Here are the top interesting facts about schizophrenia:
#1 It is a brain disorder which affects the way a person thinks, behaves, and sees the world. Individuals with this condition typically aren’t aware that they have it until a healthcare specialist tells them.
#2 In the United States, over 2.2 million individuals (or 1.1% of the population age 18 and older) have this brain disorder. It is also common worldwide, with approximately 1 in 100 adults have this disorder.
#3 Around 10 percent of patients with this disorder are more likely to have an alcohol or drug abuse problem and commit suicide. Moreover, these individuals are at increased risk of having other mental-health conditions as well as dying earlier than individuals without this brain disorder.
#4 In women, the first symptoms generally start in the late 20s. In men, the symptoms usually begin in the early to mid-20s.
#5 It is not usually associated with violent behavior, and it does not cause a split personality, a mental disorder described by at least two distinct identities.
#6 Paranoid schizophrenia is the most frequent form of schizophrenia. However, as of 2013, with the publication of the new DSM-5 (the standard classification of mental conditions used by mental health doctors in the United States), the different subtypes of this brain disorder are no longer differentiated from schizophrenia in the manual. Instead, it is viewed as one mental disorder with numerous different symptoms.
The symptoms of this disorder are typically classified into:
#7 Negative symptoms – a lack of function or withdrawal which you would not normally expect to see in healthy individuals. They include:
- problems with “working memory,” the capacity to use the information right after learning it;
- apathy – a lack of emotion or feeling;
- poor “executive functioning,” which is the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions;
- an inability to concentrate on even simple tasks;
- a difficulty in keeping focus during conversation;
- losing interest in everyday activities, such as – grooming, bathing, or getting dressed.
#8 Positive symptoms – these are called positive due to the fact that they describe characteristics that were not present in the patient before he suffered from this disorder. These symptoms can be considered to have been added to their mindset and include any change in thoughts or behavior, like – delusions or hallucinations.
#9 Delusions (false ideas) – patients experiencing these symptoms may believe that they are someone famous or that someone is spying on them.
#10 Delusions in this condition may be bizarre or not. Delusions that are not bizarre involve situations which could happen in real life, like – having a partner or a spouse who is unfaithful, or being followed.
#11 Bizarre delusions are not derived from ordinary life experiences and are implausible. For instance, they may believe that someone removed their internal organs or implanted something without leaving a scar.
#12 Hallucinations are sensations of things which you perceive to be real, but actually, they don’t exist. It is common for patients with this brain disorder to hear voices, that are typically threatening and insidious.
#13 Sometimes, these voices are familiar and other times they are unknown, but they are always identified as separate from the sufferer’s own voice. More importantly, the voices may be attributed to people you know.
#14 The causes of this disorder are complex, but early development, genetics, substance abuse, trauma (particularly in childhood), and stressful social circumstances can increase your chances of having this condition.
#15 Genetics – having a family history of this disorder increases the risk of developing it. For example, if a parent had the disorder, there is a 10% chance of developing it. However, if there is no family history, the chances of developing this condition are below 1%.
#16 Drug abuse – a regular consumption of illegal drugs, such as – cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines, or LSD (a potent psychedelic drug known for its psychological effects) may trigger these symptoms in some individuals.
#17 Problems which occurred before, during, or after birth, like – lack of oxygen during delivery, influenza in the mother during the second trimester of pregnancy, incompatibility of the infant’s and mother’s blood type, and a low birth weight.
#18 Stress – a stressful life event, like – sorrow, may also be a trigger for this brain disorder for some individuals.
#19 Some healthcare professionals consider that an imbalance of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which helps control the brain’s pleasure and reward centers, is involved in the onset of this condition. Furthermore, other neurotransmitters, like – serotonin (mainly found in the gastrointestinal tract), may be involved.
#20 When this condition is diagnosed, antipsychotic drugs are usually prescribed. This can be given as a patch, a pill, or an injection.
#21 Family interventions in which relatives participate in therapy sessions are very beneficial for sufferers with this brain disorder. For instance, family interventions reduce rates of psychotic relapse by 20%, according to a 2001 review of studies.
#22 There are about 16 new drugs for the treatment of this disorder currently in development by many pharmaceuticals and biotech companies.