Mental Illness And Schizophrenia

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Mental illness can affect anyone at any time. Indeed, one in four will experience a mental health problem at some point. Schizophrenia is one of the most severe types of mental illness and affects around 1% of the population across the world. Both males and females develop schizophrenia in roughly equal numbers but males are more likely to develop it between the ages of 15 and 25 whereas females are more likely to show the first signs of schizophrenia slightly later.

What causes schizophrenia?

No one really knows what causes schizophrenia or why it might develop in one individual and not another, but scientists are making progress towards a greater understanding of what might lie at the roots of schizophrenia. For example, there is now a growing consensus that schizophrenia may not be just one mental illness but could in fact be a whole range of conditions for which there could be several different causes. There certainly is a genetic element to schizophrenia and scientists have been able to identify several different genes that appear to play a role.

What changes are there in someone with a mental illness like Schizophrenia?

People with schizophrenia have difficulty interpreting and making sense of reality. They can experience hallucinations, which is basically seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting, or touching things that are not really there but which seem very real to the person affected by schizophrenia.

They may also have delusions which can be defined as ‘false beliefs’ or believing something which is not true. These delusions can take the form of delusions of grandeur where the individual might really believe they are a famous personality or a religious figure, or an important individual in society, or that they can fly, that they have special magical powers or can communicate telepathically with others.

Delusions can also take the form of delusions of persecution with an individual believing that others are out to do them harm, or that their neighbours are spying on them, that they are being followed, or that family members are conspiring against them. Obviously if the person with schizophrenia has delusions and hallucinations that back each other up the implications are much more serious.

Disorganised thought processes are also very common with an individual finding it difficult to concentrate or connect thoughts together. The mind can go blank or thought processes might slow down or speed up. Other changes in the person with schizophrenia can include the so called negative symptoms such as lack of emotion, lack of motivation, lack of facial expressions and general disinterest in life.

A person with schizophrenia will often neglect themselves and their appearance and withdraw socially or respond in an inappropriate way to social situations. The risk of suicide is high.

The symptoms of schizophrenia do vary significantly from person to person so the experience of schizophrenia will be different for everyone.

The importance of getting help

Anyone showing signs of schizophrenia is advised to seek help as soon as possible as there is evidence that the longer treatment is delayed the worse the outlook is likely to be. Fortunately, with the right treatment, help and support, many individuals do go on to lead very full and satisfying lives and around a quarter of those experiencing an episode of psychosis will go on to make a full recovery.

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1 Comment

  1. subin p john
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    good ..but i need more?

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