The purpose of this post is to address the basics of schizophrenia, and it is meant for all my readers medicos, non-medicos, psychiatrists and non- psychiatrists.
- Schizophrenia is a serious and long-term mental disorder affecting approximately one out a hundred individuals. (1%)
- It was first described by Emil Kraepelin about 130 years from now.
- The term was coined by Eugen Bleuler, has Greek origin, schizo (split) and phrene(mind) to describe the fragmented thinking of people with the disorder. His term was not meant to convey the idea of split or multiple personalities, a common misunderstanding by the public at large.
schizophernia affects multiple aspects ,including mood,thoughts,cognition,behavior,working capacity.
for the diagnosis of illness the symptoms should be present for atleast 6 month.
patients suffering from schizophrenia most commonly are preoccupied with the belief that other people are conspiring against them,are trying to harm them by one way or the other.They hold this belief very firmly and it is as true for them as day and night are for any of us,thus they get agitated when me challenge their belief.
patients might have other common symptoms like hearing of voices,when actually their is nobody talking around them.
apart from these a common symptom is that ones spouse is cheating on one.
social withdrawal, Hostility , extreme reaction to criticism. Deterioration of personal hygiene. Flat, expressionless gaze. Inability to cry or express joy or inappropriate laughter or crying. Oversleeping or insomnia are other common features…
these symptoms help us to identify a person suffering from schizophrenia.
many a time during clinical practice, we come across patients and relatives requesting for neuroimaging to confirm the diagnosis of psychiatric illness,but the thing is neuroimaging is not contraindicated, but might not even be very helpful, as there are not many specific findings suggestive of schizophrenia found on neuroimaging(CT scan, MRI). Therefore the only way to come to a conclusion for the diagnosis of Schizophrenia is on the basis of the clinical features.
once we are fairly satisfied of the diagnosis,we treat the patient.
for the treatment there are various drugs ,stimulant procedure and psychotherapies,which we choose depending on many factors including the patient profile,availability ,affordability ,efficacy and potency of treatment.
Yes, schizophrenia is a chronic illness like hypertension or diabetes but with less clear evidence of the etiology, therefore treatment mostly has to be continued for a long time if not lifelong.
questions we frequently encounter when dealing with patients suffering from schizophrenia and their relatives are:
- can one inherit schizophrenia?
answer: yes there is a genetic contribution to almost all forms of schizophrenia, the chances of a monozygotic(identical) twin to have schizophrenia if the other twin is suffering from it are 50% which 4 to 5 times of dizygotic twins.
2.can a person with schizophrenia, ever be cured??
answer: research and literature suggest that approximately, 20 to 30 percent of all schizophrenia are able to lead somewhat normal lives.
3.how long should the treatment be taken?
answer: It depends upon the response a patient shows on treatment, the literature suggests, approximately 70% of patients treated with any antipsychotic achieve remission.
4. Can a person suffering from schizophrenia get married and have children?
answer: well, this is also very subjective and depends on the condition of the patient,it cannot be generalized every patient is different.
But, marriage is not at all a suggestible treatment of schizophrenia.
these are few of the many questions patients ask us regularly and few of the ones that i can recall.
World Schizophrenia Day is celebrated on May 24 every year. It aims to bring awareness about schizophrenia and reduce stigma towards people affected by this mental disorder.
Since 1986, Schizophrenia Awareness Week (SAW) is held in May every year. This year, Schizophrenia Awareness Week is marked from the 20 to 27 May 2018. This coincides with the week of World Schizophrenia Awareness Day. The theme for this year’s SAW is ‘Do What You Can Do’,asking people to join in taking action to beat stigma and promote inclusion.
Please note that research is going on to find more specific theories of the etiology(cause) of schizophrenia and the treatment.
John Nash was one of the greatest thinkers in mathematics of the 20th Century. And, thanks to his biography: A Beautiful Mind, and the award-winning film of the same name he was also one of the best-known patients with schizophrenia of the same period.