Schizophrenia is a very serious mental disorder that is a form of psychosis and involves differences in the way one thinks, feels, and acts. Patients with schizophrenia often find it difficult to understand what is real and what is imaginary.
They have illusions, delusions and are isolated, while it is not easy to adapt to the social environment. This can be observed in early adolescence or at any age of a person. Schizophrenia is not associated with divided or multiple personalities.
The majority of patients are non-violent and do not pose a risk to those around them. It is very important to be diagnosed early and get the right treatment, which will usually be for a long time. If the patient follows the treatment faithfully, he can usually live a normal life without symptoms.
Symptoms of schizophrenia
Schizophrenia manifests itself differently in each person. The symptoms from person to person may vary. It is difficult to find the root cause of it. It changes the way one thinks and behaves. Before the first observable symptom, the person reflects the changes such as change of behavior, unexpected reactions, change in way of expression, keeping away from people.
The symptoms are classified into three types Positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms.
The positive symptoms mean the nature of showing certain factors that are related to psychosis.
- Irrational thoughts/delirium: This is one of the common symptoms observed. The person gets often gets delusional or bizarre ideas like someone is out to get you, or the thought that you are the most powerful or influential person, or that your thoughts are controlled by someone other.
- Hallucination: The person often tends to hear false voices and sounds. It is sometimes visual hallucinations too like being called by someone, someone talking to him or her. All these things are just the creation of the mind, existing in the mind. Hallucinations are often encountered when they are alone.
- Disorganized Speech: The person might respond to a question with an unrelated answer, repeating certain words, echoing the last words heard or spoken, copying someone who’s speaking, using meaningless words, forgetting the meaning of words, or using self-made words.
The negative symptoms mean the person showing a deficit of certain natural human behaviors. These symptoms affect the quality of life, degrading the functional outcome.
- Emotional Coldness: The person fails to show the reactions towards the emotional sentiments. No facial expression, no modulation in voice i.e. maintaining flat voice while expressing excitement or grief, avoiding eye contact.
- Avolition: The person lacks the interest in doing work, lacks the motivation or encouragement to do the work. The work done would be hasty or not proper.
- Alogia: The person loses the grip over the speech. The quality of speech degrades.
- Asociality: The person becomes more anti-social. Forms fewer relations and maintains few of them. Becomes less engaging is a self-keeper.
- Indifference in daily activities: The person follows the same activities over the day. There would be almost no change in the routine of work done.
The cognitive symptoms are the symptoms related to intellectual behaviors, deficit of these behaviors is one of the string factors towards the diagnosis of Schizophrenia. During the first episode of psychosis, these symptoms get worst but gradually return to baseline.
Neurocognition: It affects the ability to remember things or receive things in an intended way. The person may start getting forgetful, fails at reasoning, lacking verbal memory, degrading in processing speed.
Social cognition: It affects a person’s ability to understand self or others in the surroundings.