SCHIZOPHRENIA

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that usually appears in late adolescence or early adulthood. Characterized by delusions, hallucinations, and other cognitive difficulties.Schizophrenia affects approximately 1 percent of all adults, globally.

The symptoms are classified into four categories:

  • Positive symptoms – also known as psychotic symptoms. For example, delusions and hallucinations.

  • Negative symptoms – these refer to elements that are taken away from the individual. For example, absence of facial expressions or lack of motivation.

  • Cognitive symptoms – these affect the person’s thought processes. They may be positive or negative symptoms, for example, poor concentration is a negative symptom.

  • Emotional symptoms – these are usually negative symptoms, such as blunted emotions.

Below is a list of the major symptoms:

  • Delusions – the patient displays false beliefs, which can take many forms, such as delusions of persecution, or delusions of grandeur. They may feel others are attempting to control them remotely. Or, they may think they have extraordinary powers and abilities.

  • Hallucinations – hearing voices is much more common than seeing, feeling, tasting, or smelling things which are not there, however, people with schizophrenia may experience a wide range of hallucinations.

  • Thought disorder – the person may jump from one subject to another for no logical reason. The speaker may be hard to follow or erratic.

 

Other symptoms may include:

  • Lack of motivation (avolition) – the patient loses their drive. Everyday actions, such as washing and cooking, are neglected.

  • Poor expression of emotions – responses to happy or sad occasions may be lacking, or inappropriate.

  • Social withdrawal – when a patient with schizophrenia withdraws socially, it is often because they believe somebody is going to harm them.

  • Unawareness of illness – as the hallucinations and delusions seem so real for patients, many of them may not believe they are ill. They may refuse to take medication for fear of side effects, or for fear that the medication may be poison, for example.

  • Cognitive difficulties – the patient’s ability to concentrate, recall things, plan ahead, and to organize their life are affected. Communication becomes more difficult.