Schizophrenia – 10 things you absolutely must know

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Schizophrenia is one of the better known “diagnoses” out there. Popular references include John Nash in “A beautiful mind”, a brilliant mathematical genius, who finds himself in trouble when he encounters this cruel disorder. Despite its celebrity status, schizophrenia is still very much an enigma, with the word schizophrenia eliciting a million different meanings. Here are 10 things that could help one identify and understand schizophrenia.

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Popular media has somehow equated schizophrenia with a split personality (better know medically as dissociative identity disorder). These two entities aren’t the same. Schizophrenia is a disorder characterized by a loss of touch with reality in the form delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and/or behavior.

2)Schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses are pretty common

According to the numbers published by the World Health Organization, the prevalence of schizophrenia is twice that of tuberculosis and only 5 million lesser than HIV infection and around 3 million more than rheumatoid arthritis. People don’t talk about it because of the stigma associated with mental illness. In any given society 1-2 percent of the population would be suffering from schizophrenia.

3) The symptoms of schizophrenia are . . .

People with schizophrenia may have hallucinations (hearing and seeing things that aren’t there), delusions (false beliefs that held with conviction) & difficulty with social communication, memory and other cognitive abilities. Negative symptoms such as poor self-care, poor interaction and apathy may also predominate.

4) These symptoms are not “imagined”

Modern medical science has repeatedly demonstrated abnormalities in brain circuitry in those with schizophrenia. The symptoms of schizophrenia are not under conscious control and the nature of the disorder makes it very difficult for sufferers to reason with their own thoughts. These people do not have weak minds, but rather a problem in the neural circuitry of the brain.

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