What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a severe chronic mental disorder. It is characterized by abnormal behaviors such as disordered thinking, strange speech, unusual interpretations of reality, hallucinations, and it disrupts other functioning of the human mind. In simpler terms, schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects how a person feels, thinks, behaves, and how he/she relates to others.
Early Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenic people often have delusions where they firmly hold certain beliefs despite clear evidence that it is not valid. These delusions include bizarre, illogical ideas or fantasies. There are several types of delusions that schizophrenics can have, including delusions of grandeur and persecutory delusions. In delusions of grandeur, the affected person considers himself as a prominent figure, such as a politician or Jesus Christ, despite that he’s not. Some are even convinced that they have supernatural powers like magic, the ability to fly, etc. In persecutory delusions, the person thinks that he/she is being persecuted, stalked, or tricked by others. It often involves strange plots like Martians trying to poison them with radioactive particles or being abducted by aliens.
Alogia refers to the inability to speak correctly. In schizophrenic patients, alogia causes them to have difficulties in maintaining their train of thought, speak incoherently or say unjustifiable things. They also struggle to answer briefly to questions. For instance, patients might experience:
- Neologisms– Made up terms, words or phrases that have no meaning to anyone except you
- Clanging– Rhyming words meaninglessly ‘’that quote boat throat floats.’’
- Perseveration– Constant repetition of words, phrases or gestures
- Loose associations– giving unrelated answers to questions, swiftly shifting from one topic to another
In hallucinations, the patients undergo experiences and feelings that cannot be understood by others. However, to the patient, these experiences and sensations are real. The different types of hallucinations that people with schizophrenia might have are:
- Visual hallucination– seeing things, people, objects that are not present. This can also involve seeing deceased loved ones or dead people that have been harmful towards them.
- Tactile hallucination– feeling movements on your body that are not there. For example, arms holding you, insects crawling on you.
- Auditory hallucination– Hearing multiple voices or other sounds like whispers.
- Olfactory hallucination– Detecting both foul and pleasant smells in one or both nostrils that are not present in the environment.
Suspecting that you or anyone else has schizophrenia can be hard, but the hope is always there. Schizophrenia can be successfully controlled with the right changes and treatments.