Schizophrenia is a severe and chronic neurological disorder estimated to affect at least 1.1 percent of the adult population in the United States. That’s roughly 2.8 million people over the age of 18. There’s also an estimated 40 percent of individuals that have Schizophrenia but are either undiagnosed or aren’t receiving treatment.
What’s more, Schizophrenia is an even less talked about mental health condition than Major Depressive Disorder and all of its forms. This is because Schizophrenia is highly stigmatized, as it’s characterized by the interference of an individual’s ability to think clearly, manage their emotions, make decisions and relate to others – making it one of the more disabling conditions affecting part of the population.
In this article, we’re going to dive into the basics of Schizophrenia so we can start breaking down the stigma attached to it. Keep reading to learn more.
Schizophrenia is defined as a serious and complex mental health disorder in which individuals interpret reality abnormally. Moreover, the condition can cause hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thinking and behavioral patterns so extreme they can interfere with the individual’s daily functions.
Generally speaking, individuals with Schizophrenia will exhibit the following symptoms to varying degrees:
- delusions, such as thinking that you’re being harassed when you’re not, that you have exceptional talent or fame, that another person is in love with you, or that a major catastrophic event is about to occur
- hallucinations, which involve seeing or hearing things that aren’t there or don’t exist
- disorganized thinking, which is inferred from disorganized speech, affecting the individual’s ability to communicate effectively
- disorganized or abnormal motor behavior, which can manifest in childlike silliness and ranging to unpredictable agitation or refusal to abide by instructions, excessive and useless movement, or bizarre or inappropriate posturing
- inability to function normally, such as neglecting personal hygiene, inability to make eye contact, lacking emotions, and so on
It should be noted that Schizophrenia is not characterized or associated with split or multiple personality disorders. People with the condition also are not any more violent than the average human being, which is another common misconception.
While there isn’t a cure for Schizophrenia, it is a highly treatable condition once diagnosed accordingly. The most common treatments for managing the condition include:
- antipsychotic medications, which are taken daily in pill form or as a long-acting injectable (LAI)
- psychosocial treatments, which involve learning coping skills to address everyday challenges and are usually followed after the doctor and patient find the right medication or combination of medications that work
- Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC), which is a treatment model that integrates medication, psychosocial therapies, case management, family involvement, and even supported education and employment services
- Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), which is a non-invasive and safe procedure that involves sending a mild electrical current through the brain to alter nervous system activity and pathways. ECT is often used when other medications and therapies have not worked.
While individuals experiencing acute symptoms of schizophrenia require hospitalization, many people with the condition are able to go on to live normal and healthy lives. If you think you or someone you care about may be exhibiting symptoms of the disorder, it’s essential to get a proper evaluation by a mental health professional to rule out any other mental health disorders and determine the severity of the case.
To learn more about getting evaluated or treating schizophrenia, get in touch with us today.