Schizophrenia is a serious chronic mental disorder that typically manifests itself gradually in young adults aged 16 to 30. Commonly confused with dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personality disorder, in reality schizophrenia’s effects are incredibly varied and can be grouped into three categories: Positive, negative and cognitive.
Positive symptoms refer to psychotic behaviors not displayed by individuals in good mental health.
- Distorted speech
- Disordered thinking
- Agitated body movements
Negative symptoms describe a lack of normal emotional and social behaviors in the schizophrenia patient.
- Lack of emotions and emotional responses
- Reduced ability to feel pleasure
- Lack of motivation
- Decreased speech
Schizophrenia also affects cognitive function to varying degrees.
- Inability to process or use information
- Memory problems
- Attention deficit
Often paired with other mental health issues like anxiety and depression, the symptoms of schizophrenia can be mild to severe, and sufferers may demonstrate a complete disconnect from reality. Risk factors for developing the schizophrenia include genetics and some environmental factors like exposure to viruses, but there is no single, identifiable cause, and it is impossible to accurately predict whether or not a healthy person will develop the disorder in the future.
While schizophrenia is a fairly uncommon diagnosis, its effects can be incredibly devastating. There is no known cure, so current treatments focus on eliminating or lessening the disorder’s symptoms through dedicated special care, psychological therapy, and antipsychotic medication. Ongoing research into new and better treatments is needed.
If you are interested in participating in a schizophrenia trial, please apply here.