The Prevalance Rate for schizophrenia is approximately 1.1% of the population over the age of 18 it ranks among the top 10 causes of disability in developed countries worldwide. Around 10 millon people in india suffer from schizophrenia.
Illnesses like schizophrenia are charecterized by hallucinations,which are sensory experiences of something that does not exist outside the mind, most commonly of the auditory variety (hearing voices others cannot hear) and delusions (beliefs or impressions maintained despite being contradicted by reality) and disorganized speech and or behaviour.
This is usually manifested by suspiciousness, irritability, decreased productivity and a possible disruption in self care.
Negative symptoms such as apathy, decreased speech, decreased goal directed activity and decreased social interection may also predominate.
An imbalance in dopamine levels ( one of the substances that mediates transmission of impulses between nerves) in certain areas of the brain is said to be responsible for these symptoms. The causes behind this dopamine imbalance are multifactorial and can be biological,enviromental and/or psychological.
Defects in synaptic pruning ( a process by which unwanted connections between neurons are broken) during adolesence and reductions in brain volumes have been seen in people with schizophrenia. Use of mind altering substances, especially marijauna put people at higher risk for schizophrenia.
Effective therapeutic stratergies, including medications that target the dopamine excess and severeral interventions aimed at improving quality of life,cognition and social interaction are gaining popularity.
The quality of life of people suffering from schizophrenia has improved over the last few decades. One of the factors that predicts a good prognosis is the early initiation of treatment.
A psychiatrist will diagnose schizophrenia based on WHO criteria and prescribe interventions including medication and appropriate cogntitive/behavioural interventions. Read about the treatment of schizphrenia here.
Psychiatry is a medical speciality, like surgery, general medicine and paediatrics. It involves the study, diagnosis and management of mental illnesses and distressing conditons, pertaining to both the mind and body. Misconceptions about psychiatric illness and treatment have some how prevented help seeking behaviour in those who need it the most. This Wall has to go, wherin visiting a psychiatrist should no longer be taboo, and people should be able to openly and freely discuss mental health issues. More here.
Dr Vikas Prabhav is a psychiatrist in anna nagar, chennai. He runs The Vivid Mind mental wellness clinic in Anna Nagar. We aim at providing holistic, multimodal care for those suffering from mental illnesses and adjustment issues. We offer effective management strategies for depression, anxiety, unexplained physical symptoms, addictions, child/adolescent problems and other behavioural issues.The information provided in this website does not substitute for a medical consult.