What is Schizophrenia?
The American Psychiatric Association defines schizophrenia in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV ) as a personality disorder with active symptoms for at least 1 month, involving delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized/ bizarre behavior, and/or a lack of organized speech, activity, or feelings. Typically at least two of these sets of symptoms are existent. The illness, with a prodromal phase preceding the diagnosis and a residual stage after treatment, persists at least 6 months with constant signs of some disturbance. Throughout this period, an individual with schizophrenia is obviously measured as impaired in his or her ability to perform at work, appear at school, or join in social activities in a productive way.
The hallucinations of schizophrenia are regularly auditory, though visual, olfactory, and tactile hallucinations have been called as well. The latter, though, are more frequently due to substance abuse than schizophrenia when they prevail. The auditory hallucinations that separate schizophrenia are not just sounds. They are words spoken aloud as if someone else is essentially speaking them, although anyone is there. The words can originate from one person who is or is not recognized by the individual and who is stating in some way on the hearer’s behavior. They too can be supposed as multiple voices talking about the hearer, usually in a frightening or offensive way. Sometimes the hallucinations have been happening for years before any other symptoms and go unrecognized by the individual as something that is abnormal or not on to everyone.
Many times, when strong, they interrupt person’s life and daily activities. The patient can be found essentially answering to the voices as if in conversation. Without involvement, any examiner might have difficulty visualizing what hallucinations are like. The word delusion is definitely common, but the delusions of schizophrenia can occasionally be typical. Many are weird to the normal person. Patients may be observing television or a movie and sense that the people on the display are giving them special messages.
Common environmental states, such as water dripping from a valve, accepted as a new, magical meaning. Patients may define a feeling that fragments of their body are not their own, as well as feeling like they are performers on the “stage of life” and not “real” persons. Other common symptoms are the supposed skill to mind read or the feeling that other persons recognize their thoughts, as if they are articulated on a loudspeaker. Patients with schizophrenia are guarded that people are harming them or that a complex plot by the government against them is happening. These paranoid delusions may be supplemented by delusions of grandeur and hyper-religiosity that becomes delusional.
Most psychiatrists would concur that schizophrenia is defined by at least three distinct sets of symptoms:
- Positive symptoms, which contain hallucinations and delusions.
- Negative symptoms, which embrace a general look of being flat without much feeling, called “flat affect”; withdrawal; a lack of much speech, at least speech that says anything; and slow movements and the look of slow thought.
- A set of symptoms linked to general disorganization.
These symptoms are now measured a separate cluster, defined as disorganization syndrome.
Signs of Schizophrenia
The person who is developing schizophrenia seldom has any understanding that he or she is ill and thus does not confess to anyone the traumatic thoughts and perceptions happening, despite their troubling nature, and does not look for help. Those who are close— friends and relatives—may notify a change in behavior and emotional reactions; though, they do not know that the affected individual is having hallucinations and delusionary thoughts except the person says things that sound bizarre or that obviously cannot be true.
Frequently, mostly when of a paranoid nature, these things are saved to oneself. Families, if unbroken, after diagnosing problems will gather to the support of the ill person but often do not consider the person needs professional help unless the behavior turn out to be dangerous. Once they do get help for their sick relative, as time goes by they are finally exhausted of funds and irritated by the lack of community and legal backing to aid their relative. Parents eventually become resigned to care for these children eternally, but as they age, they fear about who will care for their child after they are gone.
In general, schizophrenia grows gradually, on average over about a 2-year period in an adolescent or young adult. Behavioral fluctuations—such as withdrawing socially, a visible failure in academic performance, irritability, or depression—are first observed by close friends or family. The persons may also be found asleep either too much or too little and are occasionally restless. These things might finally lead parents to consult a family physician about their child. Parents might be told that teen-age turmoil or regulation problems are the cause. Most physicians postpone making a diagnosis of schizophrenia, mainly if the patient does not confess to clear auditory hallucinations and bizarre delusions. The disgrace of having this disorder is great and the notion that it is like a “cancer of the mind” that persists a lifetime is a “death sentence” that no physician wishes to give except he or she can no longer evade it.