Living with schizophrenia or supporting someone who has it can be a difficult experience. As a complex mental illness, it can be hard to understand. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects how a person may think, feel, and behave in relation to the world around them. But with as many as one out of every one hundred people experiencing schizophrenia, there is a huge network of support to help you both understand and treat schizophrenia.
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
People will schizophrenia will experience schizophrenic episodes. These episodes will greatly vary by person, so people will experience different symptoms of schizophrenia. In fact, some people may only have one schizophrenic episode in their entire lives. Although there are differences case-by-case, there are common characteristics of schizophrenic episodes.
At the beginning of an episode, people will start to feel different from themselves. They may have trouble concentrating, thinking, or communicating, which impacts their daily routines. This will then accumulate where people may experience breaks from reality. This is called psychosis. Common experiences include hallucinations, where people may hear voices and see things, and delusions, where people may suddenly develop strong and irrational beliefs.
What causes schizophrenia?
There is a combination of genetic and environmental factors that may cause schizophrenia. One of the larger factors that causes schizophrenia is a family history. The greatest single factor for developing the illness is to have a first-degree relative with schizophrenia, with a 6.5% risk. Therefore, if you have anyone in your family with schizophrenia, you are at a greater risk and should be aware of this.
Environmental factors are also a factor that can cause schizophrenia. The three most common environmental factors are the living environment, drug use, and prenatal stressors. The living environment includes factors such as living in an urban area. People who live in an urban environment have higher odds of developing the illness. Furthermore, poor living conditions and stress are also causes. Drug use has also been linked to schizophrenia in some studies. Although it is widely debated, some people claim that cannabis use can cause schizophrenia. Finally, prenatal stressors such as maternal stress and maternal hunger have also been linked to schizophrenia.
How can I treat schizophrenia to survive in today’s society?
While there is no confirmed cure for schizophrenia, many people living with schizophrenia have recovered from the illness. Medication is available to treat schizophrenia. For example, antipsychotics will help reduce the severity of hallucinations and delusions. They may even remove these symptoms altogether. There are many types of medication available to treat schizophrenia, so you should consult a doctor for a discussion. Counselling is also available for schizophrenia. Therapies are available where you will be able to learn strategies to dealing with your schizophrenia, using problem solving skills and setting goals. The key to managing schizophrenia is preventing a relapse. Whether it be through medication, therapy, or identifying the trigger, you will find the method. There are hundreds of resources out there for the entire schizophrenic community to take advantage of.