By Sharon A Bell
Schizophrenia is the most common and severe form of psychosis or thought disorder. It affects both men and women and appears to run in families. Because the exact cause of this condition is unknown, it may be difficult to treat and is usually permanent.
“About one percent of the population has schizophrenia, which is a disease of disorganization of social and psychological function including social withdrawal and eccentric behavior,” according to Drs. Donald S. Kornfeld and Philip R. Muskin in “The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Complete Home Medical Guide.”
There are many types of schizophrenia. In the catatatonic type, the patient may exhibit excitement and lack of interest alternately. In disorganized schizophrenia, the person is incoherent and either has no emotions or shows the wrong ones at the wrong time. Paranoid schizophrenia is characterized by bizarre delusions. The individual may believe that he or she is a famous star, is being chased by aliens or being hunted by agents who want to kill him or her.
“There may be a loosening of associations, with the affected person’s conversation jumping from one idea to a completely unrelated one. Or the schizophrenic may chatter away and yet fail to convey any information. Speech is vague, very abstract, or repetitive. The schizophrenic may play with language, making up new words that seem highly important but make no sense to anyone else,” said Dr. David E. Larson, editor-in-chief of the “Mayo Clinic Family Health Book.”
Schizophrenia may appear during adolescence or in late adulthood. The former is marked by lack of interest in social activities and personal hygiene. The schizophrenic’s face is expressionless and his attire is strange or eccentric. He talks in an unusual way and his statements may sound humorous or absurd. In between those bouts of disordered behavior, the schizophrenic may seem normal at times.
“Hallucinations are common, and the person is especially likely to hear voices, although schizophrenia is not to be confused with cases of multiple personality. The schizophrenic’s face tends to be expressionless and the voice is a monotone. The normal sense of self has been lost,” Larson added.
The second variety of schizophrenia often appears in the late 20s or early 30s. Abnormal speech, thought and behavior patterns usually arise from a stressful event.
Severe forms of schizophrenia, especially if the patient appears to be dangerous to himself/herself or to others, is best treated in a hospital. Treatment includes electro-shock therapy (which uses electric current to treat depressive disorders), antipsychotic drugs to reduce excitement and improve the person’s thought processes, and psychotherapy (a method of treating emotional problems by means of establishing a good relationship between the therapist and the patient).
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Sharon Bell is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine www.HealthLinesNews.com
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