetic makeup . If one identical twin has schizophrenia, their twin has about a 50:50 chance of having it too.
Non-identical twins have a different genetic make-up to each other. It’s less in them.
Brain scans show that there are few differences in the brains scans of some people with schizophrenia Where this is the case, it may be, because of:
● a problem started during birth that stops the baby’s brain from getting enough oxygen
● a virus infection in early months of pregnancy.
Drugs and alcohol
Street drugs seem to bring on schizophrenia.
Amphetamines can give you acute psychotic symptoms, but they usually stop when you stop taking the amphetamines.
The heavy use of cannabis almost doubles the risk of developing schizophrenia.
If you have smoked it often (more than 50 times) during your teens, the effect is even stronger – you are 6 times more likely to develop it.
Difficulties often seem to happen shortly before symptoms get worse. This may be a sudden bad event like a car accident, bereavement or moving home. A difficult childhood Schizophrenia is more likely if you were neglected, physically or sexually abused as a child.
How common is schizophrenia?
It affects people , around 1 in every 100 over the course of their life.
Antipsychotic drugs are the mainstay of treatment for schizophrenia and psychosocial interventions. This section is concerned with the evidence.
There is strong evidence supporting the use of antipsychotic drugs in the treatment of schizophrenia for prevention of relapse.
These drugs block completely or partly , neuron pathways, responsible for the increased levels of Dopamine in the brain .
This included Typical and Atypical antipsychotics.
Typical antipsychotics have more side effects and less tolerated e.g; Extrapyramidal symptoms (increased hypersalivation and muscle rigidity etc)
Atypical Antipsychotics are newer with less severe side effects like weight gain.
Both drugs’ metabolic profile is constantly monitored .