Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder which affects nearly 1 percent of the population. A person with this mental disorder suffers from hallucinations, delusions, paranoia etc. It affects how a person thinks and manages their day to day tasks. The people suffering from this mental illness often have ‘anosognosia’, which loosely means the person hesitates to accept their illness.
Facts about Schizophrenia
- Nearly 1% of the world’s population is suffering from this mental disorder
- 1% of the American population suffers from this medical illness
- In India, 3 out of 1000 individuals suffer from schizophrenia
- It is more common in men and is more prevalent in people between the ages of 16 to 30
- Schizophrenia is not just one illness is a combination of many mental illnesses acting up together
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
- Positive Symptoms: These symptoms include psychotic symptoms like delusions and hallucinations. A person loses the touch of reality and it becomes difficult for them to tell apart what’s real and what’s not. People with these symptoms tend to have a loss of concentration, confused thinking which may also lead to false witnessing of events and hearing voices.
- Negative Symptoms: Negative symptoms are related to a person’s way of acting up to a situation. They lack motivation and facial expression. Often looking dull and like they have lost interest in everything. The person becomes less active and speaks less. This symptom can easily be confused with depression.
- Cognitive Symptoms: This symptom can be subtle for some people and aggressive for others. These symptoms affect the thought process of the person making it harder for them to take any decision. Poor concentration, anosognosia are some of the examples of cognitive symptoms.
Causes of Schizophrenia
A person with a family member [more likely a parent or a sibling] suffering from this mental illness has a 10% chance of developing it while a person with no family history has only a 1% chance of developing it. It has been found in many studies that no single gene is responsible for this disorder and is caused by the combination of many different genes.
Scientists have concluded that the brain structure of a person can play an important role in developing this disorder. Problems during the development of the brain can lead to faulty connections which may lead to this mental illness. The chemical imbalance of dopamine and glutamate [neurotransmitters] can also lead to schizophrenia. A person’s brain goes through various changes during puberty which can also cause some of these symptoms.
Just like every other mental illness, environment plays an important role in causing this illness as well. Living with trauma, in stressful conditions, malnutrition, problems while giving birth and viral infections have been associated with this disorder.
Many studies suggest that using drugs like marijuana and LSD can lead to schizophrenia. The use of mind-altering drugs can lead to psychotic experiences which may develop into the illness later in life. The longer the use the greater are the risks of developing this mental disorder.
Schizophrenia is one of the most severe mental illnesses out there. People suffering from it need help and care. They need your time and understanding. Sometimes because of the delusions and hallucinations, it might get difficult for them to hold a job or do other jobs but the thing is they are doing their best just like we all are. It is not necessary to see a person suffering from this disorder as a different person altogether, what is necessary is to recognise the person as an individual who needs a little bit more of your time to be understood.
This article was not just written to create awareness about this mental disorder but to also urge the people out there to help the people who suffer from this mental illness. It is not easy to ask for help when you are suffering from something that most of the people around you doesn’t even know about, and it is definitely not easy to confront yourself and acknowledge that you have been suffering from a mental illness.
Hope this article create some awareness although a lot of people in developed countries already know about all this, the people in underdeveloped countries still have a lot to learn when it comes to mental health and mental illness. But this doesn’t mean that people in these countries don’t go through these issues. Just because who weren’t aware of this mental disorder doesn’t mean that there are no people around you who have this disorder. There might be a person around you a friend, a colleague, a family member or a neighbour who is going through all of this alone and after reading this you might be able to help them or atleast be with. Don’t just sit there look around there might be a person who needs your help and that person can even be you. If you feel like it is you then please go get help. See a psychiatrist or talk to someone who can help.