Schizophrenia is a serious form of mental illness that is treatable. It is a form of disorder affecting thoughts, feelings, moods, and ability of a body to function properly. The cause of Schizophrenia is still unknown; some percentage of people suffers from this disorder due to their genes because there is a genetic element in schizophrenia that makes the disorder generic. Therefore, Schizophrenia is a highly inherited illness, and it can be inherited from a parent/relative to a child. The disorder has an unknown pathogenic mechanism. It affects the brain structure causing the patient to experience problems in thinking and perceiving things. It is characterized by disorganized speech, thoughts and experiences, social withdrawal and memory loss or lack of concentration. Signs and symptoms of the disorder are likely to be experienced in the early 20s, American Psychological Association. Schizophrenia causes mental disorder whereby a person is unable to think clearly. The disorder causes a person to be socially withdrawn. Since this illness is common in the teenagers, it is difficult to identify the disorder in its early stages. There are different types of Schizophrenia, and each type requires a different treatment method. Schizophrenia has different signs and symptoms. Schizophrenia changes how a person thinks feels and behaves. According to Smeland (2016), Schizophrenia disorder can cause problems in learning, memory loss, reduction in processing speed reduction in the ability to understand and lack of attention.
It is estimated that about 1% of the global population suffers from Schizophrenia. The medical practitioners expressed concern on the categorization of Schizophrenia, and this led to a review that changed the method of categorizing Schizophrenia types, American Psychiatric Association (2015). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Ed, all the sub-categories of Schizophrenia were brought to a single heading ‘Schizophrenia’ Nordqvist (2017). Before the changes, the types of Schizophrenia included schizoaffective disorder, Catatonia, Childhood-onset Schizophrenia, Disorganized Schizophrenia/ hebephrenic and Paranoid Schizophrenia, Tandon et al. (2013).
Schizoaffective disorder is characterized by symptoms of hallucinations and delusion. A patient may also experience mood disorder attributed to depression and mania. Catatonia is characterized by excessive behaviors. A patient suffering Catatonia expresses increased and peculiar motor behaviors referred to as Catatonic excitement, Tandon et al. (2014). A patient may also exhibit excessively reduced motor behaviors. The patients lack the interest to engage in daily activities that he/she was performing previously. Disorganized Schizophrenia/ hebephrenic is characterized by disorganized thoughts and behaviors. The patient is not able to think clearly, and he /she can suffer from speech incoherent. The patient is limited in performing daily activities due to inconsistency in thinking and behaviors. According to Driver et al. (2013), childhood onset Schizophrenia is characterized by symptoms of hallucination. It is evident during childhood or early adulthood. Though it is a rare disorder, Childhood-onset Schizophrenia is very serious when it occurs. Paranoid Schizophrenia is characterized by false beliefs; a person is suffering from Paranoid Schizophrenia suffers from delusions. A patient believes that a group of people is conspiring to hurt him/her. It is a false perception that makes patients to be disoriented in fear of being attacked. This disorder makes people be socially inactive because they cannot trust people.
The symptoms of Schizophrenia differ from patient to patients. They are not the same. Schizophrenia symptoms are classified as either positive or negative. Positive symptoms affect a person’s behavior or the thoughts. The presence of positive symptoms is abnormal, that is why they are referred as positive symptoms. In positive symptoms, the patient develops strange behaviors. Positive symptoms include hallucinations, delusion, and incoherence in speech. Negative symptoms are characterized by lack of or withdrawal of activity. Their absence in the daily life of a person is abnormal. In the negative symptoms, the patient stops engaging in activities that he or she was participating in previously. Negative symptoms include poverty of action or lack of action, lack of speech, social withdrawal and flattening of effect. Therefore, people suffering from Schizophrenia are not emotionally active. Schizophrenia is evidenced by signs of hallucination, delusions, confused thoughts, behavioral changes, psychosis.
Hallucination is a symptom of Schizophrenia that causes a patient to see, hear, smell and feels things that are not there in reality. Hallucination makes a patient hear voices in their head. Hallucinating is a big threat to the wellbeing of a person. Hallucinations can cause one to hurt themselves or others. Hallucinations make a patient to hear sounds, which are not real. Hallucination affects the sensing or the auditory parts of the patient. Hallucinations occur when a patient thinks that his/her own thoughts are external voices. Therefore, a person talks aimlessly because he is talking to his/her own thoughts. A patient may experience voices in their minds that are of their family members, relatives or friends.
