Schizophrenia is a brain disease that causes problems with normal brain functioning. People with this condition show odd and often highly irrational or disorganized behavior. The brain is where thinking, feeling and understanding of the world takes place). A brain disease, like schizophrenia, changes that thinking, feeling, and understanding. Symptoms include difficulty:
interacting with others
Even simple tasks like personal hygiene (bathing, eating, dressing, etc.) can become too difficult and are stopped. The disease can impact every aspect of the person's work, family, and social life. Family members frequently become distressed and overwhelmed by the challenges of providing care. They also often have trouble coming to terms with t...More
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What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a brain disease that causes problems with normal brain functioning.
People with this condition show odd and often highly irrational or disorganized behavior.
A brain disease, like schizophrenia, changes that thinking, feeling, and understanding.
Symptoms include difficulty thinking clearly, interacting with others, completing tasks and expressing emotions.
A key feature of schizophrenia is psychosis. This happens when a person loses the ability to tell the difference between real and 'imagined' experiences.
They lose touch with reality.
People with schizophrenia commonly experience: 1) hallucinations - sensations that only they experience. This can include voices speaking to them that only they can hear. 2) Delusions - fixed, mistaken ideas that the person holds. These are often odd or incorrect ideas about themselves and the world around them.
Schizophrenia is identified by two groups of symptoms. These are called "positive" and "negative."
Positive symptoms are ones which are more than normal behavior. This group is further split into two groups. The "psychotic" group includes hallucinations and delusions. The "disorganized" one includes disorganized speech and behavior.
Negative symptoms involve missing behaviors compared to normal functioning. Examples include limited emotional expression, limited thought and speech, and lack of motivation.
Symptoms are not permanent things. Instead, they tend to change over time.
When enough symptoms are present and last for one month (or a shorter period if medication has been given) with some symptoms lasting for up to six months, a diagnosis of schizophrenia can be made.
Data from scientific research proves that schizophrenia is clearly a biological disease of the brain, just like Alzheimer's Disease and Bipolar Disorder.
Schizophrenia is now known to be partially caused by genetics and to be inherited.
People with schizophrenia have up to 25% less volume of gray matter in their brains, especially in the temporal and frontal lobes. These areas are known to be important for coordination of thinking and judgment.
Brains with schizophrenia are, on average, different in terms of total tissue volume and activity.
Brains with schizophrenia also show neurochemical differences when compared with normal brains.
Electroencephalogram (EEG) data are tests of brain electrical activity. About one-third of people with schizophrenia show abnormal electrical brain impulses. This also suggests irregularities in the way the brains of those with schizophrenia are wired.
The DSM defines schizophrenia as an individual condition characterized by a set of positive and/or negative symptoms lasting for at least six months and including at least one month of active-phase symptoms.
The DSM-5 also holds the idea that schizophrenia exists as a part of a continuum or spectrum of related conditions that share symptoms in common, and which may share causes as well.
When viewed as a continuum of disorders, schizophrenia can be seen to range between "normal" at one end (with no schizophrenia present at all), and severe schizophrenia at the other. Most individual cases fall somewhere in the middle of the scale.
There are also several personality disorders (Schizoid Personality Disorder and Schizotypal Personality Disorder) that appear to be best thought of as extremely mild schizophrenia spectrum problems. These conditions sit on the scale close to the 'normal' side of the spectrum.
Delusional disorder and schizophreniform disorder hold a middle position on the scale.
Finally, schizophrenia itself and a related condition, schizoaffective disorder, are on the extreme and severe end of the spectrum.
Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Share Genetic Roots
A trio of genome-wide studies – collectively the largest to date – has pinpointed a vast array of genetic variation that cumulatively may account for at least one third of the genetic risk for schizophrenia. One of the studies traced schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, in part, to the same chromosomal neighborhoods. More...