Schizophrenia, Positive and Negative Symptoms, Genetic and Environmental Causes
Schizophrenia is a medical term used to describe a mental illness that expresses itself with the disintegration of thought and emotional processes. The illness is characterized by hallucinations and paranoids which lead to lowering of work efficiency.
The symptoms of Schizophrenia have been classified in to positive and negative symptoms.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
The symptoms that have been grouped under this category are –
Delusions – These are false believes those get manifested in the minds of the patient and can not be removed even after sufficient proof has been placed in front of them. This delusion can again get expressed in four different ways.
In Paranoid Delusion patients believe that they are the target of envy of other people and some one is always trying to kill them. Paranoids do not believe in anybody as they keep on suspecting their intentions.
In some cases patients relate themselves directly with their surroundings. For example if some things are being said in the media then people with the disorder start believing that the speech is directed towards them and they react accordingly. This is called delusion of reference.
In other cases patients start to believe that they are suffering from an illness or that a foreign body has entered into them.
In the last case of delusion, people start to get self obsessed and believe that they have been gifted with special powers.
Hallucinations- In this type of positive Schizophrenia, people start believing in things that do not exist. Hallucination can be of different types as per the senses of the body. Accordingly, it can be visual, auditory or olfactory with people smelling things that do not exist.
In this case the person systems to have no control on his speech. In most cases they seem to be talking to themselves or imaginary friend and fail to respond to social interactions.
Stupor, detached attitude or low empathy, irritation or blank attitude are some of the many behaviours that can be exhibited in this kind of mental illness.
Negative symptoms of Schizophrenia
This refers to the condition when the person is unable to express himself in speech. There is lack of fluency and the person will go blank suddenly when speaking.
In this particular symptom the person is unable to organise his thoughts in to action. He may sit ideal for long without doing anything oblivious of his surroundings. The patient will show disinterest towards the regular activities of life and might be referred as ideal or loaner. The victim of this mental illness always show fatigue and remain low in energy.
In this expression of the mental illness, the patient fails to show any kind of empathy towards his peers or close relations. He lacks emotions and sometimes can be termed to be cold towards others needs and feelings.
Causes of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia might have three main causes for their occurrence-
In case of individuals who have a close relative with a history of Schizophrenic symptoms there are more than fifty percent chances that the individual too would have inherited the same disease form his closed ones. A number of genes have been isolated that point towards a genetic transformation of the symptoms from one generation to another.
Researches have concluded from a recent survey that people who had faced near death experiences or some kind of traumatic violence have greater chances of remaining paranoid through out their life. Social isolation, immigration to an unknown environment, family dysfunction, sexual abuse, racial discrimination and lack of family support are some of the many environmental causes that lead to the manifestation of the different forms of Schizophrenia.
Continuous addiction to drugs, alcohol and other addictions make individuals detached from their social relationships. Substance abuse is usually an expression to deal with anxiety, peer pressure and other social disorders.
Treatment of Schizophrenia
A two fold treatment has been suggested for the disease. The first being identification of the type of Schizophrenia and corresponding medication and the second is Psychotherapy.
A number of antipsychotic medications are available in the market those have been found to have had a positive effect on the symptoms of Schizophrenia. Medicos are still unable to ascertain the side affects of these medicines as each one of them seems to have a medical implication on the body. Although these medicines have been found to have positive effects on the positive symptoms but there has been less success rate on the cognitive and negative symptoms of the disease. Moreover the continuous use of these medications has been found to have certain fatal implications. These antipsychotic medications increase the dependency of the patient on medicines and they start to exhibit their former symptoms as soon as they stop their medication. It therefore results in a type of addiction that might finally lead to a nerve disorder or other kind of illness.
Psychotherapy is the most effective treatment that can be suggested for people suffering from the symptoms of Schizophrenia. A therapist tries to first isolate the reasons behind the occurrences of the symptoms. If he finds a genetic disorder leading to the appearance of the symptoms of mental illness then proper guidance and medication is suggested. In cases where there are hidden traumas and experiences which have made the clients paranoid, respective treatment is provided. Often therapist uses the technique of Hypnosis to ascertain the causes of a person’s abnormal behaviour. Guidance is also provided to the family members to understand the need for cooperation in trying to help the patient to come out of the symptoms. Proper care, a healthy diet, a healthy environment will help build self confidence in these people and they will try to come out of the shell that they have built around themselves.
The surrounding environment is what will decide the success rate of a patient’s recovery. Support and understanding will provide the base for their return to normal life. Inclusion in yogic meditations, exercises, laugh clubs have been found to have a beneficial affect on these people. Schizophrenia clubs are being organised in places to help bring people with similar experiences under the same roof so that they can express their feelings and share it with each other.
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