The word ‘Schizophrenia’ was coined from a Greek word meaning ‘split mind’ to describe a mental syndrome where an individual is dominated by one set of ideas or a complex to the exclusion of others. Thus, the harmonious working of a mind is split, with one portion seizing control of the rest.
Schizophrenia is one of the common mental disorders experienced by some people worldwide. Schizophrenia is pronounced as “skee-Zoe-free-ni-ya.” Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder characterized by a persistent disturbance in the perception and evaluation of reality, leading to characteristic changes in attitude, thinking, effective responses and behavior.
The schizophrenic patient is a victim of illusion (perception falsified e.g. mistaking a rope for a snake) Hallucination (perception without stimulants e.g. hearing God talking) and delusions (false beliefs, not based on cultural mores, that cannot be corrected by logic and reasoning) and believes that only his actions and behavior are rational without realizing that he is ill (lack of insight). The subject’s psychological state is significantly disrupted and thus often interferes with his ability to perform essential tasks.
There are specific issues, which are apparent in a person who experiences schizophrenia. Such problems include paranoid delusions, bizarre self-proposed theories, auditory hallucinations, disorganized thought process stammering, and incoherent speech. In many cases, schizophrenic patients often blabber or scream for no known reasons. Irrational anger, melancholic depression, lack of trust in relatives and friends, suspicion and uneasy feelings are common symptoms. Occupational and social functioning is impaired. Mentally stressed history, trauma, and hereditary factors could lead to this type of mental disorder. One of the common symptoms a person may experience is hallucinations, which are commonly known as “voices in the head.” In such situations, the patient visualizes or imagines various things, which do not exist but are linked with his/her psychological behavior desires and mental condition.
The voices are often reported to be of bizarre nature wherein the patient experiences almost real sounds of laughter, sobbing, blabbers, or even commanding the victim to perform specific tasks, it feels as if the voices are being directed from his head.
Disorganized thoughts and speech follow this condition. The thought process steadily loses its track from rational thinking to abnormal thinking; in other words, it takes a person from reality to the delusive stage, where he/she experiences specific visions.
Often the person diagnosed with schizophrenia finds it difficult to synchronize thought and speech, which is known as “word salad.”
Other common symptoms in schizophrenia are:
Difficulty in judgment
Lack of responsibility
Negligence in dressing
Carelessness in hygiene
Muteness (in most cases)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Most of the people get affected by this disorder during adulthood and late adolescence. The disease is common in young people between the ages of 18 and 28 and exhibits a hereditary tendency. This type of mental disorder depends upon the environmental conditions of an individual and effects are apparent through emotional and behavioral changes.
Causes of Schizophrenia:
Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder. Psychiatrists are not sure of its etiology. However, genetic factors appear to play a significant role in its occurrence. Various environmental events are also reported to trigger schizophrenia in people who are genetically at risk for it. An individual is more prone to develop schizophrenia if they have a family history with such mental disorders.
Substantial abuse can be a possible factor that may cause schizophrenia. Other causes may include malnutrition, trauma, sexual abuse, etc.
No medical tests are advised to diagnose schizophrenia. A psychiatrist generally examines the patient for confirmation. The diagnosis is confirmed based on a complete interview of the subject and family members. The following considerations support the confirmation:
The period for which the symptoms have lasted
The changes that occurred in the subject’s functioning
Genetic and family record
Efficacy of the medication
Brain scans (such as CT or MRI) and blood tests often assist in ruling out other mental disorders that have similar symptoms to schizophrenia.
Clouds are hovering around the dark, dank night. A long battle goes on far across the woods. The night is slashed by the cries of a child and of the warriors who die and bleed. The child, aimlessly, walks and moans and his tears are mixed with the raindrops. He is scared, he is helpless, and just then, at some distance, the child spots two moving shadows and the child, with a ray of anticipation, stops crying and slowly, yet lethargically moves towards the shadows…
As the child gazes gradually, with much anticipation, his hope is shattered when he finds the shadows of black bucks. The child, then helplessly, collapses in shock as he is unable to find anyone who could help him and give shelter. He breathes, unconsciously, as the raindrops fall on him, and weary of what will become of his inevitable fate….
As he focuses his gaze on what appears to be a refuge, he realizes they are but two black bags blowing in the wind. Helplessly the child collapses to the ground, wary of what will become of his inevitable fate. As he lays his body to rest, he feels something tap the back of his head