Schizophrenia -Causes Effects
-By Anirudh Vijayan
Schizophrenia is a profoundly serious mental disorder that is affecting 2.9 million people around the world. It literally means - ‘Split Mind’ (Shitzo – split, Phernia- Mind). So, what is Schizophrenia? Imagine 25 televisions in front of you, each playing different audios and videos; now, try to concentrate on one TV. Can you? No? Now, imagine this happening 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. This is Schizophrenia. Today, it is a major problem across the world. In the U.S alone, 1.5 million Adults are said to be facing Schizophrenia every year. Schizophrenia is a syndrome, i.e, it can have many symptoms associated with it, which makes it difficult to diagnose. A few of the symptoms are delusions of control, reference, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and cationic behaviour. For example, let’s take the symptom of disorganized speech. This can also happen because of dental problems and not necessarily Schizophrenia. This irregularity in different symptoms for different individuals makes it hard to track the disorder.
So, how do we diagnose this disorder? To diagnose Schizophrenia an individual should at least have 2 symptoms- one of these should be either Delusions, Hallucinations, or Disorganized speech, and the other can be any one of the symptoms shown in the figure below. These signs should be shown for a minimum of 6 months and active symptoms for at least 1 month. These symptoms cannot be associated with another condition, for example, the use of substances like Drugs.
So, what causes Schizophrenia? We do not know that yet, as each symptom is unique to each individual. One clue might be the fact that antipsychotic medication improves Schizophrenia symptoms. This suggests that Schizophrenia must have something to do with increased levels of dopamine. These medicines (antipsychotic medicines) are not universally or completely effective and do not work for everyone who has Schizophrenia. This, in turn, adds to the story that Schizophrenia must have something to do with more than just the D2R (Dopamine receptors) and dopamine.
How do we treat Schizophrenia? Treatment is tricky and difficult for this disorder. This requires several disciplines of medication and treatment. This requires the use of antipsychotic medications, therapy, and psychopharmacology. This entire process is expensive and brings alongside effects like withdrawal, dependence, and tolerance.
So, the natural question is how can we prevent Schizophrenia? To do so, stay healthy- both physically and mentally. Do frequent workouts, take breaks, go on vacations, have a change of mind in between, and do not overwork. Preventing Schizophrenia is keeping yourself fresh and having the desire to learn and progress more in life.