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Psychiatry: 4 Important Facts About Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a type of chronic mental illness that influences the way an individual perceives reality and manages emotions. It can make functioning normally in society extremely difficult for individuals living with the disorder. While the condition is fairly common and affects approximately 1% of the population, there are many misconceptions surrounding it. Learning the truth about schizophrenia can enable individuals to know when to seek help and can aid in removing the negative stigma that is often associated with this mental illness.
4 things to know about schizophrenia
Continue reading to learn four important facts about schizophrenia.
1. The exact cause is unknown
While it is not known exactly what causes schizophrenia, there are certain factors that can make a person more likely to develop this condition. For instance, some people seem to have a genetic disposition to the illness since it runs in families. Also, many people with schizophrenia have a slightly different brain structure, which is sometimes affected by birth complications such as being born prematurely or with a low birth weight.
Additionally, some studies have found that an imbalance between dopamine and serotonin might be the primary cause of the disorder. There are also several environmental factors that can trigger the condition, including stressful life events and drug abuse.
2. There are five main subtypes
While the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -V" no longer includes subtypes of schizophrenia, traditionally there are five main forms of the condition:
- Paranoid schizophrenia
- Disorganized schizophrenia
- Catatonic schizophrenia
- Undifferentiated schizophrenia
- Residual schizophrenia
The symptoms of these five subtypes vary widely, with some patients experiencing consistent delusions and hallucinations and others remaining mostly immobile and rigid. In the past, patients would be diagnosed with one of these based on the predominant symptom. However, the American Psychiatric Association decided these categories were not helpful since many patients' symptoms often change and overlap.
3. There are three types of symptoms
Symptoms of schizophrenia typically begin to show during late adolescence or early adulthood for men or in the early 20s and 30s for women. There are three many categories of symptoms. Positive symptoms include added psychotic behaviors or experiences such as having hallucinations or struggling with delusions. Negative symptoms generally involve the lack of certain characteristics, such a flattened emotion or reduced speech and energy. Cognitive symptoms impair a person’s mental abilities, making it hard for them to focus or remember information.
4. Treatment can help
Unfortunately, 10% of people with schizophrenia commit suicide. While there is no cure for the condition, a variety of treatments can reduce symptoms. Patients are often prescribed antipsychotic medication and attend therapy sessions. Another type of special treatment used in patients first diagnosed with the condition is Coordinated Specialty Care. Individuals with very severe symptoms or suicidal behaviors may require hospitalization.
Knowing the facts about schizophrenia can assist people with the condition in getting the help they need. It is important that anyone showing symptoms of this mental illness receives treatment as soon as possible.
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