4113 Schizophrenia



This is a group of severe brain disorders in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in a combination of delusions, hallucinations and disordered behaviour and thinking. This is a chronic condition which requires lifelong treatment.

The symptoms of this condition can also be attributed to other mental illnesses and no one single symptom can pinpoint a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia symptoms in men begin in the 20s, whereas in women, the symptoms typically begin in the late 20s or early 30s.

The signs and symptoms of Schizophrenia are divided into three categories - positive, negative and cognitive.

Positive symptoms reflect an excess or distortion of normal functions which may include:

• Delusions

• Hallucinations

• Thought disorder

• Disorganized behaviour

Negative symptoms refer to a diminishment or absence of characteristics of normal function which may appear with or without positive symptoms.

• Loss of motivation

• Social withdrawal

• Loss of interest in day to day activities

• Neglect of personal hygiene

• Appearing to lack emotion

• A reduced ability to plan to carry out activities

Cognitive symptoms involve problems with thought processes.

• Problems with making sense of information

• Memory problems

• Difficulty paying attention

Symptoms in teenagers include:

The symptoms are similar to those in adults but the condition may be more complex to recognize in this age group, partly because some of the early symptoms in teenagers are common during teen years such as:

• Irritability

• Difficulty sleeping

• A drop in performance at school

• Withdrawal from friends and family

• Less likely to have delusions

• More likely to have visual hallucinations

Individuals with schizophrenia often lack awareness that their difficulties stem from a mental illness that requires medical attention and hence, the responsibility falls to family or friends to get them help!


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