Schizophrenia is a fatal mental illness. If it is not treated properly then its patient can even commit suicide. According to statistics, there are about twenty to thirty million patients of schizophrenia all over the world. There are millions of victims in India too. This is a serious disease and there should be more awareness about it. Let us first know what schizophrenia is.
What is schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental illness in which the patient experiences illusions which are true in real life but he believes and feels them as being true. He may also have frightening dreams. Further, a patient is seen walking or standing in the sleep state and also talking unknowingly with the shadows, thinking those to be a true person around him. This is a complex mental state. The disease usually occurs at a young age or in adolescence. Men have the disease at a younger age than women. It is often not possible for the patient to get to know and understand this disease by himself and due to this, its patients often get trapped in the deep marsh of this disease. We all need to be aware of the symptoms of schizophrenia so that we can identify anyone suffering from it and help him treated early.
Symptoms of schizophrenia-
Doctors divided the symptoms of schizophrenia into four main categories. Positive symptoms, negative symptoms, cognitive symptoms, and emotional symptoms. Let us understand these in detail.
1. Delusions and Hallucinations –
Delusions and hallucinations are both positive symptoms of schizophrenia. Such a patient has many kinds of delusions that have no relation to reality. He may also have a major delusion that dominates his thinking such as the delusion of being rich and most powerful and having divine powers. Most patients have the delusion of being persecuted and intimidated by someone. They feel that someone is around them and asks them to do their work.
Patients with schizophrenia report hearing strange sounds, they feel a strange scent or taste, which is not really around them. They see and feel some things or people or shadows that in reality do not exist. Many similar symptoms are seen in such patients.
2. Lack of motivation and disconnection from society-
Such symptoms are counted as negative symptoms of schizophrenia. In this, the desire of doing anything in the patient ceases, he does not even like to do everyday work, he remains depressed and feels isolated. He is afraid of getting mixed up with other people because he thinks an unknown person wants to kill or harm him.
3. Thinking disorder and not accepting illness-
The power to understand and think gets distorted for such a patient. He does not understand any logic and keeps talking on his own. Such a person is not able to concentrate on anything and when the severity of the disease increases, he is not able to even talk properly. The hallucinations and delusions seen by such a schizophrenia patient seem so real that he never believes that he is suffering from such a disease rather he believes that whatever he is seeing or hearing is true. In such a situation he refuses to take medicines because he feels he is being poisoned in the name of medicine. Doctors call these symptoms as cognitive symptoms.
4. Unable to express feelings-
The fourth major category of symptoms of schizophrenia exhibited as the problem of not being able to express the feelings. Such patients do not understand what is happiness and what is sadness. Therefore, the patient becomes indifferent, his face becomes expressionless.
After understanding the symptoms of schizophrenia, let us explore the possible causes.
Causes of schizophrenia-
The exact causes of schizophrenia are not completely clearly identified and the research is still going on on this disease. According to the experts, here are some of the major reasons behind the development of schizophrenia.
1. Genetic Causes-
If an immediate family member of a person has had schizophrenia, then such a person is also likely to develop schizophrenia. But it is not necessarily true in most cases. Based on the history of one of the parents having schizophrenia, the probability of a person having schizophrenia increases from the normal person, but even then this probability is very less.
2. Due to chemical imbalance in the brain-
According to medical science, a neurotransmitter is found in our brain named dopamine. If there is an imbalance in the same, then it can cause schizophrenia. Similarly, imbalance in other neurotransmitters such as serotonin can also cause this disease.
3. Stress or a low standard of living in the family-
Some experts believe that the most sensitive person in that family is likely to have schizophrenia in a family where there is a lack of love and the environment is extremely stressed and tense. Similarly, if someone’s standard of living is very low and he is not happy with his standard of living and is struggling too hard, then the chances of developing mental illnesses are higher than normal. However, the chances of having schizophrenia are lesser than other mental diseases.
4. Schizophrenia in the child due to stress during pregnancy –
Some doctors believe that the chances of developing schizophrenia are higher if the mother is under a lot of stress during pregnancy or has a viral infection or a disease like smallpox.
5. Stressful lifestyle-
Although the experts are not unanimous about the stressful lifestyle, it is believed that people who are under stress for a long time and cannot speak their minds to anyone and share their problems with someone may develop many common mental disorders. The possibility of these disorders later developing into the schizophrenia cannot be ruled out.
6. Consumption of intoxicants-
Any type of intoxication is harmful, but people who consume drugs, etc. are more at risk of developing schizophrenia because the drugs can cause chemical imbalances in their brain. Some doctors believe that taking certain medicines such as steroids or stimulants etc. can also increase the risk of schizophrenia.
Treatment of schizophrenia-
It is a matter of great sadness that no suitable cure for this deadly disease has been found so far. But it has been seen that if this disease is detected in the initial phase then it can be brought completely under control. If the willpower of the victim and the will of the person treating him is strong, then it is possible to cure it.
Psychiatric counseling and several sessions of psychotherapy are done for the ill person for the treatment. With proper treatment, the early symptoms of schizophrenia are quickly eradicated. Yes, it can take a long time for most patients to get rid of schizophrenia symptoms with psychological counseling and some medications.