Schizophrenia: 5 Important Facts You Must Know About This Mental Disorder

NDTV Food Desk  |  Updated: May 24, 2017 17:06 IST

Schizophrenia: 5 Important Facts You Must Know About This Mental Disorder
  • Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects how a person feels
  • The symptoms can be positive or negative
  • It is treatable with the help of medication & psychosocial therapy
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that can affect how a person feels, thinks and behaves. The exact cause of schizophrenia is still unknown, but scientists believe that a combination of genetics, environment factors and altered brain chemistry may play a role. Schizophrenia is characterized by thoughts that may seem unreal along with disorganized speech, decreased participation in every day activities and difficulty in concentration. There is no sure-shot cure for Schizophrenia but the symptoms and effects can be managed and controlled with the help of medication, psychotherapy and specialty care for such patients. On World Schizophrenia Day (which falls on 24th May every year), we'd like to dispel the stigma that surrounds mental disorders, busts some myths and spread awareness about the schizophrenia that can help in tackling the disease better. 

1. The symptoms can be 'positive' or 'negative': Both kinds are not good for you. Positive symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, paranoid behavior and agitated movements. Negative symptoms such as lack of pleasure, social withdrawal and lack of expression are more subtle and may be hard to recognize as they can differ from person to person. Therefore, not everyone may have the same symptoms. Schizophrenia starts in a younger age and typically the symptoms can show up between the age of 16 to 30.
2. Schizophrenia is treatable: There may not be a sure-shot cure for the disease but most of the symptoms of the disease can be managed and controlled with the help of the right medication and psychosocial treatments that can help patients overcome daily challenges like difficulty in communication, socializing and self-care. Medication may have certain side-effects like blurred vision, rapid heartbeat, skin rashes, and weight gain which also need to be taken into consideration. 

3. Schizophrenia can be hereditary: The primary cause of the disease, up until now, has been diagnosed as the working of genes that we inherit from our family members. A lot of studies has have shown that the general population has a 1 percent chance of developing schizophrenia but the risk goes up if someone in your family has been schizophrenic. Further, the risk goes up significantly if your sibling, twin or parents have schizophrenia. 

4. Schizophrenia may not induce violent behavior: Not all patients turn violent, in most cases they may become more quiet and reserved. Violent behaviour is often linked to substance abuse which is also common among schizophrenic patients. They may also be more prone to suicide so utmost care and attention need to be give to such patients. 

5. Schizophrenia is not as same as personality disorder: A lot of people confuse schizophrenia with split personality disorder to due the confusing behaviour of such patients but both are not the same. The main facet of schizophrenia is that such people see, hear or experience things that do not exist and they may not know this fact and get confused between the two.

CommentsAccording to the World Health Organisation, schizophrenia affects more than 21 million people worldwide and sadly, one in two people living with schizophrenia does not receive adequate care for the condition.

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