What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a widely misunderstood disorder. Often, people associate schizophrenics with having multiple personality disorder, as being especially violent, and tending to be homeless. While these associations are not true, what is true about schizophrenia is that it is a lifelong, severe, disabling, but treatable brain disorder that affects both men and women, and 1% of all Americans. Currently, there is no cure for schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a chronic and disabling disorder of the brain. This brain disorder affects many aspects of a person's mental wellness: the emotions, perceptions of reality, behavior, and decision-making processes. Because of its severity, schizophrenia may lead some schizophrenics to become heavily dependent on family.
Types of schizophrenia
People who show signs of schizophrenia may actually be experiencing a variety of other disorders. Strange behavior or thoughts may be caused by drug use or neurological conditions, for example. Because of this, doctors must witness the strange behavior themselves, and be able to rule out other possible medical conditions before schizophrenia is considered as a diagnostic possibility. Ultimately, a schizophrenia diagnosis must be made according to the guidelines listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Different types of schizophrenia are classified according to different sets of symptoms. These include:
Catatonic schizophrenia - Extreme movements mainly characterize this type of schizophrenia. Inability to respond to questions or conversation, to move, or to respond to your environment are just a few ways in which this type of schizophrenia manifests itself. Other ways include overreaction to stimuli, and perhaps mimicking the behaviours of others. While other symptoms may be present, these are the most recognizable for this type of schizophrenia.
Disorganized schizophrenia - Disorganized schizophrenia displays a lack of coherency or organization in emotions, thoughts, speech, behaviour, and general lifestyle. A person may not be able to communicate clearly, or respond in emotionally appropriate ways to given situations. Other symptoms of schizophrenia may manifest themselves, but disorganization in life's normal, essential, and basic activities characterizes this form of schizophrenia best.
Paranoid schizophrenia - Delusions and auditory hallucinations are some of the most common features of paranoid schizophrenia. A person may believe that others are plotting against him, that he is a famous historical figure, or that voices are constantly judging his actions and behaviour. Other symptoms may be present.
Residual schizophrenia – During residual schizophrenia, a person who has been diagnosed as being schizophrenic no longer has manifestations of schizophrenia, except for minor hallucinations or other symptoms.
Undifferentiated schizophrenia - This category of schizophrenia features symptoms across more than one type of schizophrenia.
Do genetics have anything to do with schizophrenia? Which populations are more at risk of developing this brain disorder? Click here to learn more about risk factors and causes of paranoid schizophrenia here.
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