Schizophrenia is a major mental disorder in which the sufferer’s mind and emotions are in constant turmoil making it impossible for them to distinguish the real from the unreal, to engage meaningfully, socialise or enjoy life.
The cause of schizophrenia is unknown but it does appear to have a strong familial link and certain street drugs may also have a bearing. 40% of those suffering from schizophrenia will have the onset of early symptoms before the age of 19 years and all in all it affects 1% of the population.
The term schizophrenia comes from the Greek meaning “split mind” It has nothing at all to do with the popular misconception “split personality” People suffering from schizophrenia do not have personality disorder or a split personality. It’s bad enough to have to suffer this major psychosis without having to have other erroneous concepts thrown at you as well.
What are the major symptoms of schizophrenia?
- False beliefs which are obviously incorrect. For example believing that the voice on the radio is coming from someone who can see you. Or that there are aliens in the bathroom.
- Paranoia and illusions. For example that people are looking at you, talking about you, plotting against you, out to cause you harm.
- Inappropriate social behaviours. For example making sexual advances that seem utterly out of place or outrageous.
- Visual and auditory hallucinations. Seeing things that don’t exist or more commonly hearing voices that to the patient seem absolutely real as if there was actually someone in the room talking to them. These voices may be hostile and jeering or friendly and supportive but to the sufferer they are real.
Early warning signs of schizophrenia
It is important that schizophrenia is diagnosed as early as possible so as treatment can be commenced before the patient becomes entrenched in their illusions and delusions. Here are some of the early warning signs of schizophrenia:
- Social withdrawal and distracted
- Hostility or suspiciousness
- Deterioration of personal hygiene
- Flat, expressionless gaze
- Inability to cry or express joy
- Inappropriate laughter or crying
- Oversleeping or insomnia
- Odd or irrational statements
- Forgetful; unable to concentrate
- Extreme reaction to criticism
- Strange use of words or way of speaking
If you are worried about the behaviour of a friend or a loved one or are worried by aspects of your own thoughts, feelings or experiences, then we are here to help you. We are a group on healthcare professionals offering an Online Medical Consultation service. This is easy, fast affordable and private. It is also incredible stress free. It can start here with a free medical assessment now.