The term schizophrenia, when literally translated, means "split mind." Typically a person with schizophrenia has an altered perception of reality which manifests itself in vivid hallucinations and delusions (that can be very paranoid in nature) and confused speech, which is often reflective of confused thinking. Usually when people think of schizophrenia they think of someone with multiple personality disorder, but the two are vastly different. Multiple Personality Disorder exists within a single person. Schizophrenia is when the personalities and delusions take on a life outside of the person with the disease.
Nobody is really sure what causes schizophrenia. Some scientists think that the disease could be genetic, a result of childhood environment, a person's neurobiology and outside psychological and social factors. Most research about the disease has focused thus far on neurobiology, but so far no clear cause has been determined. There is still some debate as to whether schizophrenia is its own disease or if it is just a manifestation of the symptoms of a number of other diseases.
The disease typically becomes manifest in early adulthood and the diagnosis is based upon observation and the patient's testimony about their experiences and behaviours. To date there is no specific medical test that can be performed to definitely diagnose a person with schizophrenia.
A person who suffers from schizophrenia will often have hallucinations, delusions and disorganized thinking. People with severe cases of schizophrenia often experience periods of catatonia. They also usually think that they are being controlled by an outside force and that something outside of themselves is inserting thoughts into their minds. Sometimes they will think that other people can hear what they are thinking and it is not uncommon for a schizophrenic to hear a voice outside of themselves talking to them, even though nobody else seems to be able to hear it. This does not mean, however, that every person who "hears voices" from time to time suffers from schizophrenia. The condition needs to be consistently present for at one month of an at least six month period of irregular functioning before a diagnosis can be made.
The most common form of treatment comes in the form of antipsychotic medications which suppress the brain's dopamine production activity. In recent years the dosages have decreased dramatically since drugs took over as the primary form of treatment. Social rehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation and psychotherapy are also very important to the treatment of schizophrenia. Sometimes, in the most serious cases of the disease, hospitalization is required, but that is usually used as a last resort or if a doctor determines that there the Schizophrenic is an immediate risk to him/herself or others. Along with lowering the doses of the anti-psychotic drugs, hospital stays have become much shorter than they were when doctors first started trying to treat the disease.
Schizophrenia primarily affects the brain's cognitive functions; it also has effect on emotions and behaviour. Schizophrenics also commonly suffer from anxiety disorders and clinical depression and about forty percent of them have reported having substance abuse proble
Signs of Schizophrenia Tip #1
Schizophrenia is not the same thing as having multiple personality disorder. In multiple personality disorder a person has a number of independent identities that all share one host body. Typically one of the personalities is dominant and the others exist under the surface. With Schizophrenia, there could be independent personalities but the person suffering from the disease believes that these identities exist outside of him or herself.
Signs of Schizophrenia Tip #2
There are different types of schizophrenia. The most widely known is that of paranoid schizophrenia in which the schizophrenic believes that there are people who are out to "get" him (or her). Commonly the patient associates himself with an elite group and believes that it is his membership with that group that has made him a target of others.
Signs of Schizophrenia Tip #3
Schizophrenia is normally treated with anti-psychotic drugs. There are new drugs being developed all the time. Other treatments include Electro Convulsive Therapy in which the patient is driven to convulsions by receiving a series of shocks to the brain. This treatment is thought to fix the electrochemical balance of the brain.