Schizophrenia symptoms are complex. Schizophrenia is a common but serious mental disorder related to psychosis or generally a lack of contact with reality, and with symptoms of unrealistic thinking, impaired functioning, and paranoia.
Schizophrenia is common and encountered throughout the world, having an estimated incidence in the order of one percent of the population. This is a higher incidence than many other serious diseases that the population considers more commonplace. There are pockets of higher incidence and there are also a number of mental disorders that have similar or shared symptoms.
While there is a biological basis for the disorder, with genetics and brain damages appearing to be strong factors, the onset or worsening of the disorder is thought to be stress and the individual’s ability to cope with the adverse environmental stressors of life.
There is not consensus by the experts in the field on whether schizophrenia is a pure disorder on its own or rather a collection of underlying diseases.
- abnormal, strange behaviour
- inability to cope with work, social situations, and normal life events
- behaviour at odds with society and normal interpersonal relationships
- misinterpreting (e.g., exaggerating or minimizing) life experiences
- inability or lack of interest in taking care of oneself
- lack of responsiveness or, at the extreme, full catatonia
- lack of interest, emotion, motivation
The schizophrenia can be diagnosed by a psychiatrist, based on an assessment of the individual’s symptoms and evidence of his/her inability in the past to function within the bounds of normal. Tests may be used to identify some underlying or contributing factors (e.g., brain damage or substance abuse) but a test does not exist for diagnosis of the disorder itself.
Psychological counselling and a drugs regimen over a number of years provide the required control or a cure for less than half the individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. For the balance, treatment provides varying levels of control of the disorder and symptoms but not necessarily without relapse episodes, a considerably higher risk of suicide than is found in the general population, or even a worsening of the disorder and permanent disability.