What are the top 5 signs of schizophrenia?

Modern world and career success or progression has made more people neglect their wellbeing in order to be the best among the best or to have more money. The downside of this “hustle culture” has made more people not engaging in an active and healthy lifestyle. Many end up with mental issues that may or may not be realised that slowly creeps in their life. In this DoctorOnCall’s we will be learning about one of the mental disorders that has affected a lot of people till the point that they are unable to have a normal life, known as schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that affects the way a person thinks, feels and behaves. What makes schizophrenia different from many other mental disorders is the fact that it makes a person have lost touch with reality. It is a long-term mental health condition. Schizophrenia itself is often described as part of a psychosis. This translates to a person not always able to distinguish their own thoughts and ideas from reality. Examples of psychosis are hallucination and delusion.

Schizophrenia affects approximately 24 million people or 1 in 300 people worldwide. It is indeed not as common as many other mental disorders. Schizophrenia often presents during late adolescence and the twenties and tends to occur earlier in men than women. People with schizophrenia are 2 to 3 times likely to die as a result of physical health problems such as infectious diseases and heart diseases.

Exact cause for schizophrenia is not known but there are several factors that may make a person prone to schizophrenia. This includes genetic and environmental factors. Studies suggest that many different genes may increase a person’s chances for developing schizophrenia but not one single gene could have caused this. Environmental factors associated with life experiences such as poverty, stressful or dangerous surroundings, drug misuse and exposure to virus or nutritional issues before birth may have contributed to schizophrenia. Apart from these, people with schizophrenia may have differences in the size of certain brain regions and connections between the brain regions. Such differences may have developed before birth.

You may have heard or see in TV that people with schizophrenia is often portrayed with crime such as murder and they act crazy but in reality, schizophrenia does not necessarily be that dramatic and many people actually still not getting diagnosed as the fear for getting judged by people around them or people that lives with the patient does not want the patient to get the appropriate medical help. On the contrary, people with schizophrenia are actually the ones that get violent at. People with schizophrenia that show violence should be seen as a sign for help as they are suffering the acute symptoms that makes it hard for them to stay in reality at the time being. Here are the top 5 signs of schizophrenia that should be addressed if you or someone you know experience it:

1)  Persistent delusions- a person has fixed beliefs that something is true even they have already presented with evidence to the contrary

2)  Persistent hallucination- a person see, hear, smell, touch or fell things that is not exist

3)  Disorganised thinking- jumbled or irrelevant speech

4)  Highly disorganised behaviour- a person doing bizarre or purposeless act

5)  Extreme agitation or slowing movement, sometimes maintaining unusual postures

Apart from the top 5 signs, there is actually a term used to describe the symptoms specifically. There are positive symptoms, negative symptoms and disorganised symptoms:

Positive symptoms- symptoms that abnormally present such as hallucinations and delusions, confused and disordered thinking, speech and logical thinking, sometimes with bizarre behaviour or abnormal movement.

Negative symptoms- symptoms that are abnormally absent such as loss or decrease ability to speak or express emotion, loss of interest, loss of pleasure in daily activities, withdrawal from social life, loss of motivation and difficulty to function as other normal people.

Cognitive symptoms- trouble processing information to make decisions, trouble to pay attention and trouble using information wisely. This makes it hard to follow a conversation, learn new things or to remember time or dates of the day.

It is important for people with schizophrenia to get treated. This means that there should not be any stigma surrounding people with these conditions. Treatment can help improve their day-to-day function and even help them to achieve life goals such as completing education, having a good career and even a romantic relationship. Most patients are treated with a combination of medicine and therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Patients with schizophrenia should try to get help and advice on their condition by involving with a support group or talking with those that have similar conditions.

Schizophrenia, just as other mental disorders, must be diagnosed by a doctor such as a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist. Since there are many signs or symptoms of mental disorders that overlap with other mental health issues, it is wise to not self-diagnose and to talk with a doctor to get treatment and advice.

Also read – Dengue Prevention.