Living with Schizophrenia: All You Need to Know

Out of all mental health disorders, schizophrenia remains the most severe. Yes, it’s a serious psychotic disorder that stays with you for life. Just like diabetes and hypertension, schizophrenia also requires lifelong treatment.

The worst part of the story is that it’s becoming more and more common these days. According to the World Health Organization, around 24 million people from around the world have schizophrenia. It is further said that people with schizophrenia are more likely to die earlier compared to a healthy individual, which is the saddest thing about it.

Furthermore, schizophrenia severely affects your quality of life. Thus, it’s very important to seek immediate treatment in case you or any of your loved ones ever notice any of its symptoms. Now let’s have a look at the details:

Symptoms of Schizophrenia 

There are many symptoms of schizophrenia. As mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, one needs to have at least two or more of the core symptoms of schizophrenia for at least a month to get diagnosed with the disorder. The symptoms of schizophrenia are as follows:

  • Delusions or false beliefs about things
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations
  • Reduced or lack of ability to function normally
  • Abnormal or disorganized motor behavior
  • Loss of interest in everyday life activities
  • Irritability or depressed mood
  • Withdrawal from friends and family

Treatment Options for Schizophrenia 

As mentioned earlier, schizophrenia is a lifelong illness and it has no permanent cure. You may feel better for a few months before another psychotic episode occurs. However, there are ways to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia and lead a happy and active life. They include:

  • Antipsychotics; they work by altering the effect of different chemicals (i.e., dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin) in your brain while improving behavior and mood changes.
  • Antidepressants; they work by balancing neurotransmitters in your brain, which directly affect your mood and emotions.
  • Mood stabilizers; they work by reducing abnormal activity in your brain. It preferably helps people with symptoms of mania.
  • Medicinal Herbs; they work well as a natural alternative to antidepressants and mood stabilizers. Certain plants like cannabis and particularly Canadian pot have been proven to be effective to tame mood symptoms of schizophrenia.
  • A healthy diet is crucial as it remains a critical component of your mental health. Several food and beverages, specifically those with caffeine, can make your symptoms worse.
  • Electroconvulsive shock treatment is usually recommended as the last resort if the affected person gets frequent seizures or fits that are uncontrollable otherwise.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy is usually prescribed when the affected person is on his way to recovery. It alters your thought process and relaxes you mentally.

Risk Factors Associated with Schizophrenia 

Schizophrenia usually occurs with a change in neurotransmitters: serotonin and dopamine, but the reason behind that change is still unknown. Nevertheless, experts suggest that the following things can play a part in causing schizophrenia:

  • Having a family history of schizophrenia
  • Exposure to viruses or toxins during birth
  • A history of drug abuse
  • Childhood trauma
  • Structural changes in the brain

That’s all, guys. Knowing all these details may help you reverse the disorder in its initial stage. I hope it works for you!

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