Delusion is another symptom that causes a patient to believe that something has happened or is happening. It is a firm held trust that what a patient feel and perceive is true. Most of the firm held believes of the delusional patients is not real. There are four types of delusion, delusions of persecution, the delusion of reference, the delusion of grandeur and delusion of control. Delusions of persecution make a patient believe that a person is out to harm them. The patient gets feelings and thoughts that they will be persecuted. The delusion of reference is characterized by a patient believing that a neutral event has a personal and individualized message for them. An example is a TV. A delusional person may think that there is their personal message on the TV and therefore they will wait until the TV delivers their message. The delusion of grandeur makes a patient perceive him or herself as famous and important. The patient may perceive himself or herself as having wings to fly. These beliefs and thoughts are not real and only happen due to the effects of Schizophrenia. The delusion of control is a situation whereby a patient feels that some people want to harm him/her. They are recurrent thoughts that Schizophrenia patients experience. Such feelings and thought cause one to withdrawal from social life.
Disorganized speech is another symptom of Schizophrenia. This disorder causes a patient to lose track of thoughts hence have troubled speech. The disorder prevents a patient from concentrating on what is being said. People suffering from this disorder may lose track of information during a conversation hence affecting their speech. Lack of concentration destroys a patient’s social life because he/she cannot manage a conversation. Signs of disorganized speech include loss of association. A patient cannot comprehend the meaning of a conversation and keeps deviating from the topic of discussion. Loose associations mean lack of connection between one thought and the other. Neologism is another form of speech disorganization. It is an act whereby a patient creates words that are only understandable to him. Perseveration is another form of disorganization. It is characterized by the repetition of words. A patient suffering from Schizophrenia keeps saying the same thing repeatedly. Clang is the use of meaningless rhyming words.
Disorganized behavior is a form of Schizophrenia symptoms. Disorganized behaviors affect the way a person interacts with others, the ability to take care of one and the ability of a person to work. Disorganized behaviors are characterized by a decline in the levels of daily activity, changes in emotional reactions, availability of weird behaviors and lack of control. The negative symptoms of Schizophrenia are characterized by the absence of basic elements/behaviors in the life of a person. It includes lack of emotional or reduced emotional capacity, reduced enthusiasm, lack of interest in nature and the world, poverty of speech and incoherence when speaking.
Schizophrenia is a chronic disorder that is very common among teenagers. It is not easy to identify symptoms of Schizophrenia because they can be perceived as outcomes of the biological changes taking place in the body of a teenager. Schizophrenia can also be experienced by children though it is a rare occurrence. There are different types of Schizophrenia, and all of them are curable. Since Schizophrenia is curable, patients suspected to show the above signs should consult medical attention. The symptoms of Schizophrenia are easy to identify because they affect the ability of a person to perform daily functions. Schizophrenia patients suffer from a poverty of speech and exhibit peculiar behaviors that are out of the ordinary. There are many types and forms of mental disorder, and therefore one should not make assumptions in case one of the above signs and symptoms are experienced. People should ensure to get medical attention in order to be diagnosed and treated.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2015). The highlight of Changes from DSM-IV to DSM –V. Schizophrenia Spectrum and other Psychotic Disorders: DSM 5
- The driver, I. Gogtay, N. & Rapoport, L. (2013). Childhood-Onset Schizophrenia and Early Onset Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America.
- Smeland, O. Kauppi, K. Davies, G. Frei, O. Bettella, F. & Thompson, W. (2016). Shared Genetic Variants between Schizophrenia and General Cognitive Function Indicate Common Molecular Genetic Mechanisms.
- Tandon, R. Gaebel, W. Barch, M. Bustillo, J. Gur, E. Heckers. S. & Carpenter, W. (2013). Definition and Description of Schizophrenia in the DSM-5. Research 1501, 3-10
- Tandon, R. Gaebel, W. Barch, M. Bustillo, J. Gur, E. Heckers. S. & Carpenter, W. (2014). Catatonia in DSM-5.