- Psychological Issues
schizophrenia is a serious mental illness and patients experience progressive personality changes and a breakdown in their relationships with the outside world. They have disorganized and abnormal thinking, behavior and language and become emotionally unresponsive or withdrawn.
The lifetime risk of someone suffering from schizophrenia is about 1%, and most people first experience symptoms between the ages of 15 and 35 years.
The cause of schizophrenia is not known, but it is thought to involve many different factors:
An attack can be brought on by stress, although this is not the cause of schizophrenia
Although schizophrenia is treatable, relapses are common and the illness may never fully resolve.
The outlook for sufferers has improved greatly in the last few decades and many people can be treated outside hospital and live within the community for most of their lives.
When someone is first diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia, they are usually treated in hospital, but many people can then have treatment at home, particularly if they have a supportive family.
Treatment includes counselling, social support and rehabilitation.
In addition anti-psychotic medicines are available to treat the worst symptoms of the illness, such as hallucinations, but there is no “cure” at present.
The older standard (‘Typical’) anti-psychotic drugs, though effective, are associated with a range of distressing side-effects which can result in constant twitching/fidgeting, writhing and disjointed movements. However, newer (‘Atypical’) anti-psychotic drugs are designed to offer control of symptoms and less of these disabling side-effects.
In addition to medical treatment, support from family, friends and healthcare services is also a vital part of therapy.