Schizophrenia is a major mental illness that causes an altered experience of reality. Schizophrenia affects the person’s thoughts, perceptions, and behaviour and interferes with their ability to function at work, school or relate to other people.
Individuals with schizophrenia often experience stigma in the community, and contrary to popular belief, individuals with schizophrenia do not have a ‘split personality’. Only a very small number of people with schizophrenia become violent but they do have a higher rate of suicide than the general population.
Main symptoms which can be frightening to experience are:
- Hallucination – hearing or seeing something that isn’t real, such as hearing voices when no one is there.
- Delusion – believing something that can be proven to be untrue, such as having a microchip implanted in your head.
Other symptoms include:
- Confused thoughts
- Unusual behaviour
- Reduced or lack of motivation for everyday tasks
- A lack of pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
- Not wanting to talk much
- A lack of emotion or inappropriate emotions
- Self-neglect: not showering, preparing meals or cleaning
- Thoughts or speech may appear jumbled or disconnected, jumping from one topic to another.
- Words may be used in unusual ways.
- Emotions seem out of place, such as laughing at sad news.
- Trouble with planning or making decisions.
- Finding it hard to understand other people’s feelings or actions.
Schizophrenia affects about one out of 100 people, and the symptoms usually begin in late adolescence or early adulthood. It is generally a long-term illness and can cause serious disability when left untreated. Most people require medication as the major part of treatment, but it’s important to get support in other areas too. Psychological therapy, rehabilitation, and family therapy can help people to cope with their symptoms and rebuild their lives. Getting help as early as possible can improve the outcome.
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please contact me on 8448 1106.