Schizophrenia is NOT a split personality disorder, it a “mental disorder which alters the way a person perceives this world or its aspects” (Anthony Wilkenson, Schizophrenia 2015). It is difficult for a schizophrenic person to distinguish between the real and unreal and have a clear understanding of everyday life. It includes; false beliefs, hallucinations, auditory misconceptions, disturbed thoughts, sense of loss, a fear of being watched, feeling under scrutiny, paranoia , delusions and self-conflict.
Schizophrenia is more common in the younger generations and is very common to be developed within children. Surprising schizophrenia affects 1/100 people and is in fact more common. Psychiatrist Kurt Schneider’s first rank symptoms have been developed into 5 major categories of symptoms, these include:
- Delusions (within 90% of cases) – e.g. external control, voices and being watched
- Hallucinations- voice, vision and in-reliable senses
- Disorganised and non-sensible speech, Fragmented thoughts
- Irrational Behaviour- can’t take care of themselves, no goals, impulses
- Negative Symptoms- lack of emotion, desire, response to treatment, motivation and unaware of environment.
Schizophrenia is tested physically with the ICD-10 test in the UK with the DSM-5 criteria of: Paranoid, Disorganised, Undifferentiated, Residual and Catatonic.
There is no clear cause for schizophrenia, there is a common theme of patients having brain abnormalities including a deficit in the volume of brain tissues which causes enlarges brain ventricles. But it is unclear whether this is linked to schizophrenia or if it is just a coincidental pattern amongst patients. Experts believe that schizophrenia is caused by genetic and environmental factors. there is a 40% chance that one of a pairing of identical twins will be diagnosed with schizophrenia, being related to a patient has a 6.5% chance and a parent, 13% chance. For environmental factors, a mother being under high stress during pregnancy can causes a bigger risk of psychotic disorders. Also having Less supportive parents, childhood trauma, social isolation, discrimination and unemployment, this can all cause the development of schizophrenia.
Violence is not a common trait of schizophrenic patients, they may become frustrated, but that is normally at themselves. Quite a few victims turn to substance abuse such as alcohol and drugs as their lack of control already weakens their will-power. However, this can worsen the symptoms and affects of the illness and is a route of violence which then can become a dependency.
It can be helped with psychotic medicines and CBT therapy, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists created the statistics that:
1/5 patients become better within 5 years if diagnosis
3/5 improve dramatically with minor symptoms remaining
1/5 continue with the chronic and acute problems
Interestingly, there is a few notable famous people with the disease. One that I find fascinating is Dr John Forbes Nash Jr, he is a noble prize winner and very smart; but he suffered with delusions and hallucinations and the false perception the government were watching his every move and after him. Peter Green, an original Fleetwood Mac member suffered with violent schizophrenia and was often admitted to hospitals. The Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson suffered with delusions and hearing sounds, however this was not helped by his substance abuse which started in order to gain control. Lastly, another notable Schizophrenic patient which is commonly known is Van Gough whereby under a psychotic episode, he cut off his own ear with a razor but does not recollect the events happening.