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WebMD Health Information: Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia Overview: Schizophrenia symptoms include distorted thoughts and hallucinations. Usually starting in young adulthood, schizophrenia can also cause the sufferer to feel frightened and paranoid, sometimes to the point
Schizophrenia is a severe brain disease that interferes with normal brain and mental function—it can trigger hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and significant lack of motivation. Without treatment, Schizophrenia is a severe brain disease and psychiatric illness that, without treatment, interferes with the ability to think clearly, manage emotions, and interact with other people. It causes symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and disorganized thinking. The cause of schizophrenia is not clear. Treatment to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia consists of medications, counseling, and a good support network. Schizophrenia is not the same condition as multiple personality disorder (dissociative identity disorder). schizophrenia aff
There are many theories about the cause of schizophrenia, but none have been proven. Scientists do know that schizophrenia is a disorder affecting the brain.
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. and slowed speech are characteristic. This is a common symptom in schizophrenia and includes difficulty enjoying activities that once brought pleasure. Showing little facial expression. such as playing golf or visiting with friends. Your chance of developing schizophrenia is 10 times greater if your parent or sibling has the disease. having poor eye contact. This can lead to few friendships or social contacts. that can damage an unborn child's developing brain and nervous system. Related Articles • • Schizophrenia . including malnutrition or exposure to a viral infection.5 There may also be a link between the use of illegal drugs and the development of schizophrenia. • Lack of emotion.There is some evidence that genetics may play a role. Many people develop schizophrenia who do not have a relative with this condition.Medications » MORE OTHER ARTICLES Negative symptoms include: • Inability to experience pleasure. Schizophrenia may also be related to problems experienced during pregnancy.What Happens Schizophrenia .2 But having a relative with schizophrenia does not mean you will get this disease. More research is needed to understand the cause Symptoms Symptoms of schizophrenia are divided into two groups: negative and positive.3 Another recent study suggests that a child is at greater risk for developing schizophrenia if the father is older than age 50 when the child is conceived.4 Another possible cause is a head injury in a child who has a parent or sibling with schizophrenia—the head injury may trigger this brain disease if the child is genetically already at risk.2 Recent evidence suggests that treating a pregnant woman who has high blood pressure with diuretics during the third trimester may put the baby at risk for later developing schizophrenia.
These are firmly held but false beliefs. confusion. Negative symptoms usually occur first and can be confused with other health problems such as depression or substance abuse. Substance abuse often occurs before the symptoms of schizophrenia become apparent. wearing dirty clothes. such as jerking eye movements. or always giving a one-word reply to questions. but they can involve all the senses—seeing. or that you are being persecuted or chased by the police or by demons. • Problems focusing or paying attention. touching. or unresponsive to other people. or neglecting living space until it becomes untidy or cluttered. • Delusions.• Loss of motivation to succeed or accomplish goals. Usually the behavior involves being overly excited. • Inappropriate emotions. • Self-neglect. Job or school performance problems are common. hearing. or smelling something that is not there. angry. • Catatonic schizophrenia causes peculiar behaviors such as standing in an awkward position for long periods of time. difficulty processing information. • Bizarre or disorganized behavior. Examples include inappropriate responses to questions. Some people with schizophrenia also have unusual symptoms. It may also include bizarre body movements. such as rocking back and forth or grimacing repeatedly. and fragmented thoughts. such as smiling when speaking of sad topics or laughing for no reason.6 Positive symptoms include: • Hallucinations. such as poor hygiene. Some common experiences include thinking you are a powerful person. depending on the type of schizophrenia you have: • Paranoid schizophrenia causes unreasonable fears due to misinterpretations of what is going on around you. . These usually involve hearing noises or voices. not being able to respond with enough information. Other symptoms can occur. • Disordered (confused) thinking and speech that does not make any sense. tasting.
When symptoms develop gradually.2 Symptoms can also develop in children and younger teens. Author: Jeannette Curtis What Happens Symptoms of schizophrenia usually emerge in the late teens to mid-20s for men and the late 20s to 30s for women. 8 Prodromal phase • Negative symptoms (such as lack of emotion or motivation). which may appear suddenly or slowly over time • • • • • • • Social withdrawal Poor hygiene. The symptoms may either appear suddenly or evolve gradually. and residual.Topic Overview Schizophrenia . such as making up words or constantly rhyming words. Symptoms of schizophrenia usually emerge during adolescence or early adulthood and may appear suddenly or develop gradually.What Increases Your Risk » MORE OTHER ARTICLES There are three phases of disease progression: prodromal. such as wearing dirty clothes or not bathing Loss of interest in school or work Outbursts of anger Unusual or out-of-character behavior Anxiety Confusion or confused speech .• Disorganized schizophrenia causes unusual speech and behavior.7 Related Articles • • Schizophrenia . such as bipolar disorder or substance abuse (which commonly occurs with schizophrenia). active. Men tend to have more severe symptoms and a more difficult time with the effects of schizophrenia than do women. they may be misdiagnosed with other conditions with similar symptoms.6. although this is rare.
Residual phase • • • Positive symptoms tend to become less intense. People with schizophrenia are also at risk for other problems. Up to 30% of people with schizophrenia attempt suicide. You may regain some social and job skills. the negative symptoms (such as lack of emotional response) may get worse. and between 4% and 10% will die by suicide. which may help you recover more quickly.7 Active or acute phase • Positive symptoms (such as hallucinations or confused thinking or speaking) may appear either suddenly or slowly over time. up to 40% of people with schizophrenia will relapse within 2 years.6 While the positive symptoms may become less intense as the disease progresses. At first the symptoms may be confused with depression or other anxiety disorders. • Negative symptoms may also continue to occur during this phase. months. such as violence and polydipsia (drinking so much water that it leads to health problems). The disease may become easier to manage.7. such as social withdrawal.7 Knowing how to recognize the first signs of relapse. but without treatment. . may help you get early treatment. Even with treatment. up to 80% will have a relapse. During the active or acute phase of schizophrenia. Stressful events such as emotional trauma or substance abuse can trigger symptoms of schizophrenia in those who are at risk for developing the disease. 9 Continuous treatment is important.6 A person usually develops a unique pattern of illness within the first 5 to 10 years of the active phase of schizophrenia. symptoms may fluctuate between episodes of severe positive symptoms and periods of stabilized symptoms (remission).• • Terror or unreasonable fear of something or someone Depression The prodromal phase may last for days. or years before the active illness begins. although people in this phase of schizophrenia may not fully recover from its effects on the quality of their lives.
and about 20% to 30% of people with schizophrenia deteriorate rather than recover from symptoms even with treatment. Author: Jeannette Curtis .Recovery rates vary between 29% and 83%.7 People with schizophrenia are likely to develop other social and physical conditions (such as homelessness) or have additional disorders (such as substance abuse and depression).
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