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Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia belongs to a group of mental illnesses known as psychotic conditions. Someone who suffers from a condition of this nature is usually unable to distinguish their own thoughts and ideas from normal situations in real life.

Schizophrenia usually occurs in men that are aged between fifteen and thirty and in women who are between twenty five and thirty. A combination of genetics and environmental factors are believed to be involved in how it manifests itself.

Signs and symptoms

  1. Hallucinations or visions. The sufferer will see or hear things that do not exist. They will be unshakable in their conviction of what they are seeing and hearing, convinced everyone else can sense it too.
  2. Disturbed thought patterns which develop as a direct result of the hallucinations or visions.
  3. Delusional behaviour. This could be caused by the sufferer believing they have a voice in their head telling them to act or behave in a certain way.

There are many misconceptions associated with schizophrenia. Firstly, it is believed that people who have this condition may have violent tendencies or become enraged easily. This isn’t true. A sufferer of this condition is no more or less likely than the next person to suffer from violent outbursts.
Secondly, it is widely believed that schizophrenics have split or dual personalities that are changed at will. This, again, is untrue. It is more accurate to say that sufferers will experience episodes of dysfunction and disorder in their minds.

Treatments

The first line here is a programme of anti-psychotic medications to help stabilise the brain’s chemistry. Sometimes, the sufferer may have to undertake a short stay in hospital in order to get the medication levels adjusted correctly. Schizophrenia is a condition that needs ongoing and long-term psychological intervention, with regular therapeutic sessions combined with visits from trained mental health workers to assess the sufferers continued ability to look after themselves. Sometimes, family therapy will be offered to help support not only the sufferer, but the relatives too who may need educating in how to deal with the sufferers daily needs and requirements so that they can continue to live as normal a life as possible.

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