Schizophrenia – A Little Understood Mental Illness That Affects 1.1% of the Population Worldwide

Schizophrenia, the literal translation of which is ”split mind”, was called ”multiple personality” for many years. However, this rare ailment is now called ”dissociative identity disorder” and refers to a totally different illness than what is currently known as schizophrenia, a mental disorder that can be found in about one in every one hundred Americans.

Consultation with a Las Vegas mental health expert reveals that schizophrenia generally shows up in young adults, between the ages of 17 and 35, with males generally exhibiting symptoms at an earlier age than female patients. Because of the age range during which the problem first shows itself, it is sometimes confused with ”normal” adolescent angst. However, when several behavioral changes occur and continue for 6 months or more, medical consultation needs to be sought.

A few of the early indicators of this disease include hyperactivity, paranoia, inappropriate emotional responses, sleep problems, unwarranted hostility, disregard of personal hygiene and appearance and other uncharacteristic behaviors.

Schizophrenia is generally divided into four categories, even though the lines of demarcation often overlap. Paranoid-type schizophrenia is characterized by auditory, visual or olfactory hallucinations, often coupled with feelings of persecution or the kind of delusion that causes an individual to believe he is a person of power and influence. This type also often demonstrates anxiety, anger, hostility and severe anti-social behavior.

Psychiatric specialists also list catatonic schizophrenia as a common manifestation of the illness. This type expresses itself in activity, or lack thereof. The patient might flail about, repeat exactly the same gesture endlessly or use his body in abnormal ways. Some others will remain motionless all day, repeat something that is said to them, or present other bizarre physical behavior. In lots of ways, this can be the most debilitating form of the condition, since it leaves people unable to provide daily care for themselves.

Another severe manifestation of the disorder is called disorganized or hebephrenic schizophrenia. This is detected by inappropriate, senseless speech and behavior, often coupled with angry, agitated activities that may also hamper patients’ ability to care for themselves and communicate with others.

A final subtype of the ailment is known as residual schizophrenia and is characterized by an over-all lessening of symptomatic habits. Although delusions and hallucinations may still be found, they are not as debilitating as they are in the acute stage. Symptoms range in severity from the need for constant custodial care to gainful employment and maintenance of a fruitful family life. Many cases, however, lie a place in the middle, needing occasional hospitalizations and constant medical support.

Regardless of the category, schizophrenia is a lifelong illness that is a lot more prevalent in urban areas than rural. At least this is convenient for patients and their families, since lifelong ongoing treatment is essential.

Treatment is dependent upon the symptoms exhibited by the sufferer and may vary from patient to patient. However, in general, psychiatrists combine medication, individual counseling and group therapy to incorporate several methods. In addition to the patient’s treatments, the immediate family also needs the attention of a mental health professional to learn about the most effective to work with their suffering loved one.

The disease places a massive emotional burden on family members, often triggering enough guilt, sorrow, bitterness and other negative feelings to cause dissolution of households, unless they receive the proper timely support. Help is available for those with schizophrenia and their families from assorted mental health workers, including doctors, case workers and social workers, all of whom will help control the vagaries of each and every individual patient.

The most common problem arises when a medicated patient declares himself ”cured” and ceases taking his meds, leading to an inevitable relapse. Seeking the expertise of a psychiatrist who concentrates on this menacing mental disorder is one of the most crucial steps in helping your loved one live a more normal, fruitful life.

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