What is schizophrenia?

  • Schizophrenia is a serious psychiatric illness.
  • It affects the person’s thinking, language, and behavior.
  • It is a chronic illness.
  • It is very common. It can affect any person, and it affects both men and women equally.
  • A person with schizophrenia might:
    • See, hear, smell, or feel things that do not really exist
    • Have inaccurate thoughts or beliefs about one-self or others
    • Have incoherent speech
    • Have problems carrying out daily activities

What are the causes of schizophrenia?

There is no single cause for schizophrenia.
  • Heredity might play a role. Family members are at a higher risk to develop the illness than others.
  • Dysfunction in the brain chemicals might be the cause as well.
  • Stress and environmental factors also put the person at a higher risk.

What are the common symptoms of schizophrenia?

  • Hallucinations: hearing, seeing, feeling, or smelling things that are not real
  • Delusions: having false or unreal beliefs about one self or others
  • Incoherence in speech: talking non-sense
  • Dressing inappropriately
  • Neglecting personal hygiene and grooming
  • Isolating oneself from family and/or friends and not speaking to anybody
  • Having mood swings
  • Distrusting people without a good reason
  • Being emotionally dull

Is there a treatment for schizophrenia?

Yes.
It is very important to diagnose and treat schizophrenia early to:
  • Stabilize acute symptoms
  • Ensure the appropriate medications and treatment
  • Start rehabilitation
  • Decrease:
    • the possibility of worsening
    • the need to use alcohol and cigarettes
    • the risk of suicide
    • the dysfunction in social and career life
    • the burden on the family

What are the common treatments of schizophrenia?

Common treatments for schizophrenia include, but are not limited to:
  • Medications:
    • They can help in decreasing and controlling the symptoms.
    • They will not cure schizophrenia but will improve the person’s quality of life.
    • If the symptoms cannot be well controlled with medications, the person might need to be admitted to the hospital.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy:
    • This type of therapy helps the persons recognize and change their thoughts and behaviors, and control their symptoms.
  • Rehabilitation
    • Vocational rehabilitation is especially important for persons who need to improve their job-related skills and want to start or go back to work.
    • Psychosocial rehabilitation helps the persons learn the needed skills to set their personal goals and reach them. The goals could be academic, social, or career related.

What are the most common side effects of medications?

Some people might experience side effects such as:
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Inability to urinate
  • Increased heart rate
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Problems with sexual activity
  • Tremors, especially in hands and feet
  • Uncontrolled movements of the mouth, tongue, or face

Useful links on schizophrenia

www.nimh.nih.gov
psychcentral.com
schizophrenia.com