The Difference Between Acute Schizophrenia And Chronic Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia develops in around 1% of the population and affects males and females in roughly equal numbers although males are likely to develop schizophrenia in young adulthood between the ages of 15 and 25 and females slightly later. As schizophrenia usually starts in young adults, this is the most likely time to experience acute schizophrenia.

Acute schizophrenia is when a person who was previously healthy starts to display odd behaviour and develops symptoms of schizophrenia over a short period of time. In other words the symptoms appear abruptly and they can either subside or develop into long term chronic schizophrenia.

Some people will only have one episode of psychosis and make a complete recovery whereas others might have many over the course of their lifetime. Some people with schizophrenia might no longer experience psychosis but will still suffer from the so called negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

The statistics

•    25% of people diagnosed with schizophrenia will go on to make a full and complete recovery
•    50% of people diagnosed with schizophrenia will manage their schizophrenia with appropriate treatment and support and have periods of remission where they appear quite well. Many of these can lead full and satisfying lives
•    25% of people diagnosed with schizophrenia will need constant treatment and a high level of support with no periods of remission

Positive and Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia

The symptoms of schizophrenia are classified into ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ symptoms.

The positive symptoms include hallucinations, delusions and disorganised thoughts. Hallucinations can affect any one of the senses but in schizophrenia auditory hallucinations (hearing voices) is the most common. Delusions can take the form of an inflated sense of self importance or paranoia.

The negative symptoms of schizophrenia include a flattening of the emotions and speech, apathy, a general disinterest in life and social withdrawal. People with the negative symptoms of schizophrenia will often neglect themselves and their appearance and alcohol and substance abuse is quite common.

Chronic schizophrenia can be described as the long term state of schizophrenia and although there can be episodes of psychosis; the most common symptoms associated with chronic schizophrenia are the negative symptoms. These can be much more difficult to treat as they do not respond to anti-psychotic medication which can be quite efficient at treating the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. Sometimes anti-depressants are prescribed.

It’s important to get help as soon as the first signs of schizophrenia appear as there is evidence that the longer treatment is delayed when the schizophrenia first develops the worse the long term outlook is likely to be.

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