(Also Known As: Paranoid Schizophrenia, Schizophrenic, Delusional, Psychosis)
(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness that involves a severe and highly disabling mental disorder of the brain. The mental disorder involved in Schizophrenia is one that is characterized by the person’s abnormal perceptions and expression of reality. The character of a Schizophrenic is manifested with auditory hallucinations, bizarre delusion, paranoid personality, a dysfunctional social and occupational life, with disorganized thinking and speech.1
Schizophrenics suffer from an inability to think clearly and distinguish reality from fantasy. They are clearly having difficulty in managing their emotions, make decisions, and are unable to relate with others well. Many have been stigmatized for being Schizophrenic, mostly owing to the lack of public education about the condition.
The World Health Organization identified Schizophrenia as one of the 10 most debilitating disorders that affects human beings. Those affected with Schizophrenia may hear voices which other people do not normally hear. Some would even believe that others can read their minds and thoughts or may be plotting to harm them. Fearfulness, agitation and withdrawal are the common consequences of these experiences by Schizophrenics. Those with Schizophrenia may endure sitting long hours without talking or moving and oftentimes they do not make sense when they talk. Some with Schizophrenia may look normal until they talk about what they are actually thinking.
Schizophrenia affects both men and women equally. The first symptoms of Schizophrenia often emerge in the teenage years or the early 20’s, but often occur later in females.2 Schizophrenia seldom occurs beyond the age of 45 and rarely if not before puberty.3
The chronic pattern of Schizophrenia results in a higher level of disability, however the symptoms are treatable with medications thereby reducing the distressing consequences of Schizophrenia. While medication treatment is effective there are some persisting consequences for Schizophrenics such as social stigma, loss of opportunities, medication side effects and residual symptoms of Schizophrenia.
The acute phase of Schizophrenia occurs with the sudden onset of severe symptoms of psychosis. Psychosis is typically preceded with less obvious symptoms of withdrawal, social isolation and unusual patterns of thinking, speech and behavior.
Chronic Schizophrenia usually involves a recurring and continuous pattern of illness that normally does not recover to a normal functioning. They typically require longer treatment with medications in order to control their symptoms. Schizophrenics are at high risk of committing suicide. They are likely to be withdrawn and not prone to violence except for those with records of criminal violence or drug and alcohol abuse before they become ill with Schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia has co-morbidity with other conditions such as alcoholism and drug abuse, which can worsen the condition. Other mental disorders may also be associated with Schizophrenia such as Panic Disorder, INTERNAL Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder], INTERNAL Schizoid Personality Disorder: Schizoid Personality Disorder], INTERNAL Schizotypal Personality Disorder: Schizotypal Personality Disorder] and paranoid disorder which may precede the development of Schizophrenia. Common misconceptions about Schizophrenia is that it involves split personalities, however Schizophrenics are more like being taken away from the real world, allowing them to manifest a “split personality”, but Schizophrenia is far different from INTERNAL Dissociative Identity Disorder: Multiple Personality Disorder].
There are 3 basic types of Schizophrenia as follows:
Could You Have Schizophrenia?
|Bipolar Disorder – Psychosis, Hallucinations, Delusions, Suicide, Hypomania, Hypermania|
|Borderline Personality Disorder – Mood Variations/Changes, Unstable Interpersonal Relationships, Dissociation|
|Schizotypal Personality Disorder – Social Isolation, Odd Behavior, Unconventional Beliefs, Paranoia, Social Anxiety|