Schizophrenia: What You Need to Know - Mental Health Course W ...

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"Schizophrenia is a serious disorder which affects how a person thinks, feels and acts. Someone with schizophrenia may have difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imaginary; may be unresponsive or withdrawn; and may have difficulty expressing normal emotions in social situations.

Contrary to public perception, schizophrenia is not split personality or multiple personality. The vast majority of people with schizophrenia are not violent and do not pose a danger to others. Schizophrenia is not caused by childhood experiences, poor parenting or lack of willpower, nor are the symptoms identical for each person.
What causes schizophrenia?

The cause of schizophrenia is still unclear. Some theories about the cause of this disease include: genetics (heredity), biology (the imbalance in the brain’s chemistry); and/or possible viral infections and immune disorders.

Genetics (Heredity). Scientists recognize that the disorder tends to run in families and that a person inherits a tendency to develop the disease. Schizophrenia may also be triggered by environmental events, such as viral infections or highly stressful situations or a combination of both.

Similar to some other genetically-related illnesses, schizophrenia appears when the body undergoes hormonal and physical changes, like those that occur during puberty in the teen and young adult years.

Chemistry. Genetics help to determine how the brain uses certain chemicals. People with schizophrenia have a chemical imbalance of brain chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) which are neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters allow nerve cells in the brain to send messages to each other. The imbalance of these chemicals affects the way a person’s brain reacts to stimuli--which explains why a person with schizophrenia may be overwhelmed by sensory information (loud music or bright lights) which other people can easily handle. This problem in processing different sounds, sights, smells and tastes can also lead to hallucinations or delusions.
What are the early warning signs of schizophrenia?

The signs of schizophrenia are different for everyone. Symptoms may develop slowly over months or years, or may appear very abruptly. The disease may come and go in cycles of relapse and remission.

Behaviors that are early warning signs of schizophrenia include: Hearing or seeing something that isn’t there A constant feeling of being watched Peculiar or nonsensical way of speaking or writing Strange body positioning Feeling indifferent to very important situations Deterioration of academic or work performance A change in personal hygiene and appearance A change in personality Increasing withdrawal from social situations Irrational, angry or fearful response to loved ones Inability to sleep or concentrate Inappropriate or bizarre behavior Extreme preoccupation with religion or the occult

Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the world population. In the United States one in a hundred people, about 2.5 million, have this disease. It knows no racial, cultural or economic boundaries. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 13 and 25, but often appear earlier in males than females.

If you or a loved one experience several of these symptoms for more than two weeks, seek help immediately."

Quotes

"I had gradual onset schizophrenia but a bad LSD trip is what triggered my psychosis. I had smoked pot daily for my last two years of high school, drank every weekend and occasionally took acid."

Nick

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