What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that can cause a person to experience symptoms, including delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech. This mental illness is a long-term, chronic condition, and while treatment is available that can vastly improve quality of life, there is currently no known cure.
Therefore, one must seek help to treat their symptoms. Schizophrenia can severely affect a person’s ability to interact with others, but therapy can help someone living with this condition live a whole, fulfilled life.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
People suffering from schizophrenia usually have three types of symptoms: positive, negative and cognitive.
- Schizophrenia affects the brain, causing the individual to have difficulty understanding the difference between reality and fantasy, making decisions, and managing emotions. The condition can include a wide variety of symptoms, and each person’s experience with schizophrenia can be very different. However, one must experience some of the following symptoms for at least six months before a doctor can offer an official diagnosis:
- Positive Symptoms: These include delusions, hallucinations, hearing voices, and difficulty speaking and making sense of other people’s speech.
- Negative Symptoms: These symptoms involve a loss of function in emotion and interaction. People can commonly mistake these symptoms for a lack of caring or depression.
- Cognitive Symptoms: Difficulty in planning and organizing tasks and thoughts toward a goal.
Doctors divide schizophrenia into paranoid, disorganized, catatonic, residual, and schizoaffective categories.
Schizophrenia in Men Versus in Women
Age of onset is one of the most significant differences in the experience of schizophrenia in men compared to women. Men typically experience an onset of schizophrenia in their late teens to early 20s. The age of onset for women is the late 20s to early 30s. While men may experience symptoms sooner, women and men have the disorder at equal rates, meaning men aren’t more likely to get the condition than women are.
Schizophrenia’s symptoms can have a tremendously negative impact on a person if left untreated. According to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, young men with schizophrenia are especially likely to commit suicide compared with others who have the condition. The symptoms can make a young man terrified to live life for fear of having another vivid hallucination or uncontrollable outburst.
With treatment and support, men and women with schizophrenia can hold jobs and maintain successful relationships with others.
How Schizophrenia Is Treated
Just as schizophrenia symptoms can vary, the treatment plans will also vary. A combination of medications and therapy approaches is designed to help the individual. These include:
- Antipsychotic medications that reduce the incidence of delusions and hallucinations.
- Psychotherapy supports those with schizophrenia and helps them recognize behaviors and develop coping skills to improve their health.
- Coordinated special care, including family involvement, education, case management, and employment services that help those with schizophrenia lead independent lives.
Destination Hope can help. Destination Hope is one of the few treatment centers in Florida that focus on mental illness as well as call occurring substance abuse disorders. The first step is to contact our admissions specialists to understand the first steps toward treatment. Email so contact our team to discuss the situation and learn more about schizophrenia, its symptoms, and its treatment.