Schizophrenia is a disorder that alters a person’s perception of reality. It may cause difficulty in discerning what is real and what is not. Schizophrenics often find it difficult to manage their emotions or relate to other people. They frequently experience auditory and visual hallucinations and experience confused thoughts. As a result, people with schizophrenia may withdraw from society out of fear. Schizophrenia may occur suddenly or there may be early warning signs. It is not a rare disorder. There is a 1 percent risk of developing the disorder among the general population. Schizophrenia may often be difficult to diagnose since other mental disorders have similar symptoms.
There is a greater chance of developing schizophrenia if another family member has been diagnosed. Schizophrenia has been linked to genetics and tends to run in families. It may also be caused by environmental factors such as prenatal or infant viral infections, reduced oxygen levels during birth and traumatic events during childhood. Stress has been known to trigger schizophrenia as well. It may result in the body’s overproduction of the hormone cortisol. Brain abnormalities have also been observed in patients with schizophrenia. The brain ventricles are enlarged, indicative of deficient brain tissue. There is lower than normal activity in the frontal lobe, the region of the brain responsible for reasoning and making decisions.
The symptoms of schizophrenia are much different than portrayed by the media. It is commonly believed that schizophrenics have multiple personalities. Schizophrenia is different than dissociative identity disorder, a disorder that is marked by multiple personalities. Schizophrenics often experience depression, find it difficult to concentrate and appear to stare with an expressionless gaze. Sleep disorders including insomnia and oversleeping are common. They frequently have delusions that they are being persecuted or believe someone is out to get them. Other symptoms include speaking in an unintelligible language and displaying inappropriate emotions.
Although they may act out from fear or confusion, schizophrenics are almost never dangerous to others. As the condition progresses, schizophrenics may exhibit bizarre behavior and lack control over their impulses. They lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, become unmotivated and display little awareness or interest in their environment. People with schizophrenia are at high risk for committing suicide, especially during psychotic episodes. There is no cure for schizophrenia, but its symptoms can be treated and controlled. The disorder is commonly treated with medications and therapy. Treatment is more successful when it is diagnosed in the early stages. With proper treatment, schizophrenics are able to control their symptoms and lead productive and satisfying lives.