Schizophrenia is a disorder that makes it difficult for people to distinguish between what is real and unreal. It makes people be unable to think clearly, manage emotions, relate with other people, and function normally. Despite the serious conditions of the disorder, it is possible for an individual to manage the disease. The first step is identifying the signs and symptoms of the disease. In most instances, schizophrenia starts during the late teens. However, it may also appear during the young adulthood years or later life. There are isolated case where the disorder affects young children and adolescents. The signs and symptoms of the disorder include social withdrawal and inability to manage emotions. It is not clear what the causes of schizophrenia are. However, genetic and environmental causes and abnormal brain structures are thought to be the some of the causes of the disorder. Full psychiatric evaluation and laboratory tests are some of the major methods of diagnosing schizophrenia. However, despite the serious conditions of the disorder, there is still hope for people with schizophrenia. Determining the symptoms and causes of schizophrenia is one of the major steps towards treating the disease.
Schizophrenia may appear suddenly without early signs in some cases. However, in most cases, the disorder manifests itself in subtle warning signs that may be detectable. Failure to treat seek help leads to the gradual decline in the functioning of an individual. Schizophrenia has positive and negative signs and symptoms. Positive symptoms of the disorder include “hallucinations, suspiciousness and paranoia, ideas of refers and bizarre behaviors” (Compton & Kotwicki, 2006, p. 69). On the other hand, the negative signs and symptoms include “loss of interest, low drive, energy, or motivation, poor attention to hygiene or grooming, and social isolation” (Compton & Kotwicki, 2006, p. 69). The above warning signs may not necessary mean that an individual has schizophrenia. They may also be the signs for other mental disorders. Therefore, if an individual notices normal person starts exhibits the above signs it is vital to seek medical help, which would result in the treatment of the disorder if it were schizophrenia. Some of the disorders that may also exhibit the above signs include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizoaffective disorder, and schizophreniform disorder (Weiner & Craighead, 2010).
Medical practitioners have been unable to ascertain the specific causes of schizophrenia. However, the signs and symptoms of the disease show that the disorder may be caused by to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Research shows that schizophrenia is hereditary. Individuals whose parents or siblings have schizophrenia have a higher likelihood of suffering from the disorder. However, it is vital to note that genetic factors only influence the occurrence of the disorder. They do not determine the manifestation of the schizophrenia. In fact, more than half of people who have schizophrenia come from families whose members do not have the disorder. Environmental factors usually act on the vulnerability of an individual due to genetic factors to trigger schizophrenia. Insufficient oxygen during birth and exposure to a viral infection during infancy are some of the factors that may make an individual suffer from schizophrenia later in life. In addition, loss or separation of a parent early in life may lead to schizophrenia. Physical or sexual abuse during childhood may also make an individual be predisposed to suffer from schizophrenia later in life (Sadock & Sadock, 2008).
Full psychiatric evaluation, medical history, and laboratory tests help in the diagnosis of schizophrenia in an individual who exhibits signs that are similar to those of the disorder. The doctor or psychiatrist usually asks a series of questions to determine the mental history of the individual and that of the family. This helps in determining whether the individual is predisposed to the disorder. In addition, how the individual responds to the questions helps in determining the presence of schizophrenia or other mental disorders. A complete physical examination helps in determining the causes of the mental problems that an individual may be suffering from. No laboratory tests can determine whether an individual suffers from schizophrenia. However, certain tests may rule out other medical causes that make an individual exhibit signs that are similar to those of schizophrenia (Mueser & Jeste, 2011).
Despite the serious conditions of the disorder, there is still hope for people with schizophrenia. Determining the symptoms and causes of schizophrenia is one of the major steps towards treating the disease. This enables an individual to seek helps prior to the deterioration of the disease, which may have a huge impact on the future well-being of the individual. Treatment for schizophrenia involves medication and therapy. To facilitate recovery, an individual should have a strong support network. Research shows that people can recover from schizophrenia if they seek treatment after their first episode of schizophrenia. A sizeable proportion may recover from the disorder but exhibit symptoms of the disorder. This shows that schizophrenia should be treated like other chronic diseases such as diabetes. With proper management of the disease, people can live happy, healthy, and productive lives. However, future research should focus on the causes of the disorder. Determining the exact causes of the disorder would help in the formulation of better therapies. This would ensure that people recover fully from the disease. In addition, determining the causes of the disorder would help in determining people who are at risk of suffering from suffering from the ailment. This would help in the development of drugs or therapies that prevent them from suffering from the disorder.
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