What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a group of disorders with variable signs and symptoms, the manifestations of which differ across patients and over time, with severe and long lasting effects. It involves changes in one’s thoughts, cognition, emotions, perception and behavior.
Are Hallucinations and paranoia the only symptoms of schizophrenia?
No. Schizophrenia includes a variety of symptoms, including-
- Hallucinations- visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile and gustatory.
- Disorganized speech
- Disorganized or catatonic behavior
- Negative symptoms
If the individual has any two or more of these symptoms for at least a period of 1 month, with continuous signs of disturbance persisting for 6 months, then the person may have this illness.
What is a hallucination?
Hallucination refers to perceiving something that is not actually present. Hallucination can be of various types- visual (when the person sees something that is not present in reality), auditory (when the person can hear voices that aren’t really present), olfactory (the experience of sensing smells that aren’t present), tactile (false perception of a touch sensation) and gustatory (false perception of taste).
What is a delusion?
A delusion refers to misperception of a certain stimulus. Delusions can also be of different types, such as delusions of reference (wherein a person feels that the other person(s) is referring to him/her even when they are not), of persecution (the belief that someone if out there to hurt me), of thought broadcasting (the belief that whatever one is thinking, other people will get to know without the person telling them), of thought insertion (the belief that someone is trying to insert thought in one’s mind and that our thoughts are under someone else’s control), etc.
What is disorganized speech?
Disorganized speech is usually a manifestation of disorganized patterns of thought. Frequent derailment of thought or incoherence in speech are some examples of disorganized speech.
What is Catatonic Behavior?
Individuals with schizophrenia may assume bizarre bodily postures for long periods of time, may have a rigid stance or disturbance in motor activities. The individual may engage in repetitive and purposeless behavior or may experience a state of immobility or stupor. Such behaviors are termed as catatonic.
What are Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia?
Negative symptoms refer to behaviors that show a reduction in emotional responsiveness, motivation or socialization. They include poverty of speech or thought, blunted affect (showing lesser emotions), flat affect (showing no emotions at all), lack of interest in activities that were found interesting and pleasurable previously, reduction in speech, social withdrawal or isolation, anhedonia (being unable to experience pleasure), sexual problems and profound lethargy.
Is there any treatment for Schizophrenia?
Treatment for schizophrenia includes pharmacological treatment (to be done by a qualified psychiatrist) accompanied by psychotherapy. Effective treatment methods can help individuals with schizophrenia lead productive lives.
*It is essential to seek professional help in case someone you know is suffering from similar symptomatology.
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