What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia:  A brain disorder characterized by distortions of reality and disturbances of thought and language and withdrawal from social contact. (Q1)

About 1% of people are affected by this disorder.  There being about 7 billion people in the world, 70 million are affected. (Q2)

What causes Schizophrenia and who gets it?

Schizophrenia's definite cause is not yet determined.  Although, scientist think it can be caused by genetics and the environment.  Men and women of all ethnic groups are equally affected by this disorder.  It is less likely in young children but awareness of childhood-onset schizophrenia is increasing.

What happens to people with this disorder?

People who are affected by Schizophrenia often experience hallucinations, delusions, thought disorders, and movement disorders.  (Q3)

Hallucinations:

Hallucinations in schizophrenia can include things in all senses; scent, sight, touch, hearing, and taste.  "Voices" are the most common type of hallucinations in schizophrenia.  Other types include seeing people or objects that aren't there, smelling things nobody else detects, and feeling things like people touching their bodies when no one is near.

Delusions:

Delusions can seem bizarre, such as believing their television can control their bodies.  They can have delusions believing others are trying to harm them.  People that experience delusions can also believe they have a whole different life. For example, a young boy with this disorder could believe he is a grown man that is married and has 3 kids.  Or a middle aged woman could believe she is a teenage pop sensation.

Thought and Movement Disorders:

Thought and Movement disorders can be dysfunctional ways of these two things, thought and movement.  People with thought disorders can make up meaningless words and can have trouble organizing their thoughts or connecting them logically.  People who experience movement disorders can repeat motions over and over and over.  They can also become "catatonic".  Catatonia is a state in which a person does not move or respond to others.

Today there are treatments like atypical antipsychotics and benzodiazepine for Schizophrenia but there is no cure.  It is a serious, scary disorder that people need to be aware of to treat.  Raise awareness by sharing your knowledge on this disorder.  If you believe you or someone you know is affected by this disorder see a doctor immediately.  (Q4,5,6)

Sources:  nimh.nih.gov, Wikipedia.com


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