Schizophrenia is a serious disorder which affects how a person thinks, feels and acts. Someone with schizophrenia may have difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imaginary; may be unresponsive or withdrawn; and may have difficulty expressing normal emotions in social situations. Schizophrenia is a devastating disorder for most people who are afflicted, and very costly for families and society.
“The overall U.S. 2002 cost of schizophrenia was estimated to be $62.7 billion, with $22.7 billion excess direct health care cost ($7.0 billion outpatient, $5.0 billion drugs, $2.8 billion inpatient, $8.0 billion long-term care). (source: Analysis Group, Inc.).
“Schizophrenia is a disease that typically begins in early adulthood. It starts between the ages of 15 and 25. Men tend to get develop schizophrenia earlier than women and most males become ill between 16 and 25 years old. Most females develop symptoms several years later, and the incidence in women is higher in women after age 30. The average age is 18 in men and 25 in women.
- Hearing or seeing something that isn’t there;
- a costant feeling of being watched;
- peculiar or nonsensical way of speaking or writing;
- strange body positioning;
- feeling indifferent to very important situations;
- deterioration of academic or work performance;
- a change in personal hygiene and appearance;
- a change in personality;
- increasing retirement from social situations;
- irrational, angry or fearful response to loved ones;
- inability to sleep or concentrate;
- inappropriate or bizarre behavior;
- disorder thinking and speech.
Schizophrenia is not caused by childhood experiences, poor parenting or lack of willpower, nor are the symptoms identical for each person. The cause of schizophrenia is still unclear. Some theories about the cause of this disease include: genetics (heredity), biology (abnormalities in the brain’s chemistry or structure); and/or possible viral infections and immune disorders. Drugs can cause schizophrenia, especially cannabis an marijuana. ”Today the leading theory of why people get schizophrenia is that it is a result of a genetic predisposition combined with an environmental exposures and / or stresses during pregnancy or childhood that contribute to, or trigger, the disorder. Already researchers have identified several of the key genes – that when damaged – seem to create a predisposition, or increased risk, for schizophrenia. The genes, in combination with suspected environmental factors – are believed to be the factors that result in schizophrenia. These genes that seem to cause increased risk of schizophrenia include the DISC1, Dysbindin, Neuregulin and G72 genes, but it has been estimated that up a dozen or more genes could be involved in schizophrenia risk.” (source. http://www.schizophrenia.com )
While no cure for schizophrenia exists, many people with this illness can lead productive and fulfilling lives with the proper treatment. They can be treated with antipsychotic medication.
There are two major types of antipsychotic medication:
- Typical (“conventional”) antipsychotics effectively control the “positive”symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and confusion of schizophrenia. We have:
- Chlorpromazine (Thorazine);
- Haloperidol (Haldol);
- Mesoridazine (Serentil);
- Perphenazine (Trilafon);
- Fluphenazine (Proxlixin).
- Atypical (“New Generation”) antipsychotics treat both the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia, often with fewer side effects. We have:
- Aripiprazole (Abilify, Aristada);
- Asenapine (Saphris);
- Brexpiprazole (Rexulti);
- Cariprazine (Vraylar);
- Clozapine (Clozaril, FazaClo, Versacloz);
- Iloperidone (Fanapt);
- Lurasidone (Latuda).
If you or someone you know are in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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