What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a disease that is confusing to most people. It is a disease of the mind, but it often gets confused with multiple personality disorder. This confusion partly comes from the fact that scientists believed for a great deal of time that multiple personality disorder was a manifestation of schizophrenia and would use the terms interchangeably. This article is to serve as a basic answer to people who would like to know what is schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder. It usually comes on in the late teen years and/or the early years of adulthood though it can manifest itself at any stage of life. The symptoms are wide and varied and are often also associated with other diseases that can make diagnosing the disease a difficult process.
The following are the common symptoms of schizophrenia:
Delusions: Often a person suffering from schizophrenia will hold beliefs that do not affect other people. For instance, a person with schizophrenia might believe that they are being followed or hunted down. They might believe that their thoughts are being broadcast for the rest of the world to hear or that they have superpowers or special abilities that they do not have.
Hallucinations: Hallucinations usually are in the form of voices that only the schizophrenic can hear. These voices seem to come from outside the schizophrenic’s head (a major differentiating point between schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder). Sometimes the voices do not have a physical point of origin. They might also see, feel, taste or smell things that are not there.
Disorganized Speech: People with schizophrenia often talk in ways that are difficult for other people to understand. They might jumble up the words of their sentences or try to talk about several topics at once without connecting their sentences to any central theme.
Once you have learned what is schizophrenia, you might want to learn about the treatments available. Unfortunately, there is not yet a cure for the disease but there are several ways of treating it and minimizing the effect of the symptoms.
Medication is the most straightforward form of treatment. Unfortunately, finding the right medication can take quite a bit of time. Each drug needs to be tested for at least a month before determining whether it is effective. Often the medications used to treat schizophrenia are also anti-psychotic drugs and have several severe side effects. The schizophrenic patient needs to be honest with his or her psychiatrist about each drug that is tried.
Therapy is the other major form of treatment. Therapy can come in the form of individual sessions with a psychiatrist as well as family and group therapy. Group and family therapy is important to help the person suffering from schizophrenia learn to deal with his or her disease in a social and familial context. It is also good for the family of the patient as it will help them learn to deal with the disease from the outside. The family needs to understand what is schizophrenia.