World Schizophrenia Day: Common symptoms, causes and all you want to know about the mental disorder
World Schizophrenia Day: Schizophrenia affects 24 million people or 1 in 300 people worldwide. It is a disorder where people may find it difficult to differentiate between reality and imagination.
World Schizophrenia Day: Schizophrenia is a complex brain disorder in which a person's perception of reality may distort and they may see, hear, smell and sense things which are not real. The psychiatric condition is caused by a chemical imbalance and other changes in the brain due to which a person may lose co-ordination between thoughts, actions and emotions. Swiss psychiatrist Dr Paul Eugen Bleuler introduced the term schizophrenia to describe the disorder previously known as dementia praecox. National Schizophrenia Foundation declared May 24 as World Schizophrenia Day to honour Dr. Philippe Pinel who strived to provide humane care and treatment for the mentally ill. (Also read: What is reminiscence therapy; know its benefits for people with dementia)
On the occasion of World Schizophrenia Day, Dr Deepika Verma, Consultant Psychiatrist, Max Super Speciality Hospital Vaishali spoke to HT Digital about symptoms, causes and treatment of the disorder that affects 24 million people or 1 in 300 people worldwide.
Symptoms of schizophrenia
"Some of the early symptoms of the disease include social withdrawal or isolating oneself from friends and family, unusual behaviour, unable to concentrate and focus, problems related to sleep, anxiety, irritated behaviour, stress, poor academic performance, and lack of concentration," says Dr Verma.
Here are some common symptoms that is seen in schizophrenia patients:
* Delusions: False beliefs that are not rooted in reality. Also, sudden breakdown of the barrier between fantasy and reality.
* Hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that don't exist. Hearing voices is the most common form of hallucination.
* Disorganized thinking (speech): While speaking, people with schizophrenia frequently have difficulty organising their thoughts. They may struggle to focus on one topic. In severe cases, one might be unable to comprehend what they are saying due to jumbled or confused phrases.
* Negative symptoms: This refers to reduced or lack of ability to function normally. Such as less energy, lack of motivation, poor hygiene and grooming habits, speaking less and jumbled sentences etc.
Causes of schizophrenia
Schizophrenia doesn't have a single confirmed cause. There are several factors and circumstances. Some of these are:
- Genetic factors: If no one in the family has had schizophrenia, the chances of having it are fewer than 1%. However, if one of a person's parents has been diagnosed with it, the risk increases.
- Brain development problems before birth.
- Using mind-altering medications as a teenager or young adult.
- Being in a high-stress environment
Medication, therapy, and self-management approaches are commonly used to treat schizophrenia which are aimed at treating or minimising the intensity of symptoms.
"Early diagnosis and treatment are important because they increase the chances of a better outcome," says Dr Verma.
* For many people with schizophrenia, antipsychotic medicines are the initial line of treatment. To reduce or control the symptoms of schizophrenia, medications are frequently used in combination with other types of drugs.
* Psychological intervention: Involving family members in patient support lowers the likelihood of psychotic recurrence and enhances the person's results.