Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health condition that involves a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior. This breakdown leads to faulty perceptions, inappropriate actions and feelings and withdrawal from reality. At times personal relationships fall into fantasy and delusion. There is a sense of mental fragmentation. People with schizophrenia have difficulty with emotions, thinking rationally and clearly, and in interactions and relationships with others.
- Schizophrenia affects about 1.1% of the world’s population and is one of the top 15 leading causes of disability worldwide
- 3.5 million Americans have schizophrenia
- Schizophrenia is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 16 to 25
- Schizophrenia can have a genetic component and runs in families
- Men are more commonly effected compared to women
- Schizophrenia and its treatment have an enormous effect on the economy, costing between $38-$65 billion each year
- Individuals with schizophrenia have an increased risk of premature mortality (death at a younger age than the general population)
- Very high comorbidity with other medical diagnosis such as heart disease, COPD, obesity
- The estimated average potential life lost for individuals with schizophrenia in the U.S. is 28.5 years.
Schizophrenia involves psychosis, which means that what seems real to you isn’t. Some common examples of psychosis and Schizophrenia symptoms include:
- Hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. They can be both auditory (voices inside ones head) or visual (ghosts, shadows, or people)
- Delusions: Fixed, false, firm beliefs despite evidence to the contrary. Mistaken but firmly held beliefs that are easy to prove wrong, like thinking one has superpowers, are the president of the U.S., or aliens that are out to harm you
- Disorganized speech: Using words and sentences that don’t make sense to others or go together.
Strange behavior: Acting in an odd or repetitive way, like walking in circles,
- Withdrawn and anhedonic: Showing no feelings or motivation, or lacking interest in normal daily activities
Schizophrenia old nomenclature (new nomenclature viewed as a spectrum of illness but this will often help)
This is the most common type of schizophrenia. It may develop later in life. Symptoms include hallucinations and/or delusions, but your speech and emotions may not be affected. The hallucinations or delusions often are paranoid in nature (CIA and FBI want to capture me, police out to arrest me despite not committing a crime).
Also known as disorganized schizophrenia. Hebrephrenic schizophrenia typically develops between 15-25 years old. Symptoms include disorganized behaviors and thoughts, short and brief delusions and/or hallucinations. You may have disorganized speech patterns and others may find it difficult to understand you. People living with disorganized schizophrenia often show little or no emotions.
This is the rarest schizophrenia diagnosis often seen with unusual and very limited movements. You may often switch between being very active or very still. You may not talk much at all and their may be mimicry (copy other’s speech and movement).
One may show signs of paranoid, catatonic or hebephrenic schizophrenia. It doesn’t obviously fit into one of these types alone.
You may be diagnosed with residual schizophrenia if you have a history of psychosis, but only experience the negative symptoms (such as slow movement, poor memory, lack of concentration and poor hygiene).