When we talk about schizophrenia, we refer to a particular disorder, characterized by the presence of specific symptoms such as psychosis, alteration of behavior and thinking, up to a strong mismatch of the person, who is unable to lead (in the most serious cases) a life normal.
- What it looks like
- People at risk
Nowadays, it is estimated that 1% of the world population is affected by the disease, which occurs in a chronic, very serious, and above all disabling form.
- Chronic: because this disorder tends to be widespread and does not know a particular cure, patients affected by schizophrenia may have variations in intensity and degree, but the disease does not have a term and is always present in patients.
- Serious: because the severity of the symptoms with which it occurs is already a problem in itself, but it is even more so if we think that many of these symptoms can have more serious consequences. Because the symptoms with which the disorder presents itself can induce the patient to adopt non-normal and non-ordinary behaviors, which can lead to something more serious.
- Invalid: because patients who have schizophrenia do not lead a normal life, do not have a dignified life, and cannot do everything 'others' can do without problems. It is not easy to integrate into society when you suffer from a disease that sometimes causes the patient to think that the outside world is in constant league with him.
As we have anticipated, schizophrenia is a chronic, serious, and disabling disorder that affects 1% of the population today, particularly affecting the human brain.
People with schizophrenia assume particular behaviors, which for the outside world may be unclear or incomprehensible and which generally induce those who do not know this disease to point to patients as 'crazy.'
In fact, some typical behaviors of schizophrenia patients can be indicative; in fact, those who suffer from this disease can perceive voices that others do not hear. You may think that the world is in eternal league with him, may even go as far as to think that someone checks his mind or read his thoughts and let others plot to kill or harm him.
Sometimes, it is difficult to realize that you are facing people with this disorder. However, schizophrenia occurs in different ways, and above all, in different intensities, sometimes people affected by the disorder appear completely normal. The disorder appears as soon as they start talking about their thoughts and obsessions.
The behaviors of those who, within a group of people, suddenly get angry or get angry at someone in the group claiming to be persecuted or to be the victim of a plot are typical.
These behaviors, moreover, are problematic not only for those suffering from the disorder but also for the family or in general for people who are close to the patient. The patients struggle a lot to have a normal relationship with others. For this reason, they have a certain difficulty both in interpersonal relationships (friendly and sentimental) and in working relationships, which they are unable to maintain. For all these reasons, patients with schizophrenia always have a material and really need to rely on others, and in particular, on someone who takes care of them.
Schizophrenia disorder affects men and women equally and there are no particular data according to which in some countries of the world, the disease is more or less widespread and more or less developed. In essence, for this disease, 'the law is the same for everyone': anyone can be affected by schizophrenia, even if the higher incidence affects some ages in particular than others.
The first symptoms of the disease - usually delusions and hallucinations - occur in the patient between the ages of 16 and 30. The only difference between man and woman concerns the onset of the symptom, which can occur a little earlier in the man than a woman.
In general, schizophrenia equally affects men and women and people from all ethnic groups but has a higher incidence in people who are under the age of 30. The cases of individuals are rare and, in any case, very few in which the disease occurred after 45 years of age.
Furthermore, schizophrenia is not typical in children, but this consideration must be taken with due precautions: in fact, the diagnosis of the disease is difficult to carry out both in children and adolescents, for the simple fact that the most common symptoms can be easily exchanged. There are some typical adolescent and childhood problems, such as change of friends, short temper, sleep problems, and nervousness.
In general, the most indicative factors are:
1. The tendency to social isolation: Although this is typical behavior of some normal subjects (i.e., of people in whom no symptoms of schizophrenia occur), it has been studied that in all patients with schizophrenia, this symptom can be indicative and early. In fact, the tendency towards social isolation is typical behavior of the shy adolescent, but it can be, together with other factors, indicative of the presence of the disease at an early stage.
2. Unusual and suspicious thoughts: even, in this case, it is difficult to make a distinction, because even this behavior can be typical of young people and adolescents. Adolescence is a difficult phase, in which some behaviors that can confuse the doctor can occur. However, this type of behavior if repeated and repeated over time and if associated with a family history of psychosis, can be rather indicative.
3. Family history of psychosis: subjects who come from a family in which there has been a particular history of psychosis are naturally more predisposed to the onset of the disorder. And it is therefore recommended to keep under control the young people and adolescents who show the factors that we have indicated.
1. Genetics and family history: since it is typical that the disease occurs in particular in cases of family history, it has been studied that the greatest risk of developing schizophrenia occurs in the presence of a first degree relative with the disease.
2. Environmental factors: according to some research, living in particularly urbanized contexts in childhood can subject the risk of developing the disease more. Obviously, this is not the only environmental factor to be taken into consideration: it must always be associated with other factors, which correlated with each other can make the difference. These include ethnic group, social group size, drug use, social isolation, family and personal problems such as unemployment and precarious living conditions, and racial discrimination. However, it must be remembered that environmental factors are not direct causes of schizophrenia, but can be adjuvants in the onset of the disorder.
3. Drug abuse: the abuse of certain drugs (such as amphetamine abuse) has been studied to contribute to the development of ailments. Other imputed substances include cocaine, cannabis, other drugs, and alcohol, which can together contribute to the onset of schizophrenia-like psychotic behaviors.
4. Psychological problems: some psychological problems have been identified as responsible for the development of schizophrenia, especially related to typical problems or experiences, such as memory loss or cognitive functions.
Some specific symptoms are distinguished in the patient with schizophrenia, but in particular, a distinction is made between 3 main categories, which are: positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms. Let's see them in detail:
The positive symptoms of schizophrenia are those particular symptoms that cannot be found in people without the disease. In particular, people with schizophrenia assume characteristic behaviors, manifestations that are expressed above all in the effective loss of contact with reality and with everything that surrounds the patient.
It is important to remember that these symptoms can be more or less serious, depending on the moment: although schizophrenia is a chronic disease, the typical manifestations can change in intensity and be more or less serious.
The negative symptoms are those symptoms that can be easily confused because the symptoms are, in this case, very similar to other ailments such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks. In particular, in the presence of negative symptoms, there is:
- Fatigue and morale on the ground: the voice is low, monotonous and cadenced, while the patient seems totally uninterested in anything or person.
- Poor communication: the patient does not speak (or speaks little) even when forced to interact.
- Coldness towards the pleasures of daily life and the inability to carry out one's activities, even simple recreational activities.
- Neglect: no interest in personal hygiene, low activity, high laziness, and no desire to do or act.
Cognitive symptoms, as well as negative symptoms, can be confused or, in any case, can be difficult to recognize because they are not evident and are not specific or indicative (if taken alone) of the disease. They are cognitive symptoms:
- Executive inability, or inability to understand, accept and use the information to make decisions.
- Poor memory and little concentration ability, which is expressed above all in the working field.