According to American Psychiatric Association, Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that affects about one percent of the population. When schizophrenia is active, symptoms can include delusions, hallucinations, trouble with thinking and concentration, and lack of motivation. However, when these symptoms are treated, most people with schizophrenia will greatly improve over time.
Schizophrenia does not mean split personality or multiple-personality. Most people with schizophrenia are not dangerous or violent. They also are not homeless nor do they live in hospitals. Most people with schizophrenia live with family, in group homes or on their own.
What Causes Schizophrenia?
The cause of schizophrenia is still unclear. Some theories about the cause of this disease include genetics (heredity), biology (abnormalities in the brain’s chemistry or structure); and/or possible viral infections and immune disorders.
Scientists recognize that the disorder tends to run in families and that a person inherits a tendency to develop the disease. Similar to some other genetically-related illnesses, schizophrenia may appear when the body undergoes hormonal and physical changes (like those that occur during puberty in the teen and young adult years) or after dealing with highly stressful situations.
Scientists believe that people with schizophrenia have an imbalance of the brain chemicals or neurotransmitters: dopamine, glutamate, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters allow nerve cells in the brain to send messages to each other. The imbalance of these chemicals affects the way a person’s brain reacts to stimuli - which explains why a person with schizophrenia may be overwhelmed by sensory information (loud music or bright lights) which other people can easily handle. This problem in processing different sounds, sights, smells and tastes can also lead to hallucinations or delusions.
Some research suggests that problems with the development of connections and pathways in the brain while in the womb may later lead to schizophrenia.
Viral Infections and Immune Disorders
Schizophrenia may also be triggered by environmental events, such as viral infections or immune disorders. For instance, babies whose mothers get the flu while they are pregnant are at higher risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. People who are hospitalized for severe infections are also at higher risk.
What Are The Symptoms Of Schizophrenia?
Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start between ages 16 and 30 but in rare cases, children have schizophrenia too.
The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive.
Other Conditions Are Related To Schizophrenia?
People with schizophrenia may have additional illnesses. These may include:
- Substance abuse
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Major depression
How Is Schizophrenia Treated?
Like other mental health diseases, treatment is available for schizophrenia which may include drugs and psychotherapy, after proper consultation with a Psychiatrist.
Article By: Anolu Esther