Condition -
Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia

Psychotic disorders are characterised in general by fundamental and characteristic distortions of thinking and perception. A requirement for a symptom to be recognised as psychotic is that a person must lack insight into its unreality.

In men, schizophrenia symptoms typically start in the early to mid-20s. In women, symptoms typically begin in the late 20s. It's uncommon for children to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and rare for those older than age 45.  

Schizophrenia involves a range of problems with thinking (cognition), behaviour and emotions. Signs and symptoms may vary, but usually involve delusions, hallucinations or disorganised speech, and reflect an impaired ability to function.

Symptoms Include...

A psychotic patient is out of touch with reality. This state of mind can manifest in one or more of five basic types of symptoms:

  • Delusions: they are false belief that cannot be explained by the patient’s education or culture; the patient cannot be persuaded that the belief is wrong (despite evidence of the contrary). Delusions can be of many types, like erotomanic, jealousy, guilt, grandeur, persecution, reference, somatic, thought control
  • Hallucinations: they are perception-like experiences that occur in the absence of an external stimulus. They are vivid and clear, with the full force and impact of normal perceptions, and not under voluntary control.  Hallucinations are almost always abnormal and can affect any of the five senses. To count as psychotic symptoms, hallucinations must occur when a person is fully alert. They must be differentiated from illusions, which are misinterpretation of actual sensory stimuli
  • Disorganised thinking: it is typically inferred from the individual’s speech. Effective communication can be impaired, and answers to questions may be partially or completely unrelated. Rarely, speech may include putting together meaningless words that can't be understood (known as word salad).
  • Grossly disorganised or Abnormal motor behaviour (including Catatonia): this might show in different ways, from childlike silliness to unpredictable agitation. Behaviour is not focused on a goal, leading to difficulties in performing activities of daily living. Behaviour can include resistance to instructions, inappropriate or bizarre posture, a complete lack of response, or useless and excessive movement.

Negative symptoms: these symptoms are called negative because they give the impression that something has been taken away from the patient. They include reduced range of emotion (flat or blunted affect), reduced fluency of speech, and loss of interest to do things.

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