What Is Schizophrenia And Can It Be Cured – All About The Complex Mental Health Disorder

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What Is Schizophrenia And Can It Be Cured – All About The Complex Mental Health Disorder

Characterised by significant impairments in perception and changes in behaviour, schizophrenia affects approximately 24 million people or 1 in 300 people worldwide, according to a June 2022 report from the World Health Organization. Schizophrenia is a complex and often misunderstood mental health disorder, shares Dr Himanshu Champaneri, Senior Consultant – Neurosurgery, Marengo Asia Hospitals, Gurugram. The doctor goes on to explain the disorder, the symptoms, red flags to look out for and dos and don’ts.

What Is Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a long-term brain disorder which is marked by abnormalities in thinking, feeling, seeing, and behaving, says Dr Himanshu Champaneri. “Schizophrenia patients may exhibit hallucinations, delusions, disordered thought patterns, compromised cognitive function, and social disengagement. It usually manifests in late adolescence or early adulthood and can significantly affect a person’s capacity to go about their everyday lives,” says Dr Champaneri.

What Leads To Schizophrenia

Dr Champaneri explains that although a person may be predisposed to schizophrenia by genetics, the condition is not usually present from birth. Rather, it usually appears in adolescence or the early stages of adulthood, frequently brought on by a confluence of neurological, environmental, and hereditary variables, he adds. Later-life development of schizophrenia may be caused by several circumstances, such as: 

Genetic predisposition: The risk is increased by a family history of schizophrenia or other mental illnesses. 

Environmental factors: Toxin exposure, substance misuse, stressful life events, and trauma can all contribute to the beginning of schizophrenia. 

Neurobiological factors: Disruptions in brain development, imbalances in neurotransmitters, and structural defects in the brain may be involved.

Dealing With Person Who Has Schizophrenia: Tips For Family And Friends

Early diagnosis of schizophrenia is essential for timely intervention and care, says Dr Champaneri. He lists the following pieces of advice for friends and family of a schizophrenic person:

– Be alert for any mood changes, thought processes, or behaviour, such as disordered speech, social disengagement, paranoia, or strange beliefs.

– Promote open discussion and show care without passing judgment.

– If your loved ones experience severe or persistent symptoms that point to schizophrenia, get expert assistance.

Can Depression Lead To Schizophrenia?

Although they are two different mental health conditions, some people can have both depression and schizophrenia, says Dr Champaneri. He adds, “Although depression may not cause schizophrenia directly, it can make pre-existing symptoms worse or make susceptible people more likely to develop schizophrenia.”

Is Schizophrenia Preventable? Steps To Take

Even though schizophrenia is not always preventable, there are some things you can do to lessen your risk or lessen its effects. Dr Champaneri suggests: 

– Early intervention: Treating and diagnosing symptoms as soon as possible might enhance results and avoid complications. 

– Nurturing and supporting setting: People with schizophrenia can better manage their symptoms and have better lives when they live in a caring and supportive environment. 

– Healthy lifestyle: Promoting regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, enough sleep, and stress-reduction strategies may enhance mental health and well-being in general.

Can Schizophrenia Be Cured?

Dr Champaneri says, “Although schizophrenia is a chronic illness that needs to be managed over time, it can be successfully treated with a mix of drugs, counselling, and support systems. Schizophrenia does not presently have a cure, but treatment can help people manage their symptoms, lessen their risk of relapse, and enjoy happy, fulfilled lives.”

Also Read: Obesity: It’s Not About Looks! Excessive Weight Can Affect Mental Health – Expert Explains

Dealing With Schizophrenia: Dos and Don’ts 

Dr Champaneri suggests the following dos and don’ts for family members and friends who are closely associated with a schizophrenic person: 

Dos:

– Promote adherence to prescription and treatment plans.

– Offer sympathy and emotional support without passing judgment.

– Get informed about managing schizophrenia.

– Promote interacting with others and joining networks of support.

Don’ts:

– Discriminate or stigmatise those who have schizophrenia.

– Ignore or refuse their symptoms or experiences.

– Make an effort to control symptoms without seeking medical advice.

– Disregard your personal health to assist someone who suffers from schizophrenia.

“Schizophrenia is a complicated mental illness that calls for in-depth knowledge, prompt treatment, and continuous assistance. We can enhance the lives of those impacted by schizophrenia by increasing good outcomes and decreasing stigma via compassionate care and awareness-raising,” says Dr Champaneri.

